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Mixing Math with Sports Stats

What really are your chances of successfully completing the March Madness bracket? Practically impossible, but are there any tips that can increase your odds?

It's possible, says UNO math professor and statistician Andrew Swift, pictured above.

There are more than 9 quintillion (that's 9 billion billion) different ways to complete a March Madness bracket, so the chance of getting it correct are much smaller than winning the lottery.

However, unlike the lottery, not every combination is equally likely. Thus, identifying which combinations are most likely is certainly an advantage.

By taking the results of all the regular season games and performing some statistical analysis, Dr. Swift has identified which games have the most chance of being upsets, and thus increasing the odds of a successful bracket.

View Dr. Swift's completed bracket, based on his calculations.

Click the play arrow to listen to a March 21 interview Dr. Swift conducted with hosts of "The Big Show with Matt Perrault" on KXSP (590 AM).

go to the show view all go to the show

Seven Days of Service

It was time for mud on the shoes and paint on the hands as volunteers this week participated in UNO's Seven Days of Service. The semi-annual event took several hundred volunteers into the North Omaha community to help such groups as the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity with neighborhood projects. UNO students, staff and faculty were joined by students from Omaha North High School, Millard West and Millard South High Schools and UNO alumni to work at eight different community locales.

UNO Recognized Among America's Best Graduate Schools

Several graduate programs at UNO have again received national recognition in the 2009 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools.

In the Public Affairs rankings, UNO ranked 27th nationally and tied for 15th place among public institutions. Two specialty programs ranked in the top 10. Read more.

"Consider This" to Explore Mental Health Issues

More than 91,000 people suffer from mental illness in Nebraska. Coming up on the next edition of "Consider This," defining mental illness, discussing the causes, finding hope in a new center opening in Omaha and advice on taking the first step toward recovery.

Host Cathy Wyatt will speak with:
- Vicki Maca, division of behavioral health, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services;
- Dr. Roger Pentzien, medical director at the Lasting Hope Recovery Center; and
- Maggie Graham, recovering from mental illness and a peer support specialist.

The program will air tonight, April 10, at 11 p.m. on KYNE-TV and be rebroadcast according to the following schedule:

Nebraska NET1 (statewide)
- Sunday, April 13
11:30 a.m. (CT)

NET2 (NET's cable network)
- Friday, April 11
12:30 p.m. (CT)

- Tuesday, April 8
12:30 p.m. (CT)

"Consider This" is a production of UNO Television. It also airs on the Knowledge Network of Greater Omaha. For a list of days and times, visit the Web at Archived editions of the program are available on the Web at

FFFF to Feature Melissa Berke

This Friday, April 4, KVNO, Classical 90.7's First Friday Faculty Focus series continues with the spotlight on Melissa Berke, chair and coordinator of music education in the UNO College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media Music Department. The segment airs during the 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. newscasts.

The "First Friday Faculty Focus" interview series highlights the many contributions of individual faculty members to UNO and the greater community. Cheril Lee, KVNO news director, conducts the interviews.

For more information about the series, contact Lee at 554.2516.

SAC April Meeting Rescheduled

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) has rescheduled its Tuesday, April 8, meeting for Tuesday, April 15, at 9 a.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Gallery Room.

For more information, contact Midge Chandler, SAC member, at

General Secretary to Present at April 11 India Studies Speaker Series

Prasad Gollanapalli of the Andhra Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandal (Ghandhian Peace Movement) will present "Gandhian Truth and Nonviolence for a Peaceful and Just Society" at the Friday, April 11, India Studies Interest Group Speaker Series. The event runs from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Dodge Room.

Gollanapalli serves as general secretary of Andhra Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandal, India. During his U.S. visit, he is meeting with scholars, institutions and groups to carry on the movement and development work of Mohandas Gandhi.

Refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Shireen Rajaram, sociology, at, 554.3375 or Deepak Khazanchi, College of Information Science and Technology,, 554.2029.

