New CofC course using math to beat bracket odds

New CofC course using math to beat bracket odds

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Stephen Gorman started as an army of one.

Last year, as a College of Charleston junior, Gorman created a mathematical formula set to increase the odds of achieving a near-perfect bracket, by at least a few billion.

Those odds, by the way, are 1 in 9.2 quintillion, i.e. 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.

Gorman said the idea was born after working alongside one of the nation's top bracketologists in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) internship.

"It turns out, it wasn't just me that likes to do march Mathness as we like to call it," he said.

Fast forward a year later, Gorman is now one of five students in a new College of Charleston Independent Study course, called Sports Analytics.

The course, which includes a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, includes but is not limited to doing research to predict NCAA tournament results, and creating a better bracket.

The students measure trends, and look for upsets over thousands of bracket combinations, also factoring in variables like shooting percentage, experience, and pattern of play at different points in the season.

"Usually what people do, they look for seeds in the tournament, and not the rating," said graduate student Drew Passarello.

"The seeds don't really tell you the skill level of the team.  They're just a placement for the bracket."

The students say while reaching bracket perfection would be the ultimate accomplishment, finishing the tournament in the 90th percentile isn't so bad either.

"As a math major, that was always the dream," said junior Liana Valentino.

"That's like the coolest way of using math that I've ever heard of," Gorman added.

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