Last night the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA championship for men’s college basketball. Along with their victory came some controversial calls near the end of the game by the officials but we’re not here to discuss what the referees got right and wrong, we’re here to discuss what Microsoft’s search engine Bing did.
Before the tournament began we did a Bing Bracket Breakdown where we filled out a bracket with Bing’s auto predicted results and broke down their picks. Bing had a feature that allowed you to easily upload your bracket to the official NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge which has over one million participants. All of the stats are based on how Bing compared with other participants using that specific bracket challenge.
Bing ranked 314,577 overall but with over a million participants that comes out to the 72nd percentile which is respectable. Bing didn’t pick a lot of upsets and this year that turned out to be a decent strategy. Bing accurately predicted two of the Final Four teams and one of the national championship participants but with Wisconsin’s upset over the previously undefeated Kentucky Bing lost any chance of picking the champion correctly.
Bing’s overall best bracket came from the Midwest which had very few upsets. One of the only major upsets that did occur, 7 seeded Wichita State over the 2 seed Kansas, was predicted by Bing. Bing’s worst bracket was the East in which they didn’t accurately predict either team in the Elite 8 from that bracket. The East ended up with the 7 seed Michigan state representing them in the Final 4 so Bing lost a lot of ground in that region’s bracket.
All in all Bing went with a relatively safe route by picking mostly favorites but to be fair that is a good strategy to go with most years. While there are upsets every year, the way to get ahead in bracketology is by picking the correct upsets, not predicting a load of them. What separated Bing from the high end of the leader board was not predicting major upsets such as Michigan State’s run to the Final Four.
Bing used ten years’ worth of data to formulate their predictions for this year’s tournament but as fans know, March Madness is one of the most difficult tournaments to predict in sport. Their final results are about as good as can be expected and would stack up well against sports analysts and experts.