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The Champion of the Bracketless Bracket

The NCAA tournament ended with a brick-laden thud in the championship game. But even if Butler had somehow found a way to win (perhaps by making more than 9 field goals), Joel Landas would still have won Gelf's inaugural Bracketless Bracket competition. Besides having both the finalists on his list, Landas had five of the final eight teams, and scored points with 11 of his teams, more than any of the 646 other entries in the tournament.

Landas credited his victory to picking teams with defense, interior size, and the presence of NBA talent. For his overwhelming victory, Landas wins a Gelf T-shirt and a copy of Dave Zirin's book Bad Sports.

Second place went to David Adair, who tells Gelf he picked his teams by going with the ones that were the hottest going into the tournament. That led him to UCONN, Kentucky, and 12-seed Richmond, the latter of which won twice and vaulted Adair above several similar brackets. He gets a copy of Zirin's book for his efforts.

The last T-shirt goes to third place finisher David Burke, the only other competitor to get more than 4,000 points.

How did a selection of our other competitors do? CBSSports's Eric Angevine picked UCONN but ended up in the middle of the pack after choosing Ohio State and Notre Dame as his one- and two-seeds. Basketball Prospectus's Neil Paine finished even farther down the list after choosing Purdue as his three-seed and Texas as his four-seed. Your humble author managed to pick Butler, but otherwise underwhelmed, and didn’t pick up a single point below the eight-seed line.


Bracketless Bracket: The Final Two

After two weeks and 64 games, the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament is down to just four teams. Gelf's Bracketless Bracket field has constricted even further—only two contestants are still competing for the grand prize. The favorite is Joel Landas, who has been dominating the field since the early rounds. (Earlier, Landas told Gelf how he decided which teams to pick.)


The Bracketless Bracket Leader Speaks

All of the NCAA tournament's 6 and 7 seeds have washed out after the first two rounds, as have all the teams seeded 13th and below. That leaves nine of the 16 seed lines still alive in Gelf's Bracketless Bracket tournament, and Joel Landas is the only contestant to have a team still playing in each one. As the current leader, Landas is also the only contestant to have racked up more than 3000 points, and he has a 260-point lead over his closest competition.


Bracketless Bracket Update

Gelf's Bracketless Bracket tournament—the Bill James-designed contest in which readers pick their favorite team from each seed line—has attracted more than 500 entries so far from around the world. The most popular choice overall? Contestants chose seven seed Washington in more than half of the brackets. Basketball Reference's Neil Paine tells Gelf that based on the 10,000-tournament simulation he ran, Washington was the easiest pick. "The Huskies have 1.41 expected wins," Paine writes in an email. "No other 7-seed has more than 0.71 expected wins. The have a 73.7% chance of beating UGA in round 1, and are a great value with a 47.7% chance of beating big-name UNC in round 2."


Meghan McCain and the Painful Death of Journalism

The Daily Beast is indeed a strange animal. Like some kind of editorial haven for sloughed-off media pseudo-personalities, Tina Brown's resurrection project proves you no longer need to know what the hell you're talking about to be published, as long as you stick to populism. Meghan McCain, for example, would like you to know the election killed her libido.


Bacon Gets Internet Famous

We like bacon—it's super tasty (especially the thick strips they serve at Peter Luger's). But apparently there are some people who, well, really like bacon. Chief among them has got to be the guy who is eating nothing but bacon for this entire month (and, yes, he's still at it). He's not alone, though: bacon has exploded onto the web.


Tracking Trends

It's been a long time since John Lennon famously declared on March 4, 1966: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock and roll or Christianity…We're more popular than Jesus now." Long enough that now we have the tools to test its truth.


The Twitter Echo Chamber

Recently, Mike Wilson garnered his 15 million pageviews of internet fame when he chronicled his exit from a burning airplane on the social microblogging site twitter. If there’s anything twitterers love to tweet about its twitter itself, and so Wilson’s act of citizen journalism (because other journalists aren’t citizens?) was replayed and retweeted ad infinitum, creating an echo chamber of self-congratulations. The mainstream press, for its part, was unsure how to react to this development and possible threat. Some highlighted the twitter aspect of the story, some ignored it, and the AP, somehow, did both. Below, Gelf presents our Twitter-style account of the event and the reaction to it in reverse chronological order.


What Britney and Brittney Say about America

Once again, the top search term in America (at least according to the flawed lists compiled by search engines like Yahoo!) is "Britney Spears." What does that tell us about America? Not much that we don't already know. But a new site that mashes up data from the Google search API with information from the US Census is quite revealing.

Gelflog Science
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