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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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Coca-Cola 600 preview, picks

Watch out for Ryan Blaney this weekend. Photo via: Wiki Commons

It’s a Memorial Day Tradition; The NASCAR Cup Series heads home to Charlotte for the annual Coca-Cola 600. This race is probably the third most crucial race all season, behind the Daytona 500 and the Season Finale at Phoenix. Anyone who wins this race will always be able to say that they were Coke 600 champions. No race on the schedule is as long as this one, because of this there will be a 4th stage added to the race. Teams will be provided 13 sets of tires, and if the last few weeks have been any indication, they will need all the tires they can get. With the race being as long as it is, there is a good possibility this could be an attrition race and the driver that survives will more than likely win. The record for the most cautions in NASCAR history was 22 cautions, at this same race in 2005. Come Sunday, I bet we get close to that number.

What's the deal with all of these tire failures? Last week in the All-Star race we saw drivers like Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Erik Jones all crash out because they had a flat. There are many factors that could be contributing to this, for one the tires are much wider and the sidewalls are much more narrow. Because of this, the tire falloff is much shorter, so now instead of going maybe 40-45 laps on one set of tires, drivers can now only go 25-30 laps. The other major facet is that a lot of teams are running much lower air pressures to get the car to handle better by being closer to the ground. Goodyear and NASCAR usually require the right side tires to run around 51-52 PSI, the rule however isn’t enforced for the left side tires, so drivers will push the limits to see how much they can take out to make the car faster. The fact that we were seeing such tire ware on smooth surfaces like Texas and Atlanta is a clear sign that there is a problem, but not all of it is on Goodyear. Only time will tell how this develops on tracks with old abrasive surfaces, like when they go back to Bristol in the fall.

One of NASCAR’s newest teams, Trackhouse racing, made a bit of a surprise announcement this week. Starting at Watkins Glenn in August, the team will run a third car with a series of international drivers, starting with 2007 Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen. This is something that I think is interesting for the sport. I am a bit surprised that another team hasn’t already done this before. Having drivers like Kimi, one of the more world renowned racers in F1, can really bring a whole new audience to NASCAR. There have been rumors on whom some of the other drivers might be, from Daniel Riccardo to even Lewis Hamilton. There will be a lot of intrigue about who will be the next driver.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Ryan Blaney. After winning the All-Star race, it seems like Roger Penske and the rest of the Ford camp are picking up steam. Overall, Blaney tends to struggle at this track with an 18.8 average finish, but if last week is any indication of how his car will run on mile and halves like Charlotte, he will be a fierce contender for the win.

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