The Villanova Wildcats are co-favorites with Virginia to win the entire tournament, but all they have to do Thursday is avoid the mother of all upsets against Radford.
The Highlanders are one of four teams this year looking to pull off the seemingly impossible and be the first ever men’s 16 seed to beat a top seed. It’s never happened before, and a hive mind of fans has a prediction as to whether it’s going to happen now.
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.
The swarm picks Villanova to win here with high confidence, though even a decently high 86 percent brainpower seems a tad low when dealing with a 1 vs. 16 matchup. Consider this a safe pick, but not an absolute lock.
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 on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. Eastern in Pittsburgh on TNT.