March MATHness
4.3 (259 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
8,229 students enrolled

March MATHness

Learn 3 popular sport ranking methods and how to create March Madness brackets with them. Let math make the picks!
4.3 (259 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
8,229 students enrolled
Created by Tim Chartier
Last updated 3/2013
English
English [Auto-generated]
Price: Free
This course includes
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • 28 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What you'll learn
  • 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.

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.
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 


Who this course is for:
  • 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!
Course content
Expand all 19 lectures 06:03:52
+ Let's Get Started
1 lecture 01:55
In this course, we learn how to create mathematically generated brackets for March Madness using 3 popular sports ranking techniques.  
Course Overview
01:55
+ Who's on first and what's on second?
2 lectures 10:46
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.

Who's on first and what's on second - ranking an entire dataset
07:51
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.

Activity: Who's on first and what's on second?
02:55
+ Putting on weight - modeling momentum
2 lectures 10:22
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.

Putting on weight - modeling momentum
07:39
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:

Activity: Putting on weight
02:43
+ A bit of data to mine
2 lectures 15:54
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.

A bit of data to mine
10:53
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.

Activity: A bit of data to mine
05:01
+ A big bowl of math – Colley method
2 lectures 22:26
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.

A big bowl of math – Colley method
15:34
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.

Activity: A big bowl of math
06:52
+ Math behind the Colley method
2 lectures 14:15

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.

Math behind the Colley method
10:24

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 

Activity: Math behind the Colley method
03:51
+ Another bowl of math – Massey method
2 lectures 13:25
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.

Another bowl of math – Massey method
08:49
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.

Activity: Another bowl of math
04:36
+ Math behind the Massey method
2 lectures 14:05

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.

Math behind the Massey method
10:24
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 

Activity: Math behind the Massey method
03:41
+ Personal math brackets
2 lectures 16:00

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.

Personal math brackets
13:57
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://marchmathness.davidson.edu 

Activity: Personal math brackets
02:03
+ In Closing
1 lecture 00:37
Thanks for joining the course!
00:37