March Madness: Go Joe Bruin Bracketology – Update 7


Welcome to the seventh iteration of this year’s Go Joe Bruin Bracketology. It’s crunch time, as we are right in the thick of March Madness. All projections are made by compiling data and using a formula to convert all of these numbers into a final score for each team.

For the past two months, I’ve been tweaking and perfecting my formula. Finally, it seemed like I had cracked the code. Everything was looking good; I hadn’t changed a thing for three weeks in a row.

And then, March Madness happened. For the second consecutive year, the St. Mary’s Gaels waited quietly until the first week of March, then suddenly wreaked havoc on my formula.

After losing to Gonzaga, the consensus view was that the Gaels were a bubble team. My formula decided they were a seven seed. That’s not happening.

The formula has now been remodeled. BPI has been thrown out the window. Win-loss record doesn’t matter as much. Non-conference strength of schedule is now important.

On the day before Selection Sunday, the formula has been fixed. One one-hundredth of a point separates the last team in and the first team out.

Below are the projected bracket, the breakdown, and the bubble watch (click a thumbnail to enlarge the image). All projections are as of the morning of Saturday, March 12:

Projected Bracket – Bubble information is listed on the right. Not pictured is UCLA, who is the 23rd team out. Black numbers denote First Four matchups. Credit: Jake Liker

Breakdown – The scores for all 105 teams evaluated by the formula. 0.00 is the cutoff for at-large bids. UCLA is 79th. Credit: Jake Liker

Bubble Watch – A closer look at 16 bubble teams (and UCLA). Green squares are a team’s strengths, red squares are a team’s weaknesses. Teams with a score of at least 0.00 are projected to make the tournament. Credit: Jake Liker

Tomorrow is judgment day for me. About 10-15 minutes before the Selection Show begins, when every game is completely, I will post my final projections. These projections will also be submitted to the Bracket Matrix.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

The man in charge of the Matrix will then calculate a score for every bracketologist based on accuracy of projections. My goal this year was to beat ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Fingers crossed.

My ultimate goal, however, is to find a formula that can perfectly project the what the bracket will look like for any given year. Given that this will be my third year as a bracketologist, I will only have more data to collect and analyze. Regardless of what happens, we will inch closer to cracking the code.

For the rest of today, I’ll be tweeting updates, which you can see by following @JakeLiker or @GoJoeBruinUCLA.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with this column this year. It’s not as fun when the Bruins aren’t involved, but I’ve been blown away by the sustained interest. You guys make the hours and hours of lost sleep and tedious data inputting all worth it.

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Now sit back and enjoy the Madness.