Bracketology

After the field of 65 was announced, I predicted the upset of the tournament. I do this every year. I pick a team that will advance to the Sweet 16 by beating a number 1 or 2 seed. This drives my son crazy. He says I am not qualified to make any predictions since I know so little about the teams or the sport. He says that my predictions fail to come true every year (untrue) but that someday I will profess my genius and expertise when I catch lightning in a bottle and one of my predictions does finally come true.

This year I am predicting Northern Iowa over Kansas in the second round.

This time of year I see brackets everywhere with people who pore over reams of information in an effort to pick the winners. Does a wealth of information make a difference? Probably not.

Joseph Hallinan wrote an excellent book called Why We Make Mistakes.  In his book he makes a compelling argument that information overload makes no real difference in our ability to retain and use the information to assist in the decision making process.

He cites a study that was conducted at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers gave some students five thousand word chapters on various topics; and some students received 1000 word summaries of those chapters.  The researchers compared a student’s ability to learn and retain information contained in the long chapter with the short chapter. They found thatstudents learned and retained more from the summaries than from the long chapters.

There was also a study that tested the predictive ability of horse handicappers by Paul Slovic at the Oregon Research Institute. Eight handicappers were asked to make predictions for 40 races. The handicappers were given 5 pieces of information about each horse; then 10; then 20; then 40. The study found that the handicappers did just as well predicting the races where they had only 5 pieces of information as they did in the races where they had 40 pieces of information.

So I am going with UNI over Kansas with absolutely no information about the teams. That should work.

One thought on “Bracketology

  1. Let the record show that I have never questioned your vast knowledge of college basketball, however, I have and will continue to question everything else. Good pick!

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