David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Beware the Ides of March Madness

 March 15, 2011:   Beware the Ides of March Madness

As 68 teams begin the battle that is the NCAA tournament, academics love to project how the championship would play out if the determining factor was something besides the student-athletes.  Th
ese games of "What If" can be based upon the academic success of the athletes:  See Inside Higher Ed: Butler national champion.  Or, they may be based upon the more whimsical, as requested by The Chronicle of Higher Education in their "Tweed Madness."  (I have to love the one based upon the mascots.  The Mountaineer has a gun, which puts WVU in good stead against everyone but perhaps UNLV.  Either way, one of us shoots the freaking Leprechaun.)

Since the only thing that really matters is how much more attention and interest is gained by each institution, I offer up "Google Gala," where victory is claimed by the higher number of Google Results whenever one searches for the institution.  In the interest of true scholarly methodology, each school was searched by their full name with quotation marks around the whole name.  No distinction was made about the source of each result (are you kidding me? I don't have that much time to waste.).  I figured this had to help Ohio State, with all the recent postings about its football scandal; surprisingly, it didn't seem to help much.

The full results are here:  Google Gala Final Brackets.

Not many upsets in the Google Gala. Boston shocks the world by beating Kansas, a #1 seed. Princeton destroys Kentucky in the first round and cruises all the way to the Final Four, where it gets spanked by Michigan.  Missouri and Penn State are bracket breakers in the West regional.

Not many buzzer beaters either (schools whose Google results were within 500,000 of each other; if that number seems peculiarly large to represent a close contest, recognize that 37 of the institutions had over 2,000,000 hits, with 21 institutions having over 5,000,000 hits.).  BYU and St. John's play a second-round game that would be the equivalent of a two-overtime buzzer-beater game (BYU has only 50,000 more results than St. John's).

In the end, the Final Four would be represented by surprising Princeton, and 3 Big Ten schools--Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.  National semi-finals are yawners, but a Michigan and Wisconsin final basically shut down the internet with their combined 65,700,000 results.  Michigan prevails and I wonder why the hell I did this.  All this time spent just to give the Maize and Blue one more reason to be cocky.