WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BUILD A BRACKET WITH A RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR

Embracing The Randomness of March Madness

Randomness - it's why we love March Maddness. Pretty much anyone, regardless of their knowledge of college basketball, can create a bracket and have just as much of a shot at winning their pool as the guy who can tell you the starting five for Fairleigh Dickinson (not be be confused with Slightly Dickinson).

Well dear reader, I decided to undertake a grand experiment and make a full application of this randomness concept. I created a bracket with picks made solely by a random number generator. And yet, despite some of the seemingly ridiculous outcomes it produced I would still bet that this bracket still does not finish in last place.

So what was my highly scientific methodology? Well I started at Random.org which has a variety of tools to achieve random results. As a side note, this site is a personal favorite of mine when I am having difficulty making a decision - like if I want the large fries or the milkshake. I used the random number generator tool and set the range of possible numbers from 1 to 100. For each pick in the bracket I ran the generator to get a number. If the number produced was between 1 and 50 the lower seed (i.e. 1-8) was selected as the winner, and if the number was between 51 and 100 the higher seed was picked. Yes, some real rocket science type stuff right here. As I expected some funny results were produced. Here is a sampling of some highlights:

  • Somehow all 4 number 1 seeds advanced through all the way to the Sweet 16. Goes to show you how crazy it was for Virginia to lose to a 16 seed last year.
  • The lowest seed to be knocked out in the first round was #3 LSU.
  • The Sweet 16 is underdog mania containing two 13 seeds, two 11 seeds, and a 12 seed.

But wait, it gets oh so much more interesting...

This experiment, if you can call it that, revealed that the universe is apparently smiling on your UH Cougars. Yes, they make it all the way to the Final Four - but wait there's even more.

According to the random number generator the championship trophy will be brought back to the Fertitta Center after the Cougars end Vermont's cinderella run in the Final. Just remember if the Cougars do win the title you heard it here first.

If you want to take a look at and follow along with the craziness of this bracket click here or look for the "WX Guy's Random Bracket" in the ESPN975Houston ESPN Tournament Challenge Group.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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