Make your home page

Did you use AI for your NCAA brackets? Might not have been the best bet

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Purdue and Indiana fans will likely disagree with current AI predictions – not a single Artificial Intelligence program has either school’s team in the Final Four. There is no question that analytics is playing a role in almost every aspect of sports, but is it taking the fun out of it?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, gives machines the ability to learn from experience and data to perform tasks on a near-human-like level. But can it pick the winner of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament?

One AI program is predicting the Creighton Blue jays, Houston Cougars, Duke, and Kansas in the final four with Houston winning the championship.

Another program also that number 4 seed Virginia would beat Furman in the opening round. Furman won by one point.

Kyle Anderson, a professor at Indiana University Kelley School of Business, said, “Part of the problem is that the version of AI we have right now seems to pull old data … and are making decisions on out-of-date information.”

Anderson also said, “I’m sure a lot of that will evolve over time, but right now, there are some significant flaws with the data AI is using.”

Jason Hammer, the host of “All Indiana Bets” on WISH-TV, says that computer-generated predictions have been around for years.

Hammer said, “Everybody wants a cheat code, I get that … number crunching … has been going on for a long time with sports bettors. There are always companies and groups that crunch the numbers in their computer … and guess what? Those numbers aren’t great. If these people were really that successful, they would be living in mansions up on Geist.”  

Indianapolis resident Don Wettrick says that AI doesn’t always account for the specificities, ignoring the little details in betting. He says that he fills out his brackets using a mixture of loyalty, gut instinct, and good old-fashioned research.

Wettrick said, “I think what AI is going to do is rob the ability to brag that you called a game. ‘Hey, did you see that 5-12 upset? I called that!’ If your AI is picking it for you, there’s no joy in that.”

We are keeping track of a couple of AI-generated brackets and will follow up once the tournament is over.