UNU Users Improve their Brackets by Thinking Together

After a historically crazy opening weekend to March Madness, UNU Beta testers did to their brackets what most basketball fans did — they tore ’em up and started over. On the Wednesday before the Sweet 16, a determined, fun-loving group of UNU Beta testers came together to see if they could make some sense of March Madness.

Nearly 2 million basketball fans across the globe had the same idea, and everyone entered their predictions into ESPN’s “Second Chance” Tournament challenge, whose motto is “Get it Right this Time.” The difference between those 2 million brackets and the Beta tester’s bracket is, of course, that the Beta testers would be thinking together in UNU to make their predictions.

Because UNU swarms are made up of regular people ( literally, people like you and me ) the question is, “can individuals improve our performance by thinking together?” Previous experiments with the Super Bowl and Oscars have strongly suggested that we can, but to be perfectly honest, March Madness presents a completely new level of challenge.

So, how did the Swarm do? Here are the Beta testers’ predictions.
Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 4.07.34 PM

As you can see, the UNU Beta testers predicted a UNC vs Kansas final. So, they weren’t able to see Villanova’s storybook run to the title coming. But, if you compare the performance of the swarm to the 2 million individual fans who submitted their own brackets to ESPN, you’ll see some remarkable results.

First, the swarm of UNU Beta testers beat 1.7 million of the 2 millions brackets in the ESPN contest . This suggests that 86% of those 2 million sports fans  would have been better off thinking together in UNU.

Second, the swarm of Beta testers predicted a final score of 77-75. If you saw Villanova’s buzzer beater to win the NCAA championship, you know the final score was actually 77-74. So, the UNU swarm not only predicted the winner’s score exactly right, they were within a single point of both the loser’s score and the total. That’s over 99% accuracy on the points scored.  As you can see, the group is able to find consensus in seconds.


UNU is, of course, a lot more than a prediction tool. And, it should be clear that lots of people beat the Beta tester’s bracket. (One guy not only predicted every game correctly, he also got the winning score exactly right. Wow.) But, what we are excited to see is that, even with something as hard to predict as March Madness, people are able to consistently outperform the average user just by thinking together in UNU. 

Want to try UNU?  Great. Swarms are forming to explore topics of all kinds from politics and sports, to movies and music. Just fill out the form below and we’ll send you an invite.