OK, you didn’t win a billion dollars. You’re not alone. Not one person in the Billion Dollars Warren Buffett Quicken Loans Pick All The Winners contest won. So Warren didn’t have to pay out. Finally, something works out for that guy.
I have a feeling that many statisticians and math whizzes entered the contest and lost. They had all kinds of systems, using algorithms and even understanding what algorithms are, they still lost. Why? Because they didn’t feed their machines the right information.
Maybe they should have looked at a different set of statistics.
I’m going to use the “point system” of picking Monday night’s winner of the NCAA championship:
It always seems like the winner’s colors are either red and white or blue and white. So give Wisconsin, Kentucky, and UCONN one point each.
I hate to pick on the Gators, but deduct one point from Florida for having a coach whose son plays on the team. It gets too complicated and unpleasant to watch. (Do the words “Bob Knight” mean anything to you?) While we’re at it, I’m going to deduct another point from Florida for Billy Donovan naming his son Billy Donovan. So far, Florida is at minus-2.
In the recruitment battle, as a demonstration of how far coaches go to get kids to play for their team, I award two points for every player who doesn’t come from the United States. The University of Connecticut wins this one because of the players that it has attracted from Connecticut’s close neighbors, Jamaica, Ghana, and Germany. (Nice try, Wisconsin, but Germantown doesn’t count).
I have to award five points to the coach who is hated more than any other coach every year — John Calipari. They wouldn’t hate him if he were a loser.
As everyone knows, sentimentality is worth 12 to 16 points in big games. It seems that everyone is excited for Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan for finally getting to the Final Four. He teared up after beating Arizona, saying the game was dedicated to his late father, Butch. I’m tempted to deduct points because of people who have names like Bo and Butch, but I can’t let my emotions get in the way of science. Wisconsin gets the sentimentality bonus of five points.
Experience counts. Therefore, the “They’ve Done It Before” points go to Calipari and Donovan. Two each. College coaching is a killer profession, so I have to award Billy Donovan five big points for being the coach who looks like he’s in the best shape. Donovan and Ryan tie for Haircut That Is Only Seen On Coaches, earning their teams three points. UCONN gets one point for having the shortest player in the tournament whose name is Long.
So according to these calculations, UCONN should be cutting down the net Monday night.
Unless, of course, I should have awarded points for having the most players who are 6’8”, having the heaviest player in the Final Four, having the best shooting seven footer, or for a coach having a wife named Ellen.
Enjoy the games.
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from “Sesame Street” to “Family Ties” to “Home Improvement” to “Frasier.” He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his website at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.