championship social science

OK, it’s March Madness time. I had no interest whatsoever in college sports before moving to Chapel Hill and quickly becoming a Tar Heel devotee.

My favorite anecdote, Durkheimean as it is: 8:30 in the morning, on the Chapel Hill bus the day after Joseph Forte couldn’t hit the basket, thereby allowing Penn State to knock Carolina out of the tournament. I knew only the littlest bit about basketball, being new to the area. A caricature of a homeless man walked onto the bus – disheveled, smelling of alcohol, unshaven – and sat down in the front. “Man,” he said, “I’m ashamed to be associated with this town.” Everybody knew what he meant….

Although of course nobody beats the ‘Heels, lots of big universities have both good sociology and good athletics. Who else around here follows your teams? (In a week or so I’ll propose a scatterplot NCAA tourney bracket competition – who’s in?)

Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

11 thoughts on “championship social science”

  1. Well, I suppose it’s an empirical question as to whether WVU Sociology is any good, but we should be a 5 or 6 seed somewhere in the tourney and we beat Duke last year. So I’ll play.


  2. i’m in, of course.

    i was in high school in indiana when IU won (1987).
    i was in east lansing when MSU won (2000).
    i was in grad school here when UNC won (2005).

    not following college basketball is kind of foreign to me. i did, after all, grow up where the “hick from french lick” started. i thought about adding it to my cv…”every college i have ever attended has won the NCAA men’s basketball championship. hire me and your bball dreams will come true.” just imagine if i had gotten a job at bucknell…

    my durkheimean moment for today was that every single person in my office was, at exactly 2.04pm, sitting together holding hands and hoping for a tar heel victory. and after it happened, one person commented, “i don’t even understand basketball…but we just WON!”


  3. I’m in, but only if we get to have a drawn-out, methodologically intensive discussion about how to best determine whose bracket actually won.


  4. Andrew

    We can set-up brackets on Facebook, or any number of other sites. We can play “last person standing,” compare the performance of our individual brackets against the seeding, or reset at the end of every weekend in the tournament.

    There is literature on picking brackets, and I think it shows that it’s hard to improve on the initial seeding/ people who profess expertise in this may be fooling themselves.

    Still, it’s fun!


  5. I’m a lifelong Kentucky fan, although I didn’t go there. I started following Kent State once I took the job here. And I dig Xavier, too.

    Pitt wins the title this year.


  6. Just set up a scatterplot bracket at CBS Sports. Send me a note if you’d like an invite.


    Maybe one of the *contributors* can offer some sort of special recognition to the winner?


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