Mr. Stevens creates March Madness database

Using+his+database+for+sports%2C+Mr.+Steven%27s+has+found+ways+to+tweak+his+database.
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Mr. Stevens creates March Madness database

Using his database for sports, Mr. Steven's has found ways to tweak his database.

Using his database for sports, Mr. Steven's has found ways to tweak his database.

Alice Petty

Using his database for sports, Mr. Steven's has found ways to tweak his database.

Alice Petty

Alice Petty

Using his database for sports, Mr. Steven's has found ways to tweak his database.

Blake Mesenburg, Staff Writer

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From eight until three, Monday through Friday, Mr. Tanner  Stevens is focused on teaching his students about physics. Outside the classroom, Stevens has developed a new and unique hobby. His love of Minnesota sports led him years ago to develop databases for March Madness and high school sports statistics. His passion for making databases led him to learn more and enhance the details of his databases to be more accurate.

As a devoted Minnesota Sports fan, Stevens loves to keep up with his local teams and see how they perform each season. “I got roped into a website called FiveThirtyEight. It is a sports analysis/prediction website where I can look at the data to see how the teams will do and who is predicted to win,” Stevens said. 

After using the website FiveThirtyEight, Stevens became interested in making his own database and decided that he would enter into a competition for March Madness. The contestants created databases to predict who would win each game if any of the 68 teams played any other team. “I was able to look at other examples of databases online and from there I figured out how to make my own database for March Madness. I have had some pretty good success. A couple of years ago, my database was in the top 10% of the 500 databases in the contest,” Stevens said.

I was able to look at other examples of databases online and from there I figured out how to make my own database for March Madness. I have had some pretty good success. A couple of years ago, my database was in the top 10% of the 500 databases in the contest.”

— Tanner Stevens

After gaining experience in making a database,  Stevens decided he wanted to make a database for something that was not as big as March Madness. With BSM hockey having a very strong season, Minnesota High School Hockey came to mind. “I decided to do high school hockey because in Minnesota, hockey is a popular sport so I was able to find a lot of information from previous years to help make my database. Each team starts with 1500 points. If a team wins a game they take points from the team they beat. They take a certain amount of points depending on how good the team was. Each year my database is about 80% accurate,” Stevens said. 

Stevens had never taken a stats class before and knew little to nothing about making a database. Trying to write code and learn programming language was hard at first. “I tried to figure out coding on excel but it did not work. When I did the March Madness database I took the general framework from an example online to start my database. Once I understood what I was doing, I made my own tweaks to my database and made it more detailed,” Stevens said.

Stevens has brainstormed a few ideas for his next database but has found that doing other high school sports will take a lot more coding than high school hockey. “I have looked into doing a database for girls’ basketball but I am figuring out that it will be more difficult because, in hockey, teams go all around the state to play each other, while in girls basketball they are mainly playing schools that are near them which makes it harder to decide who the best teams are,” Stevens said. 

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