About BracketOdds 2017

Welcome to bracketodds.cs.illinois.edu, a website to evaluate seed distributions in the later rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, commonly referred to as March Madness. This tool uses principles from probability theory and operations research to model the likelihood that a set of seeds will reach a particular round of the tournament. The analytics behind this tool can be found in an article that appeared in the journal, OMEGA

Please use this website as it was intended, namely, a tool to evaluate and compare various seed combinations in later rounds of your bracket and to assess your bracket odds. Hopefully it will provide you with added enjoyment in not only assessing your own bracket, but also, to retrospectively measure the likelihood of the set of seeds that reach the Elite Eight, the Final Four, the National Finals, and the National Champion.

Numerous individuals have worked to make this website possible. Let us celebrate the accomplishments of the 900+ student athletes on the 68 teams participating in this year’s tournament, without which March Madness could not exist. The efforts of Ammar Rizwan and Emon Dai, undergraduate students in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who worked on this project in 2011, was critical in transforming a research idea on paper into the website. Andrew Yang added several substantial contributions to the web site in 2015. The final product is a reflection of the talented and creative students in the Department of Computer Science (College of Engineering) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Douglas M. King (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Adrian J. Lee (CITERI), Alexander G. Nikolaev (University of Buffalo) and Arash Khatibi (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) were most helpful in providing feedback during the nascent stages of the website’s development. All these individuals deserve credit and accolades for their hard work and impressive effort. Any oversights or shortcomings of the website are mine alone.  

Lastly, enjoy the madness brought to us during the 19 days and 67 games of the tournament. In a world filled with challenges and disappointments, the tournament provides a brief respite from the many problems each of us face, both individually and collectively. Keep a grounded perspective of what we are enjoying, and what we truly should be grateful for.  

Let the games begin!

Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Professor of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois
January 14, 2017

http://shj.cs.illinois.edu  Follow us on twitter: @shjanalytics

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