Hardball Bracketology: Two brackets for two Americas

Two brackets, two Americas

March 17, 201504:31

There are all sorts of methods for filling out your NCAA tournament bracket, but here’s a new one: What if you picked based solely on the politics of each school?  That’s how we came up with two very different brackets – one for Blue America and one for Red America. 

Here’s how it works.  We took data from Niche.com, which polled 50,000 college students nationwide and ranked schools based on how liberal or conservative they are, and applied it to every contest in the 68-team field.  For each match-up in the Blue Bracket, we penciled in the schools that are ranked more liberal.

So, for instance, in the first-round game featuring Oregon (rated as the 55th most liberal college in the country) and Oklahoma State (ranked 799th), we declared Oregon the winner.  

In the Red Bracket, we did the opposite, penciling whichever school is ranked more conservative. 

So in the Blue Bracket, the team with the lower score -- i.e. the one that is *more* liberal -- wins every game.  And in the Red Bracket, the team with the higher score -- i.e. the one that is *less* liberal -- is deemed the winner. 

By doing this, we produced some truly bizarre results, but also a handy rooting guide for partisans on both sides of the aisle.  The Blue Bracket represents the perfect outcome for lefties, and the Red Bracket represents heaven for the right.