March is not Mad. It is simply fickle. Whenever 64 teams gather for a single-elimination tournament, even trace amounts of entropy will resemble high drama and improbable returns.

In anticipation of this year’s NCAA March Madness hysteria, which comes on the heels of the maddest tournament in history in 2018, I approached the men’s basketball tournament with a time-honored palliative for neurotics everywhere: radical over-preparation. Instead of filling out a bracket, I wrote a computer program (open-sourced here) that generated 10 million unique NCAA brackets, randomly predicting each matchup with a modest weight toward the lower-seeded team. Here’s how it’s going:

After the first two rounds, which amounted to 48 games, a perfect bracket would have 64 points under a traditional scoring system: 1 point for each of the 32 first-round games and 2 points for the next 16. (Points double each round as the number of teams reduces by half, so the maximum is always 32). Five of my brackets have 61 points — on par with two brackets in ESPN’s pool that are tied for first place, according to the current leaderboard. Another 334 of my brackets missed a few first-round games but guessed the second round perfectly. (ESPN’s scores are inflated by a factor of 10 but are otherwise scored by the same system.)

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