Will you pick the tournament champion correctly this year?

Editor’s note: As of Tuesday evening, March 16th, the crowd has shifted enough towards Illinois to merit going contrarian and advancing Baylor to the Championship game instead of Illinois. Oregon also advances over VCU due to an earlier data error. The bracket below has been updated accordingly.

In 2018 I shared the in-depth method I used to fill out my NCAA basketball tournament bracket using the optimal mathematical strategy. It worked out well for me — I correctly picked Villanova as the tournament winner and ranked in the 94th percentile among the 17.3 million brackets in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge pool.


Try the simulation for yourself as many times as you want to see the results and storylines of March Madness 2021 using data

Which team might have the last shot at the basket? Simulation tools can help us peer into the future. Photo by Markus Spiske via rawpixel (CC0 1.0).

Last year, on Friday, March 12th, 2020, the NCAA Men’s March Madness basketball tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. To fill the void, many fans, myself included, simulated how the tournament would have turned out.

I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reception my simulation received from some of the best in the industry:

This year, after the longest hiatus in tournament history, a champion should be crowned (fingers crossed). …


How I’m crowdsourcing predictions from the fantasy football and NFL communities

Editor’s note: This post takes a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of The Fantasy Forecasters NFL forecasting platform. Join in the fun and make your predictions today at www.thefantasyforecasters.com.

As an amateur forecaster on Good Judgement Open and Metaculus, I love making predictions about what will happen about the future. I’ve recently forecasted on questions like “Who would Biden pick as his vice presidential nominee?”, “How much Disney’s Mulan will make at the box office?”, and “Will FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast would give President Trump a higher chance of winning the 2020 election than the Economist’s model”, among others.

I have…


A summary and transcript of Tim Ferriss’ coronavirus podcast episode

Tim (presumably) at home, where he’s been social distancing for the past four weeks. Courtesy Tim Ferriss media kit.

Author’s note: Author and influencer Tim Ferriss (tim.blog) has spent his life digesting complex and varied information to identify targeted, actionable solutions to problems, both personal and societal. On Friday, March 20th, he recorded an episode of his popular podcast The Tim Ferriss Show entitled How to Support Healthcare Workers Now — Plus Urgent Suggestions for Uber Eats, Hilton, Amazon, and More (#416) that aims to influence societal behavior toward actionable steps to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It’s an extremely important message, but given the challenges of quickly disseminating insights from audio, and/or the public’s media consumption preference for…


Try the simulation for yourself as many times as you want to see the results and storylines of March Madness 2020 using data

Which team would have had the last shot at the basket? Simulation tools can help us peer inside an alternate reality. Photo by Markus Spiske via rawpixel (CC0 1.0).

With the coronavirus causing the unprecedented cancellation of the 2020 NCAA men’s basketball tournament (not to mention all NCAA activities), its players and fans are left wondering what could have been of such a beloved annual ritual.

On Thursday’s CBS Sports’ Eye on College Basketball podcast (starting at 1:06:30), hosts Matt Norlander and Gary Parrish paid tribute to the season with a hypothetical run-through of the tournament based on Jerry Palm’s March 12th projected bracket. This got me thinking: could I actually simulate the tournament and identify the story lines of an alternate reality of March Madness 2020?

There have…


An analytical review of the theories behind the worst home-road split in NBA history.

The Sixers are on pace to be the only team in NBA history to win at least 90% of their home games and lose more than 2/3 of their road games. And no one knows why. Ben Simmons (CC BY-SA 2.0) by KA Sports Photos

The Philadelphia 76ers are having a great season…at home. The NBA team has a 28–2 record when playing in South Philly, a 93% win percentage, while posting a 9–23 record on the road, a win percentage of only 30%. This 63 percentage point home-away split puts them on pace to be the only team in NBA history to win at least 90% of their home games and lose more than 2/3 of their road games.

What explains such a discrepancy? It’s well-documented that the effect of home-field advantage in the NBA is the largest among the regular season for the…


Use this strategy guide and tool to determine the best 2020 auction keepers

Derrick Henry: a sure-fire keeper for 2020

Each year, more and more leagues are transforming into keeper leagues, in which managers are permitted to keep one or more players from their previous year’s roster. Auction drafts are also becoming increasingly popular, providing players with the chance to draft any player on the board while managing a fixed salary cap.

As such, strategy for the combination of both these elements in auction draft keeper leagues is becoming increasingly important to give yourself an edge heading into the next season.

It’s common for fantasy managers to…


Plus, should you have made that trade? Use my tool to find out.

Shall we shake on it? Trading away Aaron Rodgers for Russell Wilson in Week 3 would have been a very good trade. Despite some big games from Rodgers throughout the season, Wilson would score 273 total fantasy points the rest of the season, compared to Rodgers’ 235 points, for a net gain of 2.7 extra points per week.

With the 2019 fantasy football season in the books, it’s time for a retrospective on the good, bad, and ugly trades we made this season.

To assist with this exercise, I built a tool to mathematically grade each trade based on how each player involved in the trade performed the remainder of the season.

Make a copy of my Trade Evaluator spreadsheet to enter all the trades you made throughout the course of the season and see, mathematically, the results of those trades, including your “Trade Grade” of A+ to F.


Forget fantasy football. Now you can play “fantasy politics”.

Editor’s note: Registration for the 5th season of Fantasy Politics 2020 ends Sunday, September 1st, 2019 at midnight. Pick a team name and select three candidates for your lineup under the $20,000 salary cap who you think will earn the most media attention the following week. Jump to the middle of this post for more information on the rules and how to play.

FiveThirtyEight recently posted a quiz asking its readers to distinguish between quotes taken from sporting events and quotes taken from political commentary following this summer’s Democratic debates. …


Will you pick the tournament champion correctly this year?

Author’s note: The tournament has ended! For the second year in a row, my model picked the winner correctly, even if it did require a bit of late-game heroics by UVA throughout the tournament to be crowned champions. My more adventurous suggestions of Michigan State over Duke and dark horses Auburn and Oregon weren’t too bad either. Until next year!

Last year I shared the in-depth method I used to fill out my NCAA basketball tournament bracket using the optimal mathematical strategy. It worked out well for me — I correctly picked the tournament winner and ranked in the 94th…

David Glidden

District of Columbia fanboy living in CDMX with @egbarnett. Product Manager at @TheoremCo.

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