March Madness: Will West Virginia Beat Murray State? A.I. Predicts

Befitting the Mountaineer nickname, fifth-seeded West Virginia is a tough, rugged team that is nobody’s idea of a fun day at the office. Can their turnover-seeking defense make short work of their first round matchup?

The team on the other side of the court just happens to be one of the hottest in the country, as the Murray State Racers enter March Madness with a 14-1 record in their past 15 games. Can they run that to 15-1 with the old 12-over-5 upset? A hive mind of college basketball fans makes its prediction.

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 swarm predicts that West Virginia will be the team making it out of this round with high confidence. The swarm came to this conclusion with 86 percent of its brainpower, meaning that it has a good shot at moving on in the bracket.

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 p.m. Eastern in San Diego on TNT.

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