Day 192: Create a robot to fill out my NCAA bracket

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

There are hundreds of arbitrary ways to fill out an NCAA bracket.

For those of us who don’t follow the teams until the tournament actually arrives, the point of the bracket is pretty much just so you have someone to root for. This year I wanted to come up with an interesting way to populate my bracket.

I considered having an animal do it, sort of like the recently deceased German octopus named Paul who correctly predicted the winner of each of the German national team’s matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as the outcome of the final game. Unfortunately, I had no such animal at my disposal.

Steph suggested I find a bug somewhere in the apartment and have it crawl over the teams on the bracket  for me, but unfortunately our apartment is surprisingly insect-free.

So instead I had Steph help me create a computer program to predict the winners.

I figured that if the computer Watson could win Jeopardy, then my program could choose the tournament champion. I named him Waldo and consider him to be Watson’s less intellectual younger brother.

Waldo tells me whether team A or team B will win at the click of a button. And boy did he have some wild picks. He played it safe and had Ohio St. headed to the Final Four. However, he also decided that two teams I’ve never heard of, Wofford and Akron, a 14th and 15th seed respectively, are going to make it to the final four, and that Connecticut is going to win it all.

He gave me a respectable number of underdogs to root for, which is always fun. And besides, who knows, maybe he’s on to something. What if he really does end up picking the perfect bracket? Then I can patent him and sell him to the NCAA, where he’ll go head to head with Dick Vitale.

You can see the full extend of Waldo’s outrageous picks here:


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