This time, MIT picks its Putnam team suboptimally and gets crushed by Harvard.

In fact, Duke even managed to sneak in ahead of MIT. God, I hate Duke. (Not really, in case anybody from the Duke math department who might want to hire me in the future is reading -- just the basketball and Putnam teams.)


I was gonna post a retort to your jab at Duke, until I looked at the results. Duke placed one person in the third tier, MIT places 7 in the top two tiers, but Duke's team still beats MITs? Fascinating.

By the way, I contacted the Duke math department and told them never to hire you. Since I got a minor in math there six years ago, I still wield a lot of influence in the department.

For the uninitiated, scoring for the Putnam is done cross-country style -- take the three team members and add up their rankings. So one guy who bottoms out (as happened with MIT) can really sink a team.

The other anomaly is that the three team members have to be chosen before the exam is given. So this leads to things like a freshman Lenny Ng being left off the Harvard team a while ago (many schools just take the top three returners), and other team members bombing because they spent all semester on their thesis, got drunk the night before, etc.

One interesting thing with the results is how heavily skewed they are in favor of the top schools. Basically, the top six or so schools shut out almost everyone else.

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