99th Percentile Bracket and More Important Things

AP Tony Gutierrez
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

My Tuesday speech asking Senators to pass a resolution stating that states – not judges – should determine their campaign finance laws was pre-empted by a Senator shouting out, “Don’t tell me you had a basketball bracket in the 99th percentile after all these upsets!”

Yes, here is the link to the www.valueaddbasketball.com bracket that is currently 150,000th out of 17.3 million and could still be correct in 12 of the final 15 games.

The Value Add Ratings for all 4,000 players was updated through Tuesday’s NIT games.

This is what sports is supposed to be – an escape to make meaningless decisions on things like which teams to put on a bracket – to give everyone a break from tough decisions like hopefully passing HJR 431 to stop judges from taking another power away from state legislators to regulate things like the $1.5 billion deal in funding for a company on which Hunter Biden sits, after he traveled to China with his father – Joe Biden.

I told the Senator I needed to focus on the more important things in Tuesday’s speech, but promised in good fun to produce a write up on the 99th percentile bracket, so here it is.

The 99th Percentile Bracket – And Competing Methods

Among the possible methods for approaching a bracket, we noted the most important under the header, “March Madness: Top Team Value Adds Adjusted for Injuries, Returning Players (Most Important).” This looked at all key injuries and chose games based on the Value Add of the current roster and then provided two columns with suggested picks:

  1. Overall Value/Upsets went with the higher Value Add and is currently in the 88th percentile, and
  2. “Take Upsets in tight” gave any toss-up games – within a point either way – to the worse seed to account for the “hunter” having an edge over the hunted in the toss-up games.

We plugged each option into an “8 methods” group in the ESPN bracket challenge to provide an independent tracking of where these Value Add-based and competing methods stacked up against the other 17.3 million brackets submitted.

The first column put your bracket in the 89th percentile – with 24 of 32 in the first round and 8 of 16 picks in the second round.

However, the second column is above the 99th percentile with 24 of 32 in the first round but 10 of 16 in the second round for 440 points and another 1120 potential points left due to 12 more potential wins in 15 games culminating with a predicted 76-71 Villanova win over Kentucky in the championship.

We provided these three Value Add-based brackets along with several other methods in a Breitbart piece, and then in the link to that story to adjust for late-breaking injuries before the tournament started, and then plugged the final picks into the ESPN group, where you can see the rankings after future games are completed.

RANK Pudner Value Add R64 R32 Champ PPR TOTAL PCT
1 Upset if lower seed close 240 200 Villanova 1120 440 99.1
2 Hottest Teams 240 180 Villanova 920 420 96.2
3 Experienced PG/SG 230 180 Villanova 840 410 93.2
4 Value Add All-Amer, Top 3 240 160 Villanova 800 400 88.8
4 Value Add/Kenpom/injuries 240 160 Villanova 840 400 88.8
6 Pudner’s MASTER COMPOSITE 210 160 Villanova 800 370 65.7
7 NBA Talent 210 140 Duke 1160 350 43.8
7 Best Coaches Pull Thru 190 160 Villanova 720 350 43.8
9 Mismatch (3pts, OR, Stl) 200 80 Villanova 800 280 8.3

The two competing bracket methods that did not work were based on assuming more experience coaches can overcome a team with a little more Value Add (just below average at 44th percentile) and even worse seeing if a mismatch in one component of the game such as three-pointers, steals or offensive rebounds could lead to upsets (a pathetic 8th percentile). That mismatch also held the Composite down to the 66th percentile.

Relying on the most NBA talent yielded a below average bracket (44th percentile), HOWEVER, it could improve dramatically if it’s prediction of Duke defeating Kentucky in the championship holds true.

The other three adjustments to the bracket based on Value Add after injuries have been very strong, with a tweak for the Hottest teams currently in the 96th percentile, and tweaks for more experiences guards in the 93rd percentile, and finally going with the team with the three best Value Add players in the 89th percentile.

The lesson once again is to rely heavily upon Value Add for your brackets – and while tweaks based on experienced guards or finishing the season strong are fine – adjusting for coaches or style of play will only hurt your bracket or worse yet your favorite conference generally costs you wins. Stick with Value Add.

As for the Value Add bracket that is behind on 150,000 brackets, and ahead of 17.1 million brackets for the 99.1 percentile, here are the 12 wins still possible from the final 15 games.


Kentucky 3 More (vs. Kansas State, Gonzaga-Michigan, then Final 4)

(Did not have Loyola or Nevada)


Gonzaga 1 more (vs. Florida State)

Michigan 2 more (vs. Texas A&M then Gonzaga-FSU)


Villanova 4 more (vs. West Virginia, Texas Tech-Purdue, then 2 in Final Four)

Purdue 1 more (vs. Texas Tech)


Kansas 1 more (vs. Clemson)

(Did not have Duke or Syracuse)



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