March MATHness

Learn 3 popular sport ranking methods and how to create March Madness brackets with them. Let math make the picks!
4.8 (42 ratings) Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a
course's star rating by considering a number of different factors
such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the
likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
5,683 students enrolled
Free
Start Learning Now
  • Lectures 19
  • Length 8 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
Wishlisted Wishlist

How taking a course works

Discover

Find online courses made by experts from around the world.

Learn

Take your courses with you and learn anywhere, anytime.

Master

Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.

About This Course

Published 1/2013 English

Course Description

A Faculty Project Course - Best Professors Teaching the World

Every year, people across the United States predict how the field of 65 teams will play in the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament by filling out a tournament bracket for the postseason play. Not sure who to pick? Let math help you out!


In this course, you will learn three popular rating methods two of which are also used by the Bowl Championship Series, the organization that determines which college football teams are invited to which bowl games. The first method is simple winning percentage.  The other two methods are the Colley Method and the Massey Method, each of which computes a ranking by solving a system of linear equations. We also learn how to adapt the methods to take late season momentum into account. This allows you to create your very own mathematically-produced brackets for March Madness by writing your own code or using the software provided with this course. 


From this course, you will learn math driven methods that have led Dr. Chartier and his students to place in the top 97% of 4.6 million brackets submitted to ESPN!  See more:

Math Improves March Madness Predictions 

Bracketology 101 


What are the requirements?

  • The software supplied with the course uses Java applets available on the Internet and Java applications that can be run on one's won computer. Your browser or computer must be set up to run such programs.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of the course, you will be able to rank sports teams using 3 popular sports ranking methods and create brackets for March Madness.
  • In this course, you will learn how to rank using winning percentage, the Colley method, and the Massey method, and how to adapt each ranking method to integrate momentum.

What is the target audience?

  • This course starts with fractions and moves on into linear systems (linear algebra). If you are new to linear algebra, you may or may not find the "more math" lectures helpful on the Colley and Massey methods.
  • The activities are designed to deepen everyone's knowledge. The software that is supplied does not rely on any knowledge of linear algebra. Put in your numbers for modeling momentum and you are ready to create your sports ranking!

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Let's Get Started
01:55
In this course, we learn how to create mathematically generated brackets for March Madness using 3 popular sports ranking techniques.  
Section 2: Who's on first and what's on second?
07:51
In this course, we will learn to use sports ranking to create math-generated brackets.  Our final ranking will inform us as to who is predicted to beat who.  This lecture discusses issues in sports ranking such as ranking the entire list and all Division 1 games for a March Madness bracket – not just ranking how the teams in the tournament played each other.


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

02:55
This activity follows lecture 1 and considers  issues in sports ranking to develop our intuition on what's involved in deciding Who's #1 and who will beat who in a March Madness bracket.


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

Section 3: Putting on weight - modeling momentum
07:39
In this lecture, we discuss how to incorporate a model of momentum into the standard winning percentage calculation.  In this way, a team on a winning streak going into the tournament can be rewarded in a ranking. 


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

02:43
In this activity, you learn to use software to rank NCAA Division I men's basketball teams from different years.  You'll use winning percentage and be able to weight the games to create a ranking based on your math model of momentum. 

As mentioned in this lesson:

Section 4: A bit of data to mine
10:53
In this lecture, we learn where to go and how to download results for a variety sports from college to professional.  This enables you to explore sports beyond men's basketball for March Madness!

As mentioned in this lesson:

http://www.masseyratings.com 


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

05:01
In this activity, we learn where to go and how to download results for a sport other than for March Madness.  We also see how to grab data from past years.


As mentioned in this lesson:

http://www.masseyratings.com 


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

Section 5: A big bowl of math – Colley method
15:34
In this lesson, we learn a ranking method that helps choose which teams play in the Rose Bowl, for instance.


As mentioned in this lesson:

www.wolframalpha.com 


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

06:52
in this activity, you will be given several small systems to rank to ensure you understand how to set up the linear system.


