March Madness: Will TCU Beat Syracuse? A.I. Predicts

The TCU Horned Frogs are an unfamiliar sight in March Madness. This is their first NCAA tournament berth since 1998, as second-year coach Jamie Dixon has worked the same kind of magic he used to do as coach of the Pitt Panthers.

The six-seeded Horned Frogs will face tournament mainstay Syracuse in their first game back, as the 11-seeded Orange defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils in Wednesday’s play-in game. A hive mind of college basketball fans predicts who will win the first round game.

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 expects TCU to swipe the win in its first game, though only with low confidence. The collective hive mind made this decision with 84 percent of its brainpower, which means TCU will likely move on to the next round of the tournament.

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 9:40 p.m. Eastern in Detroit on CBS.

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