How a Group of 43 College Basketball Fans Predicted the Top Upsets in March Madness

Every March, sports fans around the country fill out NCAA Tournament brackets with the brightest of hope. And, every March when the dust settles on the first round games, those same fans often find themselves grieving over the wreckage of brackets undone by stunning upsets. Those upsets are what make the tournament so compelling to watch, but trying to predict those unexpected results is one of the most difficult things in all of sports. The teams that meet in the first round are always from different conferences, and often from different parts of the country as well. Thus, the typical means of measuring potential for upset winners – common opponents or even similar competition – often do not apply in these matchups.

This week Unanimous AI invited a group of college basketball fans to identify potential round one upsets in the NCAA Tournament. The participants used the revolutionary new Thinkscapetm platform to discuss which games in each regional had the potential to produce the biggest first round upsets. By using Thinkscape, this large group of 43 fans were able to share ideas and thoughts together through a text-based chat that produced a Conversational Swarm Intelligence (CSI) that identified games in every region that presented a strong possibility of a bracket-busting upset.

East Region

In the East Regional bracket, the group homed in on the game between 5th-seeded San Diego State and 12th-seeded UAB as one to watch. The reasons given within Thinkscape were first and foremost UAB’s aggressively effective offense potentially catching the Aztecs off guard. It was also noted throughout the discussion on this regional that tournament matchups between 12 and 5 seeds typically produce some of the biggest upsets every year, and this particular game fell into that profile. These college hoops fans also thought that the 7th-seeded Washington State Cougars would have a tough time with the 10th-seeded Drake Bulldogs and that matchup presented a potential upset as well.

West Region

In the West, it was once again a 5th seed versus a 12th seed that grabbed the group’s attention. In this case, the teams are favored Saint Mary’s going up against the Antelopes of Grand Canyon University. During the discussion, the ‘Lopes’ experienced, senior-dominated roster and the presence of an elite wing in Tyron Grant-Foster stood out as reasons to suspect that this could be one of the bigger upsets in first round play. The group also felt that the #6 vs #11 matchup between Clemson and New Mexico posed an almost equal threat of an upset in this regional, based on the strength the Lobos showed in winning the Mountain West tournament.

South Region

In the South region, the swarm focused on an impressive, 12th-seeded James Madison team taking on 5th-seeded Wisconsin in the first round. Some of the major reasons the group found consensus that this was a potential upset included the JMU’s current 13-game winning streak heading into March Madness and their gaudy 31-3 record. It was also a major point of discussion that JMU is fifth in the nation in 3-point shooting accuracy, always a boon in the NCAA Tournament. The group of college hoops fans also expressed a great deal of sentiment that 4th-seeded Duke might get all they want from the 13th-seeded Vermont Catamounts. Finally, in this region the swarm was impressed enough with 11th-seeded NC State’s late season form to position them highly as an upset candidate against 6th-seeded Texas Tech.

Midwest Region

In the Midwest, all eyes were on the news that the injury to 4th-seeded Kansas guard Kevin McCullar Jr would prevent the Jayhawks’ best player from competing in the tournament this year. The discussion noted that Kansas has injuries and players playing hurt all over their roster and face a tough, pressing opponent in 13th-seeded Samford.  In addition to noting the strong potential for an upset in that matchup, the group also sees trouble for 6th-seeded South Carolina having to face an 11th-seeded Oregon team that played their way into the tournament with strong end to their season, and may be rounding into their best form of the year.

No set of upset predictions should ever be set in stone, of course. By their very nature, these are unexpected and unpredictable events. But the strength of Thinkscape lies in its ability to bring groups with knowledge and interest together to discuss the potential for future outcomes. And Thinkscape’s power isn’t restricted to fun events like March Madness, either. By using  this revolutionary platform, large groups can carry on discussion of difficult problems by harnessing the power of large language models (LLMs) to interconnect smaller groups engaged in simultaneous conversation. Thinkscape offers the opportunity for businesses and organizations to quickly capture deep insights that are both qualitative and quantitative in nature.