Friday, February 20, 2015

Flunking bracketology

Some days I get along with bracketology no better than I've gotten along with a lot of Ologies over the years, and also a lot of Luses and Metries, like calcuLus, geoMetry and trigonoMetry.

In other words: Math makes my head hurt.

Right now it's pounding away like a tiny drummer is in there playing particularly a rowdy set, because I'm looking at what happened in Assembly Hall last night. And I'm wondering how certain things can be.

What happened was, Purdue beat Indiana for the second time this season, sweeping the season series. That leaves the Boilermakers 18-9 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten, tied for second with Maryland. Indiana, meanwhile, is also 18-9, but they're mid-pack in the conference at 8-6.

And yet according to the bracketologists, Indiana's still a solid 7 seed in the Madness, while Purdue remains on the outside looking in. And basically that's because Indiana beat Butler and SMU in December, while Purdue failed to beat Gardner-Webb.

In December.

Which was, you know, last year. And, in Purdue's case, bears as much relevance to the basketball team the Boilermakers are now than if it had happened not last year but six years ago.

Yes, I know, their non-conference schedule is killing them, but their non-conference schedule is yesterday's news. And Indiana's continues to exert far more influence than it should for the same reason. But that's how bracketology works. Numbers is numbers; context means nothing, or at least very little. And so Indiana is in and Purdue is out even though the Boilermakers are clearly the better team right now -- which, you know, is kinda all that should matter.

Listen: In terms of being in or out of the tournament field, I don't care who a team beat or lost to three months before the tournament begins. That was three months ago, and in the lifespan of a basketball season, three months is an eternity. Who are you beating now, with the Madness right around the corner? Who are you losing to now?

That's all I want to know. That's all I care about. But, of course, I'm the same guy who almost flunked algebra in high school.

Could never figure out when in my life I'd ever have to add an X and a Y.

Or, in this case, why anyone should care about ... Gardner-Webb, was it?



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