When it comes to predicting March Madness winners, who knows best: experts, algorithms, or the crowd?
An estimated 45% of Americans will fill out an NCAA tournament bracket this year. That’s more than the number of people who voted in the 2010 midterm elections. And until the clock strikes 12:15 p.m. on March 15, and actual balls start being thrown at actual baskets, each and every one of us can pretend to be the smartest guy or gal in the room when it comes to making March Madness predictions. But who (or what) really knows best? Last month, we looked at algorithmic, social, and expert approaches to predicting Oscar winners and determined that a combination of expert opinion and algorithmic analysis was the most successful tactic. Now, on the eve of America’s favorite predictive orgy, March Madness, we ask the question again: Are the best predictors robots, writers, or the crowd at-large?