Post Academic

The geek’s version of March Madness, West Region

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on March 18, 2010
Tags: ,

On to the West regional, which should be of no small interest to some of our readers and one of the co-editors of Post Academic.  Again, here are the groundrules and methodology for our geek’s version of March Madness.  (For more of the intro, go here.)

1. Graduation Rates + Academic Progress Rate: Here are some interesting figures cited from this poll conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

2. Academic Reputation: This is a wholly subjective measure, but we do tend to know which schools are the nerdier ones.

3. Basketball Reputation: Just so it’s not a total geekfest, actual basketball seeding comes into play as a tie-breaker when needed.  Interestingly enough, some of the better basketball schools are also doing well with the statistical measures too.

West Bracket — Winner: BYU

Summary: Okay, I have to apologize to my co-contributor about this one, since BYU just edges out Vandy in the West bracket.  By our geek standards, the Elite Eight matchup between these schools is one of the best, but BYU is just too strong in the measurable data.  In fact, BYU might have the best academic team in the tourney: 991 Academic Progress Rate (APR)/100% grad rate (GSR).  Vanderbilt is no slouch, either, at 975 APR/85% GSR, not bad for a SEC school–and crushes in-state rival Tennessee in the bargain, so there’s that.

There’s nothing so flagrantly bad, academically speaking, in this region as in the Midwest.  Most of the big schools with strong athletic programs do pretty well, though not exactly great either–and a few like Florida State and Kansas State have spotty histories with NCAA infractions:

Syracuse: 932 APR/55% GSR

Pitt: 965 APR/75% GSR

U Florida: 950 APR/60% GSR

Florida State: 933 APR/80% GSR

Kansas State: 900 APR/62% GSR

U Minnesota: 930 APR/44% GSR

It’s also interesting, from a basketball standpoint, how many of yesteryear’s “mid-major” darlings are in this bracket.  They fare pretty well academically too:

Gonzaga: 975 APR/78% GSR

Butler: 964 APR/90% GSR

Xavier: 976 APR/89% GSR

Up next, the East regional…

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