March Madness: Will Nevada Beat Texas? A.I. Predicts

The seven-seeded Nevada Wolfpack couldn’t really be entering March Madness with a worse loss, having lost by 17 in the Mountain West tournament to a San Diego State team that had to win the whole thing to earn its own berth. Can they shake that off and go on a run?

To do that, they will need to beat a 10-seed Texas Longhorns team that gutted out a win over West Virginia to boost its resume, then lost close to a very good Texas Tech team in the Big 12 tournament. A hive mind of fans predicts who will win.

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.

And that’s an upset! The swarm predicts that Texas will be able to squeeze out a win, though the pick is only made with low confidence. This pick was made with 79 percent of the hive mind’s brainpower. The upset isn’t certain, but the odds are against Nevada.

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 Friday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern in Nashville, Tennessee on TBS.

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