Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Machine Madness Competitors: Brandon Kling

I thought it would be interesting to get a little insight into some of the Machine Madness competitors, and I'm starting off with Brandon Kling.

I frankly expected all the competitors to be data mining/AI geeks, but Brandon is a Commercial Real Estate broker/investor from Bloomfield, Michigan.  He went to Walsh College of Business, a private school in the suburbs about 1 hour north of Detroit, and -- given that Walsh College doesn't seem to field a basketball team -- is a die-hard University of Michigan fan.  He also plays a little basketball and volleyball himself.

This is his first year entering any sort of automated/algorithm based prediction models. He stumbled upon the Machine March Madness pages while looking for the historical best ways to predict the NCAA tournament brackets and got sucked into doing his own completely automated bracket. 

His method was pretty straightforward:

  1. Teams with the higher BPI (Basketball Power Index) advance (unless the difference between seeds playing each other is 3 or less, then see #2)
  2. If difference in seeds is 3 or less (i.e. 10v7 or 2vs3 or 1vs1), then disregard BPI and instead advance the team with the lower OPPONENT AVG PPG
  3. Championship Game points -  (winning score = Championship Game winner's AVG PPG)  (losing score= Championship Game winner's OPPONENT AVG PPG)
In one sense his algorithm was more advanced than mine -- I just randomly filled in the tie-breaker game points!
Sadly, Brandon's in last place in the pool.   However, he's the only competitor with Virginia winning the Championship, so if that happens he'll move up quite a bit.  And of course his beloved Wolverines are still in the Tournament (at least until they play Tennessee :-) so he has that to be happy about!

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