During last year’s dance, I fiddled around with an Excel model that order the teams by 10 key performance factors…then apply some level of “chaos” to the numbers as a way of simulating the crazy stuff that can happen in the tourney.
This was inspired by a couple circumstances. First, I’ve got a bartender friend named Josh (he’ll never read this!) who asks me every tourney whether I’ve created an “automatic pick” bracket. Secondly, many of the stats models spit out the same picks…and they tend to bias my personal choices. By adding the element of chaos, I get out of some bracket picking ruts that I would otherwise remain in.
So the Brackomatic Excel sheet solves both those problems. It gives Josh the automatic picks he needs (sorry…it doesn’t plop them into a bracket) while enforcing a certain amount of randomness to the teams’ fates.
How much randomness? There’s the rub. Based on some of the work I did to normalize the impact of coaching against team performance, I’ve weighted overall Pythag efficiency to be 67% of the equation, coaching to be 11%–and chaos to have a 22% impact on outcomes. The first two figures are based to an extent on real numbers. The third is a guess. You’re welcome to adjust the Excel model up or down to accommodate your impression on the role of chaos in the tourney.
Using the Brack-o-Matic is easy. Insiders can find it in the TIPS+ section. Just open the Excel file and filter by the “Prospect” column. The teams will be rank ordered from the champion on down. If you filter again, a new order of teams is created. Pay no attention to the final number in the Prospect column, since once you okay the filter, it generates a new value in the Chaos column.
When I publish the new wave of bracket models, you’ll see a new model, #13, called Brack-o-Matic. It’s based on the first time I filtered on this Excel sheet.