March Madness: Will Kansas State Beat UMBC? A.I. Predicts

K-State Men's Basketball on Facebook

Fair to say nobody saw this second-round match-up coming. The 16 seed Retrievers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County didn’t just upset the number one overall seed Virginia Cavaliers, the first time that’s ever happened in the men’s tournament, they beat the crap out of them in a 74-54 rout.

Can they repeat the trick against the nine seed Kansas State Wildcats, who scored a much, much milder upset by taking down the Creighton Bluejays in the first round? A hive mind of fans predicts who wins.

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.

Picking before the tournament began, the hive mind understandably predicted Virginia would win the opening round, and then it liked them to win this game with high confidence and 94 percent brainpower. Since UMBC walloped that same Cavaliers team, that means the Retrievers are absolute locks… right?

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 Sunday at 7:40 p.m. on truTV.

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