Try the WSJ’s blind bracket
Wall Street Journal sports editor Sam Walker sent out the following to the paper’s staff on Monday:
I’m pleased to announce that our online sports team has built the most brilliant NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket-building application in the fullness of global history. (Really, I’m not kidding.)
The Blindfold Bracket, which is up on the WSJ.com home page today, gives readers something they’ve always desperately needed but couldn’t find anywhere: the ability to fill out a March Madness bracket quickly and intelligently, using the best and most current research, without knowing anything in advance and without falling victim to the No. 1 killer of all brackets: prejudice.
The system, which is our own invention, allows readers to pick the winner of every matchup in every round based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two teams (which are explained side by side on the screen). To insure objectivity, the school names are replaced by random animal names — walruses, bandicoots and mice, to name a few. Once you’ve picked the entire tournament outcome, down to the champion, the animal code names disappear and your actual, unbiased selections are revealed to you.
Last year, a simpler version of the Blindfold Brackets drew millions of hits and a giant wave of feedback from our scientifically minded readers. This year, it’s not only better, faster and more comprehensive, there’s an additional contest function: the overall winner will be given a personalized WSJ hedcut. I’m told this is the first online reader contest we’ve ever done.
This is a fine example of what can happen when the online staff and the print staff climb into the same boat and row together. Adam Thompson and Jovi Juan led the way on this from the beginning and Lakshmi Ketineni and David Biderman provided big assists in the online execution. Rachel Bachman, Darren Everson and Jared Diamond of the sports desk teamed up to write more than 70 team scouting reports. Ben Cohen and Jim Chairusmi provided crucial fact checking and GNY sports editor (and animal savant) Geoff Foster came up with the code names.
If you haven’t tried this thing already, PLEASE DO.
And prepare to dominate your pool…