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Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger men fall at Pitt -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tigers drop to 0-2 with losses to Mines, Regis -2/15/2015, 1:10 AM

KU coach kicks off tour in Hays -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

K-State guard Johnson laughs off hecklers at W. Virginia -2/13/2015, 10:13 AM

The Tigers' do-it-all Shaw -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

Samac staying on court, providing big games for Tigers -2/13/2015, 11:09 AM

Wichita State baseball players see winning as antidote to distractions -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals, Herrera agree -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals purchase contract of Derek Gordon -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

KU's Ellis near 1,000 points -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Hoxies' record just a matter of time? -2/12/2015, 3:26 PM

New coach, new season for FHSU softball -2/12/2015, 11:25 AM

Tigers look for better pitching in 2015 -2/12/2015, 10:14 AM

Shox roll to win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Kansas State rally again falls short at W. Virginia -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

FHSU wrestling rolls to dual win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

2015 Eight-Man All-Star rosters -2/11/2015, 11:54 AM

Indiana State backcourt thrives with new characters -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Scott City rolls over TMP -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Jayhawks cruise past Texas Tech -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Kansas State braces for Mountaineers' full-court press -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Salina Central outlasts Hays High -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Tigers' Lehman earns seventh MIAA honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

FHSU's Samac earns MIAA men's honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

KBCA rankings, Feb. 9 -2/9/2015, 1:47 PM

Big day for Plainville grad Dani Winters -2/9/2015, 11:24 AM

Cowboys' Forte plays through flu -2/9/2015, 10:17 AM

At KU, Smith played on scout team -2/9/2015, 10:16 AM

North Carolina coaching icon Dean Smith dies at 83 -2/8/2015, 5:19 PM

Wichita State easily beats weakened Missouri State -2/8/2015, 4:52 PM

FHSU men hold off Hornets -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

TMP's Rhoades third in Phillipsburg -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
The Madness begins

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The Madness begins

Published on -3/19/2013, 9:58 AM

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By EDDIE PELLS

Associated Press

Professor Michael Magazine is upending the logical world of math with a good dose of March Madness.

Magazine teaches a new class called Bracketology at University of Cincinnati, the home of the 10th-seeded Bearcats, where 33 business students are spending the semester trying to make sense out of what can feel nonsensical at times -- the art of filling out an NCAA tournament bracket.

"The life lesson is that we make a lot of decisions that are the right decisions," Magazine said, "but the outcomes don't always come out the way we planned."

And that's why picking the NCAA tournament is so much fun.

Magazine said, yes, he's among the millions of Americans who take part in the country's largest office pool -- where all you need is a pen, a copy of the bracket and $10 or $20 to get in on the action.

Real basketball knowledge? That's optional. Some people pick their favorite mascot, others go based on color, still others just throw darts at a board.

"I always tell people to ignore where they went to school," Magazine said. "But it's hard to do."

He teaches the course with a Cincinnati alum, Paul Bessire, who owns predictionmachine.com, a program that runs thousands of simulations to forecast likely winners of games. Armed with that, along with some mathematical models, Magazine and Bessire hold three sessions -- handicapping, assembling brackets, filling out the brackets and seeing how everyone did.

"It's a pass-fail class," Magazine said.

Good thing because when it comes to March Madness, the numbers get a little crazy.

According to the website bookofodds.com, if you fill out your bracket by picking the better-seeded team in every game, the odds of that bracket being perfect are more than 35 billion-1. Or, to put it another way, you have an 18 times better chance of being killed by a waterspout this year.

There are more than 9.2 quintillion combinations (a 9, followed by 18 zeroes), and even if you eliminate all those that have a No. 16 seed winning even a single game -- which has never happened -- you're still talking about enough paper to build a trail from the Earth to the moon more than 1 million times.

Oh, and about eliminating those No. 16 seeds: Might think twice about that.

This has been the most unpredictable college basketball season anyone can remember, including one stretch where the No. 1 team in the Associated Press Top 25 changed for five straight weeks.

Even in seasons that have seemed more "predictable," the NCAA tournament has become increasingly unstable over recent years. Butler, enrollment 4,500, has made the Final Four twice in the last three years. In 2011, little-known and even less-heralded VCU transformed itself from a No. 11 seed that barely got into the tournament into a Final Four team. Last year, two No. 15 teams won on the first Friday of the tournament. After the second upset, ESPN reported none of its 6.45 million bracket entries were perfect anymore.

"We messed up some brackets! We messed up some brackets!" senior Kyle O'Quinn exclaimed last year after he led 15th-seeded Norfolk to an 86-84 upset over Missouri.

Tom DeRosa, a former algebra teacher who now runs a website that provides teachers with everyday lessons for their own classes, said there is no mathematically surefire way to figure out which 15 or 16 might break through this year. But you can't completely ignore them, either.

"You look at the numbers and, yeah, it's a pretty good bet a 1, 2 or 3 seed is going to win the whole tournament," said DeRosa, whose March Madness lesson is being taught across America this week. "If you're making a bracket and you don't have any '1's in the Final Four or anywhere near the Final Four, you're probably not going to win your pool. But things get a lot more nuanced the more you read. ''

Speaking of nuance:

-- Blue has been the school color of 24 of the 40 teams to make the Final Four during the last 10 years, and the hue worn by the last nine national champions.

-- Of those 40 Final Four team mascots, 12 have been people (Spartan, Mountaineer, etc.), seven have been canines and five have been birds (mostly the mythical Jayhawk). There have been Warriors at the Final Four and a Gator or two. But the most ferocious -- for those who like to pair the mascots off in cage matches -- has been, by far, the Blue Devil.

-- Las Vegas, which exists because of its ability to get math right, has No. 1 seed Louisville as a 9-2 favorite to win it all, followed by second-seeded Duke and Miami at 8-1. (Warning: Odds can be influenced by betting patterns, and Duke has one of the largest followings in the nation.)

Using a mix of all this information is Glen Calhoun, the head of props for the national tour of the Broadway smash "Jersey Boys." On Monday, he was busy unloading nine trucks full of wardrobe and scenery, as the show moved from Norfolk, Va., to Houston. Not his only task of the day.

"I've got to get our NCAA brackets set up," he said. "I'll be sure to squeeze that in."

More than 50 people are in the cast and crew, and Calhoun figured at least half of them would take part.

"What's good about the March Madness pool is that anyone can get in there and do well," he said. "You can study up, and then it all falls apart. I remember one year when Wake Forest got me. Or you can just pick your favorite teams, and that works sometimes."

Magazine insists, yes, there is mathematical advice to follow, including some he picked up by reading Nate Silver, the blogger who picked the electoral college count in last year's presidential election nearly to the number. (By the way, no word yet on whether President Barack Obama will be channeling Silver when he fills out his bracket.)

Silver suggests that Nos. 8 and 9 seeds can sometimes be worse Sweet 16 picks than those seeded 10, 11 or 12 because the winner of an 8-9 matchup is all but destined to play a No. 1 in the next round.

"I tell people, if you're going to pick upsets, do it in the 10, 11, 12, 13 range," Magazine said.

It's OK to use your gut, Magazine said. But, he insists, it's folly to completely ignore the numbers.

"Sometimes, you predict someone's better because in simulations, 80 percent of the time they win," he said. "Well, that means 20 percent of the time they lose. That's going to happen. That's been a useful lesson for students."

And, as any good math professor will remind you, being wrong doesn't always mean you were, well, wrong -- even if the scoreboard said you were.

"It just means it didn't work out that time," Magazine said.

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