March Madness: Will Ohio State Beat South Dakota State? A.I. Predicts

The Ohio State Buckeyes are nothing short of miraculous, as first-year coach Chris Holtmann has taken a team that finished 17-15 last year, had just six scholarship players in June, and was generally tabbed as a Big Ten bottom-feeder. Now they’re a five seed looking to make some March Madness noise.

But first, they have to get past the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and star Mike Daum, who is averaging a double-double on the season. The team has what it takes to spring an upset, but will it? A hive mind of fans predicts the winner.

To predict the result of this and other games, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. About 50 college basketball fans worked together as a hive mind to make picks. As you can see in the animation below, each participant controlled a little golden magnet and used it to drag the puck toward the answer they thought was the most likely outcome. As the users saw the puck move toward a particular outcome, it triggers a psychological response. They readjust their decision-making, building toward a consensus.

Unanimous A.I.

The hive mind expects Ohio State to comfortably pick up the win in this round. The swarm came to this conclusion with 83 percent of its brainpower, so South Dokota’s chances to steal this one are marginal.

Read more from Inverse: The Perfect NCAA Bracket Is A.I.’s Biggest Sports Challenge Yet

Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our previous article explains. For instance, the swarm picked this year’s Oscar winners with 94 percent accuracy. Here’s Unanimous A.I. founder Louis Rosenberg explaining swarm intelligence at a recent TEDx Talk.

The game tips off Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern in Boise, Idaho on TNT.

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