VT students’ NCAA Tournament picks will determine their grade

VT students’ NCAA Tournament picks will determine their grade
(Source: Virginia Tech)

BLACKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The stakes are high in the NCAA Tournament, but one Virginia Tech class going one step further by putting its grades on the line.

Basketball players don’t get Fs when they lose a game, but students in Introduction to Sports Media might, if their brackets get busted.

The idea is that “upsets” aren’t always upsets because analytical data can predict the outcome of some games. So, with that in mind, professor Bill Roth challenged students to study the data and make predictions – for their grade.

The NCAA Tournament is notoriously difficult to predict accurately, but for this exercise, that’s part of the fun.

“Before, I would have been like, ‘Oh, I really like Duke’s uniforms, maybe I’ll pick them to win it,” senior multimedia journalism major Emily Maher said. “But now, this is for a grade, so I have to do my research.”

There are about 100 students in the class and all of their grades depend on each other. Students made individual predictions and the entire class’ predictions were combined into a joint bracket.

Putting loyalties aside, the class predicted a Final Four of Duke, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Choosing rival Virginia as the lone No. 1 seed not to make the Final Four might not have been a difficult decision, but one student just couldn’t let his love for the Hokies go.

Junior multimedia student Jeremy Webb picked No. 4 seed Virginia Tech to win the national championship.

“I feel like everybody in the class is just going with what everybody else picks,” Webb said. “I just like their chemistry and how they’re playing together this year.”

He was an outlier, though. Because when grades are on the line, it might be best to play it safe.

“Sometimes the numbers just don’t lie,” freshman Sarah Smith said.

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