Bracketology, the process of picking the winners in the NCAA men's and women's national basketball tournaments, has attracted a lot of scientific attention — and a lot of dubious science.
University of Maryland quantum computing students have created a sophisticated, hard-to-fathom bracketology system that boils down to using a ytterbium ion like a coin flip to pick winners. Its ion coin flips predict the University of Pittsburgh, the eighth seed in the Eastern regional, to win the Big Dance. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they lost their first tournament game to ninth-seeded Wichita State.
Nate Silver, the legendary numbers cruncher in the world of politics, predicts Louisville has the highest probability of any of the 68 teams in the tournament to win at 22.7 percent. Indiana is next at 19.6 percent, followed by Florida at 12.7 percent, Kansas 7.5 percent and Number 1-ranked Gonzaga at 6.1 percent.
Silver has street cred because last year he predicted Kentucky would win the Big Dance — along with just about everybody else who follows college basketball and noticed the starting five were likely to be top picks in the NBA draft.
Because March Madness is a major national distraction that saps productivity from America's offices and factories, marketers sniff an opportunity. A number of brands have created their own bracketology to engage consumers. One investment analyst compared picking stocks to picking NCAA tournament winners, which may not have been the best of ideas.