Monday, April 17, 2023

Legion March Madness: One Shining Moment

Here is the final bracket of the 2023 Legion #MarchMadness 65th Anniversary Tournament, in which Brainiac 5 beat out Saturn Girl in a match-up of #2 seeds over the course of 67 Twitter polls. (Click to embiggen and clarify)


I ended up changing the format of the chart slightly as the tournament progressed, to make it easier to fit onto the screen. And note that some of the Twitter poll numbers might be a couple off from what's shown above, that's because we had some non-Twitter voters submitting their votes via Facebook.

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Legion March Madness: Who's the 65th Anniversary Tournament Champion?

After more than 15 months of voting, here's the final bracket and champion for the 65th Anniversary Tournament. It's Brainiac 5 for the win over Saturn Girl, 62-50!

  • Biggest upset: #2 Mordru losing in the 2nd round to #10 XS. Yes, #2 Computo lost to #10 Cosmic Boy, which is the same level of upset, but it doesn't feel like an upset.
  • Biggest non-surprises: Six of the Elite 8 were either #1 or #2
  • Cinderella story: #10 XS making it to the Elite 8, beating #7 Shikari, #2 Mordru, and #3 Tyroc in the process, before falling to overall #1 Timber Wolf to get to the Final Four
  • Most votes cast: 112 votes cast in the finale between Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl; 90 votes in the Sweet 16 down to Elite 8 round, featuring #1 Princess Projectra vs #5 Gates
  • Fewest votes cast in the regular tournament (not counting the First Four games): 55 votes, in the match where #4 Kid Quantum II defeated #5 Booster Gold going into the Sweet 16
  • Biggest margin of victory: #2 Brainiac 5 vs #7 Eltro Gand leading into the Sweet 16 round, by a score of 58-0
  • Smallest margin of victory: #3 Ultra Boy vs #6 Wildfire, which ended in a 30-30 tie in the first round and which Ultra Boy won in the "overtime" 38-36, giving one point to the winner. So Ultra Boy officially won that one 31-30.

Brainiac 5 eliminates Saturn Girl in the 65th Anniversary Tournament

When I started this project in January 2022, I hadn't decided what I was going to do with the weekly results yet, but then I did the math and realized that with 65 years of history, that was pretty close to the 68 teams in the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. Plus, the 65 years (weeks) would end in March, so I could take the data and build my own bracket, with some wildcards chosen in a manner to be determined.

When it was all over, I ended up with 559 choices leading to 59 weekly winners. I added 3 more categories: people from the L.E.G.I.O.N./R.E.B.E.L.S. series I had left off, people from the various teams the Legion had met plus people I had forgotten to include, and then high vote-getters who didn't win their bracket. That made 68 representatives out of a total of 707 choices. It was a lot of work going through the various online databases to see who first appeared when, and if I left someone off, well I'll get to them for the 100th anniversary.

It was a lot of work to put together over the last 15 months, I hope you had fun voting along the way. Thanks for playing along!

Stay tuned for what I have next time, but it'll be a while.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Legion March Madness: Who will win the Tournament?

You know the rules!

After 14 months of voting on "conference" winners and then 3 weeks of voting tournament style, here we are at the finale. Who's going to win: Brainiac 5 or Saturn Girl?

Click the Twitter poll to vote - note that the way Twitter embeds its polls now, it will open up a new tab for you to actually cast your vote. You'll have two days to vote, the poll will close on Sunday night and the winner will be the 65th Anniversary Tournament Champion.

Poll 67: Ventura:

Who's your winner pick?

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Legion March Madness: Semi-finals

You know the rules!

We're now in the semi-finals, which two are going to the final Championship round?

Click the Twitter poll to vote - note that the way Twitter embeds its polls now, it will open up a new tab for you to actually cast your vote. You'll have two days to vote, the poll will close on Friday night and the winner will move on.

Poll 65: Ventura:

Poll 66: Ventura:

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Legion March Madness: Who's in the Final Four?

After 2 weeks of voting, here's your Final Four! Matches starting Wednesday March 29 and ending Friday March 31: 

  • #1 Timber Wolf vs #2 Brainiac 5
    • To get here, Timber Wolf beat #17 King Jonn of Pasnic, #8 Zymyr, #5 Kono, and #10 XS
    • To get here, Brainiac 5 beat #15 Superboy (Jon Kent), #7 Eltro Gand, #3 Ultra Boy, and #1 Princess Projectra
  • #1 Element Lad vs #2 Saturn Girl
    • To get here, Element Lad beat #16 Sodam Yat, #9 Invisible Kid II, #5 Blok, and #10 Cosmic Boy
    • To get here, Saturn Girl beat #15 Wildstar, #10 Matter-Eater Lad, #6 Dawnstar, and #1 Chameleon Boy
The winners will then match up starting Friday, with the voting to be concluded on Sunday April 2. (Yes, the real basketball tournament games are on Saturday and Monday, but I'm moving that up a day so that we can talk about the results on the podcast which records on Sunday night.)

  • Who's your winner pick? My prediction is Saturn Girl defeating Timber Wolf for the Championship.