As mentioned in this lesson:

http://sites.davidson.edu/mathmovement/celebrity-networking/ 


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

Section 6: Math behind the Colley method
10:24

This optional lesson gives the derivation of the Colley method as a linear system and the math behind this powerful ranking method.  


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

03:51

In this activity, we apply the Colley method to a sport of your interest. Watch the video first before clicking on a link below. 

To test your ideas download:

http://www.davidson.edu/math/chartier/udemy/colley.zip 

To test Colley on March Madness visit:

http://www.davidson.edu/math/chartier/udemy/rankingColley.html 

Section 7: Another bowl of math – Massey method
08:49
In this lecture, we learn how to form a linear system according to the Massey method, another of the ranking methods of the Bowl Championship Series.  This sports ranking method can also be adapted to basketball to create your March Madness bracket.


As mentioned in this lesson:

www.wolframalpha.com 


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

04:36
In this activity, we review how to form a linear system according to the Massey method.


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

Section 8: Math behind the Massey method
10:24

This optional lecture gives the derivation of the Massey method as a linear system and the math behind this powerful ranking method.  


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

03:41
In this activity, you learn to use software to rank NCAA Division I men's basketball teams from different years.  You'll use a method, called the Massey Method, used by the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to rank college football teams.  

Watch the video first before clicking on a link below. 

To test your ideas download:

http://www.davidson.edu/math/chartier/udemy/massey.zip 

To test Colley on March Madness visit:

http://www.davidson.edu/math/chartier/udemy/rankingMassey.html 

Section 9: Personal math brackets
13:57

In this lecture, we learn to incorporate a model of momentum into the Colley and Massey methods. Such models can produce more robust rankings and allow you to create your own personalized bracket with techniques utilized but the Bowl Championship Series.  


Here's the web page where you can find the ESPN challenge if you are interested in submitting: http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/en/


NOTE: Download the slides from the lecture so you can follow and practice alongside the video.

02:03
In this final activity, you learn to use software to rank NCAA Division I men's basketball teams from different years.  You can use winning percentage, the Colley Method or Massey Method. The ability to weight games will enable you to create your own personal bracket. 

Watch the video first before clicking on a link below. 

To test your ideas download:

http://www.davidson.edu/math/chartier/udemy/rankings.html 

Section 10: In Closing
Thanks for joining the course!
Article
Section 11: Bonus Section
In the News
Article

Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed

  • Loading
  • Loading
  • Loading

Instructor Biography

Tim Chartier, Associate Professor of Mathematics - Davidson College

Tim Chartier is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Davidson College. He is a recipient of a national teaching award from the Mathematical Association of America. Published by Princeton University Press, Tim coauthored Numerical Methods: Design, Analysis, and Computer Implementation of Algorithms with Anne Greenbaum. As a researcher, Tim has worked with both Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories on the development and analysis of computational methods targeted to increase efficiency and robustness of numerical simulation on the lab’s supercomputers, which are among the fastest in the world. Tim’s research with and beyond the labs was recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.

Tim serves on the Editorial Board for Math Horizons, a mathematics magazine of the Mathematical Association of America. He also on the Advisory Board of YourMusicOn (YMO), a mobile music startup company and the Advisory Council for the Museum of Mathematics, which will be the first museum of mathematics in the United States and opens in December 2012. Tim has been a resource for a variety of media inquiries which includes fielding mathematical questions for the Sports Science program on ESPN. He also writes for the Science blog of the Huffington Post.

As an artist, Tim has trained at Le Centre du Silence mime school and Dell’Arte School of International Physical Theater. He also studied in master classes with Marcel Marceau. Tim has taught and performed mime throughout the United States and in national and international settings.

In his time apart from academia, Tim enjoys the performing arts, mountain biking, nature walks and hikes, and spending time with his family.

Learn more about Prof. Chartier's teaching, research and presentations with mime and math on his blog.

Ready to start learning?
Start Learning Now