SmartBracket Uses Artificial Intelligence To Optimize Picks for March Madness

EAST LANSING – Who says you can’t get something for nothing? A Michigan-based technology firm is offering a free edge to the first 1,000 users who sign up for its SmartBracket software, which uses artificial intelligence to make optimal college basketball picks.

Last year, SmartBracket finished in the 95th percentile out of more than 13 million brackets in ESPN and Yahoo’s national competitions, and Forbes Magazine ranked it atop its list of “The Best Ways to Pick a Winning NCAA Tournament Bracket.”

The app was initially developed in East Lansing by Supported Intelligence, which recently has expanded both to Detroit’s TechTown business accelerator and to an affiliated office in New York City. The company designed SmartBracket to demonstrate the capabilities of its distinctive Rapid Recursive technology, which makes sequential decisions—where one choice affects the dynamics of next—for business managers.

Why college basketball? Because of its astronomical odds: Given 64 teams and 63 games, there are 9.2 quintillion possible combinations in a single bracket. SmartBracket analyzes all of them in under a second. But also, the lead developer is quick to point out, they built it for a love of March Madness.

“SmartBracket began with a single question,” says Neal Anderson, who also is Supported Intelligence’s Chief Operating Officer, “My colleague and I wondered aloud, what if the goal isn’t to create a perfect bracket? But instead, to build a bracket that gives you the best statistical odds to defeat the other folks in your pool.” And yes, history will note they were standing by the water cooler at the time.

After answering a few questions on SmartBracket’s web or mobile platforms, users receive a bracket that’s tailored to their geography and additional preferences (fans in Lansing are more likely to pick the Spartans to win a given game, for instance, than those filling out brackets in Tennessee). What’s generated is a bracket that exploits such preferences to determine which underdog picks give the user the best statistical chance to win versus their competition.

In a post-tournament survey, 60 percent of SmartBracket users from last year reported finishing in the top 3 in their pools, and more than 35 percent reported winning.

This year, SmartBracket will be available on mobile apps for both iPhone and Android devices for the first time, for 99 cents. Online registration has already begun at www.smartbracket.io, that’s where it’s free for the first 1,000 registrants and then $1 thereafter.

Brackets will be generated from March 12, when the tournament field is set, until tip-off of the first game on March 16.

Supported Intelligence, LLC is a Michigan-based company, headquartered in East Lansing and formed in 2012. The firm’s primary product, the Rapid Recursive® Toolbox, was developed exclusively in the Midwest between the firm’s offices in East Lansing and Chicago by graduates of Michigan State University, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan.

More information about the Rapid Recursive® Toolbox, including free trial downloads, can be found on the firm’s websitewww.SupportedIntelligence.com