This year, I am participating in two pools. Unfortunately, I know nothing about college basketball. This year I discovered the CBS sports "autofill" feature, and have departed from my usual system: "any school that has been attended by a close friend or relative, is located in a city where I have lived, or has a bulldog as a mascot, advances."
I was going to use the autofill to try two different "market" strategies: historical (weighted average of the winner of previous match-ups) vs. "the wisdom of crowds" (the team most often picked by other people advances). Unfortunately, "the wisdom of crowds" looked a lot like "the wisdom of seeds"--perhaps unsurprisingly, the higher-seeded team advanced every time.
So I kept the first but added a little "bulldog factor" to the second bracket, and made Syracuse advance farther than it ought to have because both my parents went there and the basketball team is coached by a distant cousin. Essentially, this is the basketball equivalent of a mediocre actively managed mutual fund--I am a herd animal, but I'm, like, a custom herd animal. Unfortunately, I somehow failed to save my meddling with the final four, so both brackets feature Duke facing off against Kansas.
I expect both brackets will do very badly--just as trading strategies based on mindless historical extrapolation, or actively managed large cap funds, tend to do very badly. But it will be interesting to see which does worse.
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is a columnist at Bloomberg View
and a former senior editor at The Atlantic.
Her new book is The Up Side of Down