Artificial Intelligence Predicts the Fate of all 16 Bubble Teams Perfectly 


The 2017 NCAA March Madness doesn’t tip off for a few days but Unanimous A.I. is already making waves as the best bracketologist on the block. Late last week, as the “who’s in and who’s out?” discussion heated up around the country, researchers at Unanimous gathered a group of 35 enthusiastic college basketball fans and amplified their intelligence using their Swarm A.I. technology.  By combining the raw knowledge of fans with the power of A.I., the Swarm A.I. system predicted which eight of the sixteen bubble teams would be dancing in March, and which would be out of the tournament. How did those predictions pan out?

In a word, they were perfect. 

The sixteen bubble teams under consideration were identified by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi and the swarm’s picks were posted to SB Nation on Friday. The teams were ranked in their likelihood of making the tournament using the same methodology that allowed the Swarm A.I. to accurately predict the Kentucky Derby Superfecta. Here is what that process looks like in action, as the group accurately predicts that Iowa is less likely to make the tournament than Rhode Island, Wake Forest, Providence, Vanderbilt and Kansas State. And, of course, that’s exactly what just happened on Selection Sunday.

This process was designed to identify the eight teams out of sixteen that would make the tournament, and which eight would not. The swarm of regular fans did that perfectly, correctly labeling all 16 teams as in or out. In contrast, at the time the swarm made its prediction, Joe Lunard had only identified 12 out of 16, and the experts at FiveThirtyEight was right on just 7 out of its 9 picks.

This is just the latest example of a group of average fans using Swarm A.I. technology to outperform the experts. Here again is the swarm’s list of ranked bubble teams.

And, in contrast, here on the left are Joe Lunardi’s list and FiveThirtyEight’s projected likelihoods on the right. As you can see, Lunardi lists both Syracuse and Illinois State as making the tournament on Thursday, after both of them had played their final games of the regular season. FiveThirtyEight’s top team, Wake Forest, will be playing in the play-in round on Tuesday, and their fourth most confident prediction, Illinois State, missed the tournament completely.

As you can see, Lunardi was very confident that Syracuse would be dancing ( and on the cusp of receiving a bye ) while Illinois State would also make the cut. In fact, Lunardi doubled-down on his support of Syracuse in a tweet after their final game, and FiveThirtyEight gave Illinois State an 85% chance of making the tournament.

In contrast, the Swarm A.I. was confident neither Syracuse nor Illinois State would make the tournament, and wasn’t convinced either team was even particularly close to receiving a bid. The Swarm A.I.’s ranking prowess was also on display in picking three of the four teams that would ultimately receive a bye past Tuesday’s play-in games.

Much like the Oscars a few weeks ago, the use of Swarm A.I. technology to predict outcomes that decided at the subjective, human level seems to have been an unqualified success. Naturally, the team at Unanimous A.I. is excited unleash the power of the swarm onto a complete bracket for the NCAA tournament. Stay tuned…

If you want to see the Swarm A.I.’s March Madness bracket, drop us a line below…