By Ashley Yeager
If NCAA basketball championships were won with math, Duke would move on to the Final Four.
At least, that’s what Jordan Ellenberg, a University of Wisconsin mathematician, and his friends think.
They didn’t use complex algorithms to make their bracket, but picked their winners based on the quality of each school’s math department.
With that ranking scheme, Harvard would win it all, with Cal second and UCLA and Duke rounding out the Final Four.
“Of course, these judgments are for entertainment only, and were produced by a group, so if you find any of the picks absurdly wrong, those were the ones I didn’t make,” Ellenberg wrote on his blog, where he posted the picks.
Sadly, the bracket isn’t doing so well as March Madness moves forward.
But it is a fun way to learn more about the math departments around the country and how well their quality does, or does not, correlate with the quality of the schools’ basketball teams.
Special thanks to Duke mathematician Jonathan Mattingly for pointing the bracket out to us.