Even though the really important Final Four has already been decided, the Division 1 NCAA basketball championship starts this week, which means it’s time to fill out your championship brackets. And so, as usual, I present the guaranteed-can’t-miss-sure-thing method of picking the winner based on the rankings of Ph.D. programs in physics (excerpt displayed; click for the full bracket):


OK, maybe there are a few bugs yet to be worked out with this method…


  1. #1 Joseph Smidt
    March 14, 2011

    Just glad to see BYU makes it to the sweet 16. :)

  2. #2 Dave Smith
    March 14, 2011

    Any system that pits a 13 seeded team against a 15 in the final match-up is clearly a keeper.

  3. #3 Sean Carroll
    March 14, 2011

    Tough early-round matchups for Texas, Syracuse, Ohio State. The committee that did the seedings obviously has a lot to answer for.

  4. #4 CCPhysicist
    March 14, 2011

    What ranking are you using? The long-awaited new “ranking” didn’t assign actual numerical ranks to schools.

  5. #5 katydid13
    March 14, 2011

    Having grown up in Louisville, my first reaction to this was “wow, who does U of L beat in physics,” only to see that it was another Morehead State, another KY public school which focuses more on undergraduate education.

  6. #6 Junius Ponds
    March 16, 2011

    What would the Final Four be like if Harvard had won that playoff?

    I’ve always been a fan of this annual moment of silliness. I tried to do a version for immunology or microbiology programs, but not enough schools have them. So I did NCAA predictions by total NIH funding. BYU also reaches the Sweet Sixteen, but they’re in a weak region.

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