Now, for some behind the scenes stuff that you can skip if you don't feel like reading about how the voting was conducted.

As I've mentioned, I co-host the Legion of Substitute Podcasters show (website, podcast home) which comes out every Monday morning. In late 2021, I came up with the idea of doing a poll for every year of the Legion's existence, but it was a few weeks until it occurred to me that the actual anniversary date fell really close to the March Madness tournament, and the 65 years would lead to 65 rounds of polling which was pretty darn close to the 68 entrants the NCAA tournament holds. So that was my goal, and each week I presented a new poll to the members of the LoSP Facebook group, and they are the ones who voted. I took those numbers and put them into a spreadsheet for seeding into the brackets. Ultimately, my plan was to put the bracket out on Twitter for anyone to vote.

I've been asked how I did the seeding. It took a few weeks to tweak it how I wanted, but it included elements that allowed me to simulate (sort of) how the NCAA college basketball tournament works. Some conferences get to automatically send their winner to the tournament, and there are a number of at-large slots reserved for stronger teams that didn't win their conference as well as for winners of smaller conferences. For this tournament, each year of voting ("the class of 1962") was like a conference tourney with an automatic bid for the winner, and I reserved some spots at the end for wild cards. I came up with a formula to rank everyone based on these four elements:

  1. How many votes did that person (or place or thing) get in their round?
  2. How many total votes were cast in that round?
  3. A flat bonus for winning the round, as I wanted the winner to stand out over non-winners, but not so much of a bonus that all winners were above all non-winners.
  4. How does the number of votes in that round compare to the votes in all of the other rounds? I used this as a "strength of schedule" analog.
My formula for calculating everyone's score: Points = (votes cast for that person + total votes in the round + bonus) * square root of (strength of schedule). Yes, I understand that I'm double-counting the number of votes cast for the person, but I felt that you should be rewarded for both separately. 

Here's how 1958 came out, for example:
Saturn Girl got 19 of 54 votes, thus making her the winner, so the first part of the formula comes up with (19 + 54 + 150). The 54 votes cast for the 1958 class was the 6th best, so it came out to a rank of 58/64, pretty good. This was enough to give Saturn Girl the overall #7, which meant a #2 seed in her bracket.

For another example, here's 2022:
The Golden Age Legionnaire got nearly the same number of individual votes as Saturn Girl, but there were far fewer votes cast for the class of 2022 overall, meaning their strength of schedule was lower, giving the winner a lower point total and a lower ranking.

Here's the lowest ranking out of all 68 entrants:
Their winner rank of 362 is by far the lowest (next is the Promethean Giants from 2013 at #276) of the 68 teams, so they ended up with a #17 seed. But as a weekly winner, they get an automatic berth; my #16s and #17 got to play in the First Four, for the right to lose to the #1 seed in that bracket.

I ended up with 59 weekly winners for the 65 years that the Legion has been around (I had to merge some years due to too few new characters). That left me with 9 open slots, which I used for:
  • 2 slots for 22 members of the L.E.G.I.O.N. or R.E.B.E.L.S. books who I neglected to add
    • That's how the Omega Men and Wildstar got in
  • 3 slots for the 104 "Oops, I forgot to include them", including those who were part of Mon-El's JLA or Starman's JSA; members of the various versions of the JLA, JSA, and Titans that the Legion teamed up with over the years; and anyone I just forgot to include earlier
    • That's how Anti-Lad, Mary Marvel, and Flash (Wally West) got in
  • 4 slots for the 22 wildcard second chances, anyone who got 10 or more votes in an earlier round but did not win their round
    • That's how Dream Girl, Ambush Bug, Cosmic Boy, and Matter-Eater Lad got in despite not winning their initial round
The good news is that if I ever decide to do this again, I've got the templates all worked out already! But not next year, since I would have had to have started back in January to get all those weekly votes using some other criteria. Maybe an "oops, all villains" tournament? Or maybe take the top 3 vote-getters instead of just the top 1. Hmmm...

Friday, March 24, 2023

Legion March Madness: Final Four, part 2

You know the rules! Here's part 4 of week 2, it's the Elite 8 down to the Final Four (Sunday games). Today we do the bottom half of the Final Four bracket, who will represent the Aleph and Planet Gotham regionals?

Click the Twitter poll to vote - note that the way Twitter embeds its polls now, it will open up a new tab for you to actually cast your vote. You'll have two days to vote, the poll will close on Sunday night and the winner will move on.

Poll 63: Aleph bracket (grapefruit)

Poll 64: Planet Gotham bracket (blue)

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Legion March Madness: Final Four, part 1

You know the rules! Here's part 3 of week 2, it's the Elite 8 down to the Final Four (Saturday games). We're working on the top half of the bracket today.

Click the Twitter poll to vote - note that the way Twitter embeds its polls now, it will open up a new tab for you to actually cast your vote. You'll have two days to vote, the poll will close on Saturday night and the winner will move on.

Poll 61: New Earth bracket (yellow)
Poll 62: Amazon Galaxy bracket (green)