Sociology/Anthropology Brown Bag April 4

Thomas Sanchez, assistant professor of sociology, will present "The Sociology of Everyday Life: Undergraduate Research in the Classroom" Friday, April 4, from noon to 12:45 p.m. in 344 Arts and Sciences Hall. His presentation is part of the Sociology/Anthropology brown-bag series.

For more information, call 554.3374.

Preventing Plagiarism Two-part Brown Bag April 7

In a series of brown-bag meetings, UNO faculty will have an opportunity to discuss plagiarism, a serious and growing problem at universities everywhere. The first meeting in the two-part series is scheduled for Monday, April 7, at noon in the Milo Bail Student Center State Room.

"Of all the challenges a teacher can face, there are few as demoralizing as plagiarism," said Nora Bacon, coordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum. "We design writing assignments in order to create learning opportunities; we want our students to engage in independent investigation, to synthesize what they've learned in class and from outside reading, to take ownership of knowledge. When students plagiarize, they opt out of that learning opportunity, copying somebody else's ideas or language instead of creating their own."

Part I, scheduled for Monday, April 7 at noon in the MBSC State Room (and repeated on Tuesday, April 8 at 12:30 in the MBSC Gallery Room) will focus on:
- What do students learn in composition courses about citing sources and about academic integrity?
- When a student cheats, what steps should the teacher take? and
- How can faculty do to create a campus culture that discourages plagiarism?

Part II is scheduled for Monday, April 21, at noon in the MBSC State Room (and repeated on Tuesday, April 22, at 12:30 in the MBSC Gallery Room). Participants will discuss:
- Strategies for preventing plagiarism;
- Considering teaching strategies; and
- The pros and cons of plagiarism detection software.

Leading the discussion are Dr. Bacon, English; Melissa Cast-Brede of Criss Library; Rita Henry, Student Affairs; Lanyce Keel of Information Technology Services; Dorianne Richards, director of the UNO Writing Center; and Suzanne Sollars, president-elect of the UNO Faculty Senate.

To register for the brown-bag meetings, call the Center for Faculty Development at 554.2427 or write to For more information, contact Dr. Bacon at 554.3318 or

Women's Studies Colloquium Series Continues April 7

Kristen Girten, assistant professor of English, will present "Unsexed Souls: Natural philosophy as transformation in Eliza Ha female spectator" Monday, April 7, at the next Women's Studies Colloquium. Her talk is set for 12:02 to 12:55 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Dodge Gallery Room.

The event, sponsored by the Women's Studies Colloquium Series, is free and open to the UNO community and the public. A light lunch will be provided. Instructors are encouraged to call ahead if classes plan to attend.

For more information, contact Karen Falconer Al-Hindi, director of the Women's Studies Program, at 554.3834.

OLLAS Charla Series Features Alan Potash on Immigration

The Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) at UNO will host a conversation with Alan Potash, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Plains States Region, Wednesday, April 9.

The event, part of the OLLAS Charla Series, is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Council Room. Read more.

Annual Aviation Institute Honors Convocation April 10

The UNO Aviation Institute will hold its annual Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 10, at the William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center. A reception will start the evening at 7 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

The event will honor the outstanding achievements of Aviation Institute faculty and students. Those interested in attending should R.S.V.P. to the Aviation Institute at 554.3424, by Friday, April 4.

SPR Brown Bag Set for "Sources of Support for Developing Research Projects"

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (SPR) will host a brown bag event on Wednesday, April 16, featuring Harmon Maher, interim associate vice chancellor for Research and Creative Activity.

Dr. Maher will speak about "Sources of Support for Developing Research Projects." The brown bag will be held in the Milo Bail Student Center Council Room from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend and bring their lunch. Drinks and dessert will be provided.

UNO Students to Collect Food for Salvation Army

Members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Alpha Xi Delta sorority at UNO are leading the challenge to collect 10,000 canned food items for the Salvation Army Food Pantry and its North Omaha Feeding Program.

No Frills Supermarkets, Tenaska, Two Men and a Truck, and Channel 94.1 FM are sponsoring the fourth annual "Just Can It" food drive. 
The drive runs Monday, April 14, through Friday, April 18. Read more.