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Hartney’s Class
Sports Science 101
Making a Basketball Bracket Lab Handout


Let us consider the science behind creating a basketball bracket. If we think about it when
you create a March Madness bracket, you are performing the steps of the scientific method.

For example the first step observation could go something like this “Oh it’s March again,
that means its basketball season, basketball season means it’s time for the teams compete.”

The question then is: Which teams will make it to the final four?

The hypothesis in sentence form would obviously be Team ___, ____, ____, & ____ will
make it to the final four, because of _____ reasons. However your more detailed hypothesis
should be in this format:
The Procedure:
Let’s don our Mad Scientists hats for this month of March Madness!!
To demonstrate our understanding of the scientific process we will be creating an
“experiment” using the March Madness template. The goal is to have you look at a lab report and
hypothesis in both a new way and a real-world example. So the assignment is to fill out your
March Madness Bracket, and prepare a lab report in the format below.

Under the left side of the data section answer these questions “What makes this team
better than all the other teams? Why do they deserve a spot in the Final Four?” Please include
statistics, such as the history of the team’s previous wins, or their focus strengths. Make sure to
cite your sources. Liking the team is not a credible reason for this assignment, neither is “I’m
going to wear my lucky socks for all of their games”. Put some research into forming your
bracket. Remember we’re looking at this from a scientist’s perspective, not a fans. The initial
bracket is due before the first game of the season. Then throughout the month of March,
record the actual results of the games in the right side of the data section (Score and winning
team). The finished lab report is due on Friday April 6th, by then you should have all the
information for the season.

In the analysis section after the final game, name three strengths of your bracket, based
on the data you researched not potential luck, and one fault.

In the conclusion section please evaluate your bracket, see where you went wrong.
Include how many correct predicted wins you have. Consider explaining what you would do
differently if you were going to form the bracket differently. Show me that you learned
something about science through this experiment.

I am not grading on the accurateness of the bracket, but I would like you to demonstrate
that you put thought into it. As additional motivation I will give 5 extra credit points to the
student with most correct predicted wins and 5 extra credit points to any student who has more
correct predicted wins than me.
Example Lab Report:
Name: Sally Student
Class Section: 01
Question: Which teams will be in the final four in the 2018 Season?
In this section please include your sentence form hypothesis in the format displayed in the
introduction section. Also include a scanned in copy of your March Madness bracket
(additionally you can do your bracket on excel).
 Computer Access
 Printed blank bracket, or excel sheet
 Pen or keyboard
Why a think Team will make it to the Final Four: Actual results of the Season:
1. Reason One 1. Game Seed:
2. Statistic one a. Winning
3. More data Team/Losing Team
4. What makes this team better than the ones it b. Score:
will compete against?
2. Game Seed:
a. Winning
Team/Losing Team
3. Score:
The strengths of my hypothesis data are:
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____
The main weakness is
1. _____
How reliable did my data prove? What would I do differently, if I did this next season?
Works Cited:
Great Effort Good Effort Poor Effort No Effort Points
Initial Bracket Student completed Student left Student only filled Did not turn in. ___/10
the whole bracket portions of the out the final four
and turned it in on bracket blank. section of the
time Turned it in on bracket.
time. Turned it in on
Hypothesis Student included Student One of the One of the __/10
both written included both hypotheses is hypotheses is
hypothesis and written missing. missing.
copy of his/her hypothesis and Reason is not No reason is
bracket in this copy of his/her credible. giving.
section. Written bracket in this Work is
hypothesis section. incomplete.
includes a Written
credible reason hypothesis
for 1 or more of reason is not
the teams that to from a credible
make it to the source.
Final Four.
Materials Student kept the n/a Deviated from the Student did not ___/10
material format format provided. include the
provided. Or materials section,
changed in
Data Answered the Answered the Did not answer No data __/20
questions fully in questions fully. both questions.
a meaningful Cited 1+ Didn’t have a
manner. credible source. source.
Cited 1+ credible Included score Missing some data
source. and winning for games, or not
Included 1+ and losing team in correct format.
relative statistic of all games in
concerning team. the format
Included score provided.
and winning and
losing team of all
games in the
format provided.
Analysis Listed all three Listed all three One of strengths Most of the work __/10
strengths and one strengths and or weakness is is missing.
weakness. one weakness. missing. No evaluation of
Clearly Demonstrates Very little bracket.
demonstrated that some evaluation evaluation of
of bracket. bracket.
they evaluated
their bracket.
Conclusion: Put great thought Put good Puts little thought Only includes # of __/20
into evaluating thought into into evaluating correct
experiment. evaluating experiment. predictions.
Addressed all the experiment. Addresses few of Doesn’t evaluate
questions. Addressed most the questions. experiment.
Clearly evaluated of the questions. No clear sign of
the experiment. Evaluated the evaluation.
Included the experiment. Includes # of
number of correct Includes # of correct
predictions. correct predictions.
Works Cited Complete and Incomplete No sources used or No sources __/10
accurate. Credible not credible. consulted, or
Credible source cited
without a
Participation Turned in on time n/a n/a Did not turn in __/10

Total points __/100