Monday, September 8, 2014

Life's Learning

With the news this summer that the Big 10 is disbanding I thought it would be a good time for reflection.  For the past two high school basketball seasons, Section 2 fans have seen some incredible basketball.  It was also a time for me to try something I've always wanted to do.  I used math in a way that most people can't or don't want to understand, to try to predict who would win sectionals before it happened.  My motivations for doing this began with a dislike for the way the committee chose to seed the teams.  I also get enjoyment from using mathematics to try to figure stuff out.  It's something I've always been pretty good at and keeping stats was something I did growing up playing Stat-O-Matic baseball and then for my high school basketball team.

In the summer and fall of 2012 I watched Nate Silver predict President Obama's reelection with mind boggling precision using regression, something I had studied in college getting my degree in mathematics.  At that time I developed a model for predicting Sectionals.  I made a few tweaks to get things back in line and I fired it up.  I emailed several newspapers and tv channels to see if anyone was interested in posting my blog on their websites.  I got one hit, with the Troy Record.  To them, I am grateful.

The first year I was all in spending way too many hours after my kids went to sleep writing and maintaining the database.  I am very proud of the work I did in the first year.  It is glimmer of what the blog could be given the resources and time.  You may not know this, but they have computer programs that do exactly this.  Since I can't afford one of those, I used five spreadsheets all with more than five sheets apiece.  It's more or less a nightmare to maintain, but I like doing things like that so it works for me.

Year two was a different story.  Chaos struck at work, my hours increased significantly as well as the stress.  I had a death in the family early in 2014 which made things a little more awful.  I went to the emergency room in March myself.  My blood pressure was through the roof.  It was a complete train wreck.  The girls bracket was showing major flaws and I just didn't have the time or energy to do anything about it.  To those of you who read it, I apologize for not providing my very best.  About a week before the brackets were going to be released, my best time of year for page views, I was dropped from the Record.  It was disappointing, as was the entire season.

The bottom line of all of this is that I can't guarantee I can provide the time and quality it takes to make the blog successful.  I have attempted to get additional writers, and resources to continue but have been unable to.  My only hope is that someone took some inspiration from it and realized their love of math like I did so many years ago. 

I'll keep up as much as I can with the database of games just in case something changes down the road, but for now, this will be my last post.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at  Thanks for reading.

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