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Breaking Down the Optimal Bracket: It's Time to Win Your Office Pool

Will Joel Embiid's injury give Kansas an early tournament exit?

There’s a wholesale store in rural North Carolina that sells hundreds and hundreds of college clothing items, ranging from long-sleeve shirts to gym shorts, to sweatpants to regular old t-shirts. I have family about 45 minutes from the store, and every time I visit, we make a stop. Why? Because, for my wardrobe, there’s nothing better than random college T’s.

Last year, my now fiancée won her office pool. She’s a lot smarter than you and I, but not exactly from a college basketball perspective. How did she win? Well, she chose teams based on whether or not I owned a piece of clothing representing those teams. And she won.

You didn’t have ninth-seeded Wichita State in the Final Four? She did. You didn’t pick Florida Gulf Coast to beat Georgetown? She did. You didn’t have Harvard over New Mexico, and La Salle in the Sweet 16? I’m not even kidding, people – she did.

It’s not a scientific way of winning, and I’m ready to bet (hopefully she’s not reading this) that she’ll finish more towards the bottom quarter percentile this year as opposed to the top. And I’m always willing to bet that our optimized bracket, which actually would have beat hers last year, is going to win out once again.

You can get lucky, and there will always be unforeseen upsets during March Madness. But don’t go into this year’s tournament choosing teams with the best colors, ones with the coolest mascot or the teams represented in your fiancé’s wardrobe.

Go with math.

We’re not guaranteeing a billion dollar perfect bracket. But we’re pretty confident that our optimized one, which you can find here, is going to help you win some cash against your colleague’s this year.

So who do we have winning and why do we think they’ll be victorious? I’ve got it all broken down for you below.

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