Simulate the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

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

David Glidden

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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). Nonetheless, I always find it fun to explore the future, and so I’ve re-built the simulation for 2021.

To try it out yourself, make a copy of this Google Sheet for the 2021 March Madness simulation (Google account required) and simply check the “Simulate Tournament” checkbox on the primary “Bracket” sheet. The bracket will automatically fill and a champion will be crowned. Scroll around the full bracket to see how the madness played out in the simulation, or simply read the dynamically-generated top story lines. Uncheck and re-check the checkbox to run the simulation as many times as you’d like.

Simulating the 2021 men’s college basketball tournament. Make a copy of the Google Sheet to run the simulation yourself.

To learn how the simulation works, and all the nerdy behind-the-scenes math, read my post from last year. In short, this year’s bracket uses the real NCAA bracket and then simulates each round of the tournament based on 2021 KenPom ratings by generating random numbers weighted to the win probability of…

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David Glidden

In the District of Columbia with @egbarnett. Ops at @TheoremOne.