2015 Bitterness Brackets

I know very little about the head-to-head statistics of college basketball. I couldn’t tell you whether Lousiville or Duke has a better offense, for instance. But like many people, I enjoy playing with data. And one thing I do have is a series of longstanding grudges against many colleges and universities. I was on the job market on and off for 12 years with great success – I am now tenured at the third place to offer me a tenure-track job, which puts me in some ridiculously rare percentage of all candidates. But I also applied to hundreds more, much like all other candidates, and got jerked around furiously by some of those. So every year I pick an NCAA bracket based entirely on lingering bitterness towards schools. It’s cathartic, really. Very good for me. Picture the Emperor from Return of the Jedi hissing, “Let the hate flow through you…” as you pick your bracket.

The rules are relatively simple.

  1. In any game where only one of the schools accepted me for undergrad, grad, or a job (and I was never involved with the other), pick FOR the school that did so.
  2. In any game where only one of the schools rejected me for undergrad, grad, or a job (and I was never involved with the other), pick AGAINST the school that did so.
  3. In any game where both schools rejected me, both accepted me, or neither school rejected me, use the following tiebreakers:
  • 3.1 Pick against schools in California.
  • 3.2 Pick against Catholic schools in Philadelphia.
  • 3.3 Pick against the team that is furthest away from Oriole Park at Camden Yards according to google maps.

(Note that these are to be applied in this order, so if there were a tiebreaker between UCLA and Villanova, I would pick Villanova because UCLA had already been eliminated by 3.1.)

  1. Additional arbitrary tiebreakers may be inserted at any time when I feel strongly about them, e.g. picking FOR Florida schools because my grandmother liked Florida.

You may assume there are stories behind the tiebreakers. No, I will not be telling them.


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