So you’re saying there’s a chance

OK, a little bit about how to read your favorite report:

Look at the 6th column, “Best Place Finish”. If your best place finish is 6 or higher, you can still win money. The “Root for” column tells you who you need to win for your best case scenario. It’s in order, too, so the first team listed is the one you want to win it all, the next one you want in the final game, the next two are the rest of the Final Four you want and the last four are the balance of the Elite Eight you want.


Each game is binary (has exactly 2 possible outcomes) and there are 15 games, so 2 to the 15th power (2^15) equals 32,768 possible outcomes for the tournament.

Most people can win under more than one scenario, so when it says “+ 469 other combinations” that means you win under 470 out of the 32,768 possible scenarios. But your odds of winning money are better than that because the 470/32,768 would be the percentage of scenarios in which you win your “best place finish”. You may finish lower, like 6th place and still make money.

Sticking with the above example, your odds of getting your best place finish is not = 470/32,768 because not all scenarios are equally likely.

Some people get confused when their best scenario involves rooting for teams they did not pick. My first instinct is to say something snarky like you shouldn’t have majored in history and should have taken a math class here or there, but I will resist. Say you had Wisconsin to win it all. You need to root for Oregon to kick butt and win the region so that all those points that you AREN’T getting for Wisconsin are also points nobody is getting. Call it good defense if you will. You don’t win the pool by having a high score, you win by having a highER score than others.


Some observations:

Let’s begin with the end in mind. Ten people are fighting for last place:

Canonico, Lauren S.
DQ TEXAS 2
keegan, Connelly
Keegan, Ellie
Keegan, Michael 4
Keegan, Patrick
MAG7
Planck, Mayson
Poindexter, Heath
Powell, Catherine

So 4 of those 10 are Keegans. Idiots.

So 253 out of 317 of us can do was well as 6th and place in the money. That’s almost 80% of all punters in the pool. This includes Michael Keegan and Eric Oldfather who can catapult from 293rd currently to 1st place! Also, DEECUE HOUSTON in 307th can still end up in 5th and win money. So I believe that for a very large number of people, their odds of winning are higher than they suspect.

But the converse is also true. Somebody like Marlowe in first place might seem to be charmed but with 1,107 scenarios leaving him in first that is only about 3% of all scenarios. So, C-Bass really shouldn’t go out and buy that Maserati just yet.

4 thoughts on “So you’re saying there’s a chance

  1. William O Butler

    Chalk time! Favorites are winning. Ratings are up. Superstars are emerging, cementing their futures in the NBA and leaving indelible memories in the hearts of all red blooded Americans!

    Always loved the scenario report. Love it more now that you dummed it down for me. Thanks.

    1. William O Butler

      “Fat drunk and stupid is not way to go through life, son.”
      Dean Wormer, Animal House, 1978

      Nice! You had to double down on the dummy! Awkward transition now: I love IPAs. Do you?
      Turns out I used to drink gallons of vodka and red bull. Got me into a lot of trouble.
      Switched over to IPAs strictly 4 years ago, saved my marriage it did.
      Also probably extended my life by a year or two (more time to be a dummy?)

      Keep up the good work. You are one funny basterd!

      Over and out!

      William “OH” Butler

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