Georgia Tech is such a cool school its sports teams (and student body) have two nicknames instead of just one. No simple Blue Devils or Wildcats for Tech. They go by the Yellow Jackets AND the Ramblin’ Wreck. The latter, wilier sobriquet has been in use since the 1800s, when outstanding engineers from Tech kept their jerry-rigged jalopies (wrecks!) running on African construction projects using pure imagination and junkyard salvage. They’ve even got a song: “I’m a ramblin’ wreck from Georgia Tech–and a hell of an engineer!” These days the elite engineers of Georgia Tech don’t have to pull parts from the trash (though they could, if need be). But they still know how to pick a pearl out of a sea of possibility, especially when it comes to college basketball.
Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial and Systems Engineering has developed a hoops ranking system called the LRMC (Logistics Regression/Markov Chain), which over the last ten years has predicted college basketball results with greater accuracy than any other system. Now its engineers are as sought after in Vegas as in the Serengeti. Professor Joel Sokol leads the LRMC team, which includes professors Paul Kvam and George Nemhauser. And, because it’s basketball, they threw in a New York City guy, Professor Mark Brown of City College, City University of New York. (Good on Professor Brown too; City College’s basketball history is otherwise an inglorious one.) Did you know 25% of NCAA games are upsets? These guys know lots of things like that. They may even know who’s going to win it all. This year the LRMC selects neighboring Florida to emerge as champion. That’s unless some sophomore guard or senior center does something wildly unpredictable. A thing like that could stymie even a hell of an engineer.