A computer helped ODU researchers fill out the 2015 March Madness bracket. How did it do?

Posted at 7:52 AM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 10:58:44-04

NORFOLK, Va. - 1 in 9.2 quintillion: The odds you'll fill out a correct NCAA Tournament bracket, according to

The key is picking the right upsets...which is insanely hard.

ODU computer 2015 March Madness predictions

It's so difficult, researchers at Old Dominion University put a computer to the test in 2015; taking into account a number of different stats.

“We [looked] at the points, how many rebounds [the teams] make, what’s the free throw percentage, three-point percentage, field goal percentage, total number of fouls, foul outs, steals…almost everything," Yaohang Li, an Associate Professor of Computer Science, told News 3.

Li says the computer guessed 49 out of 63 games correctly, which is a solid number.

Just like humans, the computer struggled the most with upsets; incorrectly predicting 3-seed Iowa State over 14-seed UAB, for example.

The computer also only picked two Final Four teams correctly. It picked eventual runner-up Wisconsin to lose in the Sweet Sixteen against North Carolina and eventual Final Four team Michigan State, a 7-seed, to lose to Virginia in the second round, Oklahoma in the Sweet Sixteen and Louisville in the Elite Eight.

The computer did, however, correctly pick the outcomes of both semifinal games and the final game, Duke over Wisconsin.

With ODU in the 2019 tournament, Li says he's hoping to release his computer program to the public so people can use it to help pick out their brackets.