Is Google Predicting March Madness

If you follow sports, you’re fairly familiar with how analyzed data drives many front office decision. Case in point the movie and book it was based on, Moneyball. Franchises have realized that past performance can be a predictor and we now have the technology that allows us to see that. 

Google Cloud is bringing this data analysis to college basketball in a new, fresh way, through something they’ve called the March Madness Insights Hub. Throughout the NCAA tournament, they have invited college developers (see what they did there?) to write code to analyze and predict games. And so far, it’s been impressively accurate. For example, in last night’s Texas Tech vs. Michigan game, the students used the defensive efficiency metric to predict that the game would not only be a defensive battle, but that there would be only 126 combined possessions by each team. And the actual game saw that there were only 121 combined possessions. And for tonight’s Virginia Tech vs. Duke game, they’re calling for 48 combined three point attempts based on both team’s explosiveness from behind the arc, combined with two strong defensive teams.

Why It’s Hot

Google’s using a moment in time to drive awareness to a topic that seems remote, far off and intangible — data analysis. By bringing the data analysis to a present something so many people experience, they’re raising the understanding of the industry as well as getting kids excited to study this as a discipline.