Every year the college basketball tournament is one of the top most watched events. There are pools in offices, online, and pretty much every where else. This tournament is to win and move on or lose and go home. The odds of the higher seeds are very slim compared to the odds and probability of the lower seeds of winning the national title. This activity I want everyone to fill out their own bracket. You are to fill in each round and figure out who your final four will be. I want everyone also to figure out the odds and probability of the teams that you decide to choose to reach the final four and their probability to advance to the national championship game and to win it as well. Beware of those cinderella teams!


The Task:

The Task

To come up with that winning bracket, you need to have an understanding of things that could happen such as upsets because of matchup problems and also the odds of a team winning against another. For example, since this tournament has been around, in the first round #1 seeds vs #16 seeds, #1 seeds have never lost to #16 seeds. Their combine record is 100-0. So a safe bet is never to pick a 16 seed to beat a 1 seed. The chance is highly unlikely. The task is to figure out depending on the odds and probability of each matchup to come up with your own final four and national champion. Over the course of the tournament we will see who picked the right teams and who used the odds and who went against them. I want you to label next to each team their odds/probability against the team that they are playing to advance to the next round. Good Luck!

The Process:

The Process

1. First split up into groups of 4. Each person will break down their own Region in the bracket.
2. Once you've decided and appointed a person to each region. Each person is to break down their own region in their group by choosing winners of each matchup continuing through the region. Your winners should be based on the probability/odds of the different matchups as well as to include upsets in you may choose. Let me caution you to those pesky cinderella teams that find themselves sometimes beating the lower seeds.
3. When your finished question 2, the last thing you will do as a group will be to put together a presentation of each of the four regions of your bracket and will be presented to class. For example you may do a powerpoint presentation or even use a poster board to present your bracket. If you use powerpoint, you will need to notify me what day you will need the laptop and projector to be ready. Note that the presentation is required to be 10-15 min long presented in front of your classmates.

4. Along with the presentation part of this assignment, you will be submitting two different papers individually (not as a group). One will be a paper on your findings. All the information you need to complete this is in the rubric below. The next paper you will be submitting is a Reflection Paper. You will need to answer the following questions in your Reflection Paper: What did you learn about the history of March Madness? What did you learn about analyzing data? What mathematics is involved in predicting a tournament champion? How well did your group work together? What technology did you use to create your presentation? You will need to write your answers in paragraph form. Do NOT create a list of answers. Any other questions that you may have, feel free to come talk to me anytime. Have Fun!

- Here are two websites that can help you while working on this project. (Remember these are only some websites; there are others!):




Presentationonly one student spoke; sloppy presentation; information missing2 or less students spoke; ok presentation; information missing3 or more students spoke; neat presentationall students need to talk; neat presentation; includes some history and a majority of the data collected
Paper on Findingsnot required length; didn't give a chose of team; insuffient explaination for choice; missing information about findings; includes someone elses findingnot required length; fair explaination for choice; missing information about findingsgood explaination for choice; missing information about findings3-4 pages; includes all the student's individual findings; brief history; who you chose to win; excellent explaination of why you chose them
Reflection Papernot required length; 2 or less questions answerednot required length; 3 questions answered4 questions answered1 page; answer to questions all 5 posed questions
Stated Objective or Performance    




This project's purpose was to teach you and show you a fun way to learn about probability and odds. By using the college basketball tournament, it interests you more and makes it a fun way to complete a project about a lesson we are currently learning. As you see in this project, probability and odds are used in everyday life, not just in the classroom.

Credits & References:

Credits and References



A. Compare odds and probability.

C. Draw and justify a conclusion
regarding the validity of a probability
or statistical argument.


1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:

b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

d. process data and report results.

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