Thursday, March 22, 2012

ESPN's bracket experts


Jay Bilas
Affiliation: ESPN
Experience: Former Player and Assistant Coach, Duke University
Bracket Status: 4-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 1-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and UNC (Sunday), 41-of-58 Correct Picks (71 percent), 88.8 percentile on ESPN.

As a former player and coach with Duke, Bilas unsurprisingly had placed the Blue Devils through to the Elite Eight before losing to Kentucky in the South Region final.
Instead, with Duke losing to Lehigh and Xavier defeating Notre Dame in ND's first tournament game (a team Bilas had playing in the Round of 32), Bilas is hoping that Kentucky will defeat Baylor and run the table.

Seth Davis
Affiliation: Sports Illustrated
Experience: Writer, went from writing for Duke University's newspaper to writing for SI
Bracket Status: 4-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 0-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and Kansas (Sunday), 41-of-58 Correct Picks (52 percent)

What a shocker—writers don't necessarily have the upper hand at analytical mumbo-jumbo. Davis' bracket has been so apparently off-base that when he appeared on Turner Sports as an in-studio analyst, his co-anchors referred to his picks as the "kiss of death."

Jim Furyk (lolwut)

Affiliation: PGA
Experience: Golfer, PGA Tour Player of the Year, 2010; U.S. Open Winner, 2003
Bracket Status: 7-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 1-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and Kansas (Sunday), 41-of-58 Correct Picks (71 percent), 98.8 percentile on ESPN.

So if baseball brackets are better than basketball brackets, then a sport with even less constant activity should theoretically have the best bracket, right?
Enter Jim Furyk, a professional golfer who currently possesses a bracket that ranks in the 98.8 percentile on ESPN's Tournament Challenge and is even better than Bilas.
Furyk started out with a ho-hum South Region, correctly predicting every result from the Sweet 16 onward, save for Duke's appearance in that round.

Barack Obama

Affiliation: President of the United States of America
Experience: Politician: Senator from Illinois, US President
Bracket Status: 6-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 1-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and UNC (Sunday), 42-of-58 Correct Picks (72 percent), 98.4 percentile on ESPN.

After a dismal past two years—as far as bracketology is concerned—President Barack Obama's 2012 bracket is a rebound and a look back at his first bracket as President, when Obama chose UNC to win it all (and they did).

In the South, Obama fell like many others in selecting Duke to the Sweet 16, though he came back in the Elite Eight with a Kentucky versus Baylor showdown.
President Obama has Kentucky losing to UNC in the national championship game.


Dick Vitale

Affiliation: ESPN
Experience: Former Coach, Rutgers and University of Detroit (NCAA) & NBA
Bracket Status: 2-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 0-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and UNC (Sunday), 31-of-58 Correct Picks (53 percent), 9.4 percentile on ESPN.

As for Dick Vitale, the raspy-voiced broadcaster hopped aboard the Duke caravan, which knocked out his lower South Region. In the upper South, Vitale chose Kentucky to win it all, though giving too much credence to a Wichita State run to the Sweet 16 turned out to be an unwise move.

Michelle Beadle

Affiliation: ESPN
Experience: SportsNation
Bracket Status: 2-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 0-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Baylor and St. Mary's (Sunday), 32-of-60 Correct Picks (53 percent), 11.0 percentile on ESPN.

Michelle Beadle got her start as a reporter with the San Antonio Spurs thanks to her father, an oil industry executive, and for reasons that will become painfully obvious, the above photograph in which Beadle is blocked out by a podium is entirely appropriate for this "expert" bracket.
You don't want your face shown after landing yourself in the 11th percentile on your employer's website.
It starts off innocently enough, with Beadle making an aggressive pick in choosing Baylor to advance to the Final Four. She correctly foresaw the VCU upset, though she gave VCU too much credit and penciled them through to the Elite Eight, defeating Kentucky in the Sweet 16 to get there.

Andy Katz

Affiliation: ESPN
Experience: Career Sportswriter
Bracket Status: 5-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 1-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and UNC (Sunday), 33-of-58 Correct Picks (57 percent), 63.2 percentile on ESPN.

As a career sportswriter and one of ESPN's news-breakers, Andy Katz has built himself a respectable reputation and put together a respectable bracket.
In choosing powerhouses Kentucky and Baylor to face off in the Elite Eight, Katz made a selection in line with many experts' choices. With Kentucky slated to win his national championship game, Katz has a bracket whose end result is shared by many analysts.

Rajon Rondo

Affiliation: Boston Celtics, NBA
Experience: Player, Kentucky (NCAA) & NBA
Bracket Status: 3-of-8 Elite Eight Teams, 0-of-2 Final Four (Saturday), Kentucky and Kansas (Sunday), 28-of-58 Correct Picks (48 percent), 9.4 percentile on ESPN.

So we've seen how the media's "experts" have fared thus far, but how about some actual players—those who know the game firsthand?
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo filled out a bracket of his own, though his results weren't all that great (by comparison, the Lakers' Pau Gasol also scored in the 9.4 percentile on
Rondo's falling in the South came by way of Duke, whom he had picked to face Kentucky in the Elite Eight. To his credit, Rondo chose his alma mater (Kentucky) to win it all.

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