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Accuracy of the Bracketologists

It’s no secret that March Madness has become big business. Everything about the tournament in its modern form is massive. From the viewership numbers to its impact on select economies, the size of this tournament cannot be denied.  The annual 68-team spectacle has spilled over to the internet as well (stunning, I know).  Recently, everything from individual team blogs to sites specializing in statistical analysis have experienced a boom in popularity because of this yearly event. But in particular, people specializing in “Bracketology” have seemingly gained more popularity than others. In fact, the science of correctly picking teams for the annual field of 68 has propelled a handful of people (Joe Lunardi, Jerry Palm, among others) to fame. While these individuals are hailed as expert prognosticators by their respective networks, we rarely hear of their mistakes.


You may already be aware, but the good folks over at “The Bracket Project“, have documented and ranked every single Bracketologist since 2006.  In order to conduct their analysis, a simple mathematical formula was devised.  According to the explanation given on their site, the rules were as follows.  “This rubric awards 3 points for each team correctly picked, 2 points for each team correctly seeded, and 1 point for each team correctly seeded within one seed line.  With 68 teams, a perfect score is 408.  The variance section of the data table below lists the absolute deviation between each score and the mean for that particular year.  Thus, a 10 point variance means that site’s bracket scored 10 points higher than the average bracket that year.”  So now that we know the rules, where do the most popular personalities rank?  Of the most notable Bracketologists; Yahoo! Sports’ Brad Evans,’s Mike Huguenin, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, none rank inside the top-20 in terms of accuracy. In fact, they finished 23rd, 32nd, 34th, and 36th respectively.  Who’s the most accurate?  The Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell, who is nearly 16-points above average.


How does this impact Kentucky?  In the grand scheme of things, not too terribly much.  After all, an individual’s predictions don’t have much, if any impact on the actual selection process. But since the season ending injury to Nerlens Noel, Kentucky finds themselves in great danger of missing the tournament just one season after winning it.  Since we’ve proven the most notable Bracketologists to be little more than average, what are the most accurate prognosticators saying?  Unfortunately, many of the most reliable sites haven’t produced their selections yet, but luckily, many other traditionally accurate brackets have been released.  Eighth ranked currently sees the Cats as one of the first five out.  The creators of “The Bracket Project” find themselves ranked 11th overall and have Kentucky dancing as a 10 seed. In twelfth ranked Sport Sentiments‘ latest bracket, Kentucky is a predicted 12 seed.  Finally, 13th ranked Shelby Mast, now with the Indianapolis Star, places the Wildcats in the “others considered” category.


As it currently stands, the more recognizable and inaccurate Bracketologists project Kentucky out of the tournament field.  However, the more accurate and lesser known prognosticators haven’t reached a firm consensus on this group of Wildcats yet. Some say we’re in, others say we’re out.  If anything, these predictions do nothing more than prove that no one has a clue to which Kentucky team will show up in coming weeks. Will they rise to the occasion or will they collapse under pressure? While these current projections for Kentucky look bleak, an upward trend is not out of the question just yet.


Article written by Jonathan Schuette

10 Comments for Accuracy of the Bracketologists

  1. Truth IS
    8:07 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Blue to my core but the truth…first–“which team will show up?”, you gotta be kidding me. Even the best team we have seen is not good. Best team was early in loss against Duke but they have left the floor. What is left are a bunch of—drum roll please====__–uncoachable players—sorry but that is the truth. We will be better off not making the field and not going to the NIT. Either will leave the last game as a horrible loss. This after a horrible loss in the SEC. Sorry BBN but this is the truth.

  2. Hicks
    8:08 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Lunardi continues to say it’s a seven game season for the Cats to get in but Andy Katz talked to the chairman and he said there’s no way you can completely dismiss the entire season before Nerlens got hurt. Not much communication going on over at the Worldwide leader of egotistict personalities.

  3. 14th region
    8:12 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Stop with all this bracketology! It’s real simple for UK. We have the remaining games to play our way in. I think if we win out except for the Flordia game and were in if not its NIT bound! I don’t think this is the type of team that can win the SEC tourney.
    Knowing what they have to do, if they can’t win we don’t belong anyway! It’s all in our control which is a lot better then having to hope for others to lose!
    Does it really matter any way? If we don’t have a real shot at a FF, call it a wash and move on to next year when Cal has a team that could have a record breaking season. The future is bright in the BBN!

  4. goukats
    8:28 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    UK is currently 3rd or 4th in the SEC and that’s not good enough to get into the NCAA.Does’nt say much for the SEC.

  5. random dude
    8:31 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    3 thank you. i will watch every game and support these guys to the end but frankly I spend more time thanking the basketball Gods that we got number 8 last year and looking forward to number 9 next year. DUMB to be prognosticating about the tournament in every post with where this team is at right now.

  6. Steady
    8:46 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Lunardi exposed.

  7. Mike
    8:59 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Can you all believe that a UK team, with all it’s talent, is fighting for berth in the NCAA?? This is just unbelievable. This is the wussiest UK team these eyes have seen.

  8. GoforIt
    9:01 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    I hope every UK fan is watching the crowd at Mich St. tonight. That goes for you as well students! Our student section is weak!

  9. ej
    10:13 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    that guy never gets laid goofy looking

  10. Deepblue
    9:07 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Sigh….all of this chatter is useless. There is very little chance this team makes the NCAA tournament. Period. And if by some twist of fate it does, then there is very little chance it wins its first game. This is not because the team isn’t playing hard enough. Its not because the schedule remaining is difficult. It is not because players aren’t having fun or don’t have swagger. And its not because it hasn’t “clicked” for them yet. Its because they aren’t good basketball players and they are even worse collectively than they are individually. I love Kentucky basketball but this is all beyond delusional.