Happy to announce that I’ll be hosting a Bracket Challenge for both the Men’s and Women’s tournament on LacrosseReference PRO.
To my knowledge, this will be the first bracket challenge hosted for the men’s tournament in several years. It looks like IL sponsored one for a while, but nothing more recent than 2017. Honestly, I was sort of shocked that A) there isn’t already a Bracket Challenge running for NCAA lacrosse and B) that I didn’t think of creating one until 10 days ago.
But I’m especially proud that, to my knowledge, this will be the first ever Bracket Challenge on the women’s side. It took me a while to figure out how to code up a bracket with 3 byes and 13 first round games, but I (hopefully) managed it.
Eyes on the Prize
Brackets are fun and I’m glad that lacrosse will have some bracket-picking going on this year. If you follow the sport, the extra skin-in-the-game makes watching the matchups a bit more entertaining.
But I thought I could provide a little extra incentive too. So the top scoring brackets in both the Men’s and Women’s tournament will receive a free year’s subscription to the LacrosseReference PRO fan product. (If there are ties, I’ll give out at most 6 subscriptions via a lottery.)
Here’s the plan…
The site is open now for registration and for creating groups. If you would like, you can organize a group of friends to compete against. If you just want to fill out a bracket and compete against everyone, that’s totally fine too.
I believe both Selection Shows are on Sunday, and once the brackets are out and I’ve got them entered, you’ll be able to get in and submit picks. Don’t forget to click SAVE!!!
Picks will be open through the start of the first games in each tournament. After that, no changes will be allowed.
My philosophy when it comes to brackets is that overall accuracy is more important that picking the champion. So the scoring is set up so that it’s very possible to miss on the eventual champion and still win overall, assuming you did very well in the earlier rounds.
Of course, in a year like this, the field is so hard to predict, in both tournaments, because the B1G didn’t play out of conference. It certainly looks like UNC on the women’s side is the team to beat, but we realistically have very little clue about how good Northwestern is.
For the men, the question is probably whether a team outside MD/ACC can bring home the hardware. The fact that those 2 conferences get so much TV exposure probably means that there are some undervalued teams elsewhere.
A LacrosseReference flavored bracket
I said that I’m just taking a popular concept and applying it to lacrosse. And this is generally true.
But I’m also going to try and add some LacrosseReference spice to the bracket experience you are used to from college basketball. We’ll see how many of these features I actually get around to implementing, but I’m thinking about a few things.
First of all, I want to try and use my simulations to assign a percent win probability to each bracket that part of a group. In theory, since I simulate the tournament, I could sum up your theoretical score and see how many times it comes out on top.
Another fun feature is scoring brackets for value. The Elo ratings give us a sense of how likely each team is to appear in each slot in the bracket. You would expect most picks to generally follow that same distribution. But I’m sure that there will be places where a team is undervalued in the picks. If you pick an undervalued team, it would be fun to rate your bracket more highly.
In some respects, this is a better way to test knowledge of the sport than who actually comes out first when the tournaments are all finished.
Get to picking
I’m excited to fill out a bracket for both tournaments. Hope you’ll join me.