Voyage To Algebracket

We’re gonna be talking about Algebracket today. If you’re not hip to Algebracket, then you’re missing out. The creators, Peter Rifel and Adam Wilcox, have done a terrific job crossing the bridge between those who like to put up brackets and those who understand the deep analytics and stats that go into it. Basically, they make us non-genius types look like we know what we’re talking about (SPOILER: we don’t).

The site allows for you to predict the winners of each tournament game, based on a number of different sliders to weight stats like Strength of Schedule, FT%, and even some more obscure stats like steals/game. If you find the magic combination, you could be riding high in your pool. That, Bangers, is exactly what we’re gonna try to do here.

NOTE: The last slider on the page, “Give Beer $$$”, is the most important slider of all. Throw these guys some dollars; we certainly will be. They deserve every penny.

NOTE #2: Best I can tell, the sliders will select either one of the First Four teams that satisfy the criteria most, but for the most accurate bracket, you will want to check back after the First Four games are finished. Not sure if it will be updated between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, but I’m hopeful!

Bracket #1: Utter Chaos!!!!!11

Sliders:

  • Random = 100

Final Four: #9 Oklahoma St. def. #13 Valparaiso; #7 Iowa def. #11 Dayton
Champion: #9 Oklahoma St.

As you guessed, Random is… well, random. The random picks seem to change after every page refresh, which is awesome – you can see several hilarious results this way. To be fair, we hit refresh five times before chronicling our results.

Three of the four 16-seeds were victorious; Duke was the only winner of the four, and parlayed that into an Elite Eight bid. The most ridiculous was the Midwest region, which saw the #1-#5 seeds taken out in the first round, leaving #6 Butler as the highest seed in the region for the round of 32.

Arguably the biggest benefactor of this is Dayton, who was able to go from the play-in game against Boise St. all the way to the semis, besting their previous year’s Elite Eight run. The downside is coach Archie Miller would promptly be hired away to coach a big national program.

Bracket #2: Highly Offensive

Sliders:

  • Scoring Margin = 100
  • Scoring Off. = 80
  • FG Pct. = 40
  • 3pt. FG Pct. = 60
  • Free Throw Pct. = 20
  • Off. Reb. / Game = 20

Final Four: #3 Notre Dame def. #11 BYU; #2 Gonzaga def. #1 Villanova
Champion: #2 Gonzaga

Whoever said “defense wins championships” was a chump who couldn’t shoot the rock. Not these kids, though; we have scoring powerhouses on display, with more downtown noise than Lady A.

Upsets a’plenty start us off right, with #15 New Mexico St. and #14 Georgia St. leading the way for four double-digit seed matchups in the second round. There are also two #11 seeds in the Elite Eight in Boise St. and BYU, with chalk the rest of the way through (let’s not kid ourselves, ND is a #2-seed).

Bracket #3: The D Is For Me

Sliders:

  • Scoring Def. = 100
  • FG Pct. Def. = 40
  • 3pt FG Pct. Def. = 60
  • Rebound Margin = 80
  • Def. Reb. / Game = 20
  • Turnover Margin = 80
  • Blocks / Game = 40
  • Steals / Game = 40
  • Fouls / Game = 20

Final Four: #1 Kentucky def. #2 Arizona; #2 Virginia def. #8 San Diego St.
Champion: #1 Kentucky

We’re starting to normalize here. Kentucky finally makes it to the top of the mountain, and Valpo gets at least to the Sweet 16 for the third bracket in a row, making you wonder if maybe there’s something there? The big surprise here is #16 Coastal Carolina, who oddly went from losing to Wisconsin with a FG Pct. Def. of 10, to the Elite Eight with a FG Pct. Def. of 20, with all other sliders being equal. If this isn’t proof that every stat matters, I don’t know what is.

Bracket #4: The Real Deal Holyfield

Sliders:

  • Seed = 40
  • S.o.S. = 60
  • Scoring Margin = 40
  • FG Pct. = 20
  • 3pt FG Pct. = 20
  • Free Throw Pct. = 20
  • Rebound Margin = 40
  • Assists/Turnover = 60
  • Turnover Margin = 40
  • Random = 10

Final Four: #1 Wisconsin def. #1 Kentucky; #2 Gonzaga def. #2 Virginia
Champion: #1 Wisconsin

This is what I’ll actually be using to fill out my bracket (with a few modifications), and I’m loving the results. As I had been playing around with settings, the one constant I saw is that #1 Wisconsin and #2 Gonzaga always ended up in the title game, with a variety of different sliders set in different ways. This bracket was no different. #13 E. Washingon is the biggest upset of the field, but they’re done after the 1st round. The odd thing is that this bracket has both #11a BYU and #11a Boise St. headed to the Sweet 16, which we know isn’t exactly possible at this point. But I did like #11b Ole Miss and #11b Dayton’s play so much that I have no problem slotting them in the same way.

This bracket has all chalk in the Elite Eight, besides ND (see above for ND’s correct seeding), with Wisky edging the Zags to win their second national championship, and their first since 1941. This seems reasonable to me, considering that with all the close scrapes they’ve had, UK’s luck has gotta run out eventually. Frank Kaminsky may be the most versatile big in the country, keeping Karl-Anthony Towns and Co. on their toes en-route to a win.

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