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 media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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