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Category ArchiveNCAA Tournament



NCAA Tournament &Technology by Spencer on January 14, 2012

March Madness in January?!?

As I do every year, I work to make my NCAA Tournament website a bit better and more streamlined. This year I wanted to focus on providing a bit more functionality for the users, as well as minor updates to design, changing colors as I also do each year. Basically I had three things I wanted to do this year:

  • Change color scheme
  • Make it so players see and can print their bracket upon submitting it
  • Create a new area where a user can look up their bracket(s) prior to the games starting

I get requests nearly every year for people to see their brackets and in the past, I wasn’t able to provide that and really wanted to this year. Players will still need to contact me if they want to make changes to a bracket, but now they have the tools to see what they need to.

While just doing the above was a major undertaking, as I started working, I ended up doing those things as well as a complete reworking of all of the pages and nearly all of the code. Most of these are behind the scenes but here are some new additions that really advance the site into newer techniques.

  • All PHP. In the past, I have used a Perl script generated by my pool software to insert entries into the database staging area. This year, I completely wrote that functionality into my own PHP.
  • Complete CSS. I replaced nearly all inline style declarations and created solid CSS in two files (one for the pages, and one to specifically define the bracket and location of teams and results).
  • 100% Validation. HTML has changed a lot since I was first introduced to it back in 1995. Now pages have important DOCTYPES that follow particular formatting to ensure that all browsers interpret the pages properly. I updated every page to ensure and check for XHTML validation. I can even have the seal of approval on the site to prove validation.

I am very pleased with how the site is turning out and should only have to make very minor changes when the 2012 version of my pool software comes out. I don’t plan on any more changes/enhancements for this year, but am already trying to think of possible changes for next year (perhaps looking into using AJAX instead of iframes to serve up the pages).

I hope you are all planning on joining this year as well. Details will be sent as the time draws near!

NCAA Tournament by Spencer on April 4, 2006

Tournament Recap

The NCAA Tournament is over.  After a wonderful first two weeks, the Final Four and championship games were all a vast disappointment.  Congratulations to Florida on a strong run through the field.

To follow-up from my previous post regarding the tournament, all of my complaints were valid.  None of the automatic bids from small conferences made it all that deep in the tournament, and Bradley was the only one that made it to the Sweet 16.  Even George Mason, while known by few people, was an at-large birth, proving my point that using only at-large picks can still yield Cinderella stories.

Of course, as always, a team from a large conference (SEC) won it all.  I would like to see a smaller school win it all sometime, of course given that they earned their way into the tournament.

Now I will be void of good basketball (the NBA is a show, not a sport, but that’s for another day if at all) for another 8 months give or take.  What will I do with my time?  I’ll find something.

Catch you all later.  Have a wonderful day!

NCAA Tournament by Spencer on March 16, 2006

Games Start Today

The NCAA Tournament starts today!! I’m so excited (and I just can’t hide it). My pool is huge this year, far exceeding my expectations. I have 60 so far and that could still go up in the next few hours. And to think, I almost didn’t do it this year… p-shaw!

Also, I did get my printer working… for the most part… still can’t use HP’s good scanning software so I’m limited there. I think something is wrong with my Windows installer, but since I’m planning on rebuilding the laptop anyway, I’m not worried anymore.

Have a great day all and enjoy the games. I only wish I could take the day off to watch them (I’m sure my wife would love for me to do that! LOL).

NCAA Tournament by Spencer on March 10, 2006

2006 NCAA Tournament Pool

Well, after getting a number of requests and knowing deep down that I wanted to, I will be running an NCAA Tournament Pool. If you are interested in participating, send me a message and I’ll give you the web address where you can enter your picks and keep track of results. The pool will open Sunday shortly after the brackets are announced and I’ll accept entries until the first game starts on Thursday (the play-in game will have no effect on the pool deadline).

I’m hoping for a fairly large turn-out between my old job, my current job, and maybe a few from here as well.

NCAA Tournament by Spencer on March 9, 2006

March Madness!!

So, most of the major conferences have started their end of year conference tournaments leading up to the release of the brackets on Sunday. Unfortunately, my beloved Purdue Boilermakers won’t be in the Big Dance again this year. Given that, I am still really excited about the tournament as I am every year.

However, this year will be the first in a long time in which I don’t run a tournament pool and probably won’t participate in one (of course that may change once I get in full swing and if I get enough requests I may run one). This will most likely be a one year hiatus.

Something has gotten me thinking though. The original intent of the NCAA Tournament is to determine the best basketball team in the country. For the most part, I think it does a good job of that. One thing I don’t like is this ‘guaranteed’ bid for all of the smaller conferences. Each winner of a conference tournament automatically gets a bid to NCAA Tournament.

This means that about 20 teams or so that have no chance of getting to the final four, let alone win it get into the tournament and it leaves out many good teams from larger conferences to fight it out in the NIT. Why not change the NCAA format to have only at large bids to determine the field of 64 and then all of the smaller conferences that currently get guaranteed time in a tournament that is clearly outside of their league to make up the NIT Tournament? Really, unless your a fan of the 1 seed in a region, do you really want to see Duke beat up on Fairleigh-Dickinson by 60 points?? Sure, F-D can say that they made it to the big dance, but then they feel like the Broncos when they lost to the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Of course, on years when a school from a smaller conference is good enough (so you could still have your Cinderella stories), they’d get their bid for the NCAA; but for all the rest, they’d have a much more competitive chance against other smaller conference winners in the NIT.

It also, by extension, makes the NCAA Tournament much more competitive and harder to predict and would allow for the actual real possibility of a 16 seed upsetting a 1 seed in the first round. Still unlikely, but not impossible as it is now.

The NCAA has become such a politically correct entity that they feel obligated to give spots away to each conference, even when most, if not all, have no chance of really making things exciting in a game, let alone for the whole tournament. I would rather see the 64 best teams over about 40 of the best teams, and 25 that have no business being there.