To no one’s surprise, Bing is predicting that the University of Kentucky will win the men’s college basketball national championship. And anyone doing searches on terms like “NCAA,” “March Madness” and “college hoops” will see the entire tournament bracket and Bing’s predictions for all 69 games right in the search results.
It’s all a result of that Bing/NCAA partnership announced last week, along with about seven hours of data crunching by the Bing Predictions team after the tournament teams were announced Sunday afternoon.
In a blog post, Bing Predicts chief Dr. Walter Sun says that there are more than 9.2 quintillion permutations involved in the tournament bracket, and he talks about the 10 years of data that Bing crunched to come up with its predictions.
This includes offensive and defensive statistics, conference success in previous tournaments, the proximity of tournaments to each team’s home campus, the style of each team, their individual strengths and weaknesses, and many other factors which might result in them favoring certain match-ups over others. After ingesting these initial data sets, we applied our analysis of web and social sentiment to tune our predictions, resulting in projected outcomes for each of the 67 games of the tournament, including both predicted winner and probability of the team winning. We then present to you the 1 bracket which we think is the most likely to transpire.
That one bracket ends with the Kentucky Wildcats winning the title. Kentucky enters the tournament with a perfect 34-0 record and is the prohibitive favorite pretty much everywhere. (The data nerds at Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com agree, giving Kentucky a 41 percent chance to win, almost four times better than Villanova and its 11 percent chance.)
In addition to tournament predictions, Bing is also offering a “bracket builder” right in its search results. It gives fans a chance to make their own picks and, when finished, submit them to the official contest on NCAA.com. Bing is also promising to show game highlights right inside the bracket as the tournament goes along.
As I type this early Monday morning, Google is currently showing nothing special on a “march madness” search. I’m betting that’ll change before too long.