Flipping Coins and Flipping Dreams


Clark English, Social Media Manager

It’s that time of year again where you get that text saying “Hey come make your bracket” and you actually have no idea what a basketball is. There are a number of strategies that can go into filling out your bracket; favorite colors, places you’ve been, actually looking at the seasonal stats and making educated guesses based on the given information. Let me tell you though, that kind of reasoning never works. So you’re sitting there asking yourself “How do I not make a complete embarrassment of myself and stay out of the last place?”

Flip a coin. It’s statistically the soundest way of getting a good bracket. The first rule of statistics is that you can never win picking the same teams as everybody else. You can tie, sure, but if you just Google and copy a bracket then you’re just an awful human being. The end game isn’t to have a perfect bracket because those odds are placed at one in nine quintillions. You’re more likely to win the lottery and then get struck by twice lightning all in the same day rather than create a perfect bracket, I don’t have a source for those odds but just take my word for it.

In the Journal of Gambling Studies, a study involving march madness brackets was done. A coin flipped bracket was paired up against a high number of well researched and “professionally” picked brackets as well as some casually picked brackets. The coin flip brackets each year ended up coming out slightly ahead of its casual competition and slightly behind the professional ones. So unless you’re friends with a bunch of basketball-loving statistic majors, just dig around for some loose change and play the odds.