"Beware the Ides of March." Yes, it's finally that time of year again: when the emperors of college basketball must watch their backs, lest the lowly bottom seeds of the tournament strike.
Before March 15, millions around the world will fill out their March Madness brackets. In 2017, ESPN received a record 18.8 million brackets.
The first step to a perfect bracket is correctly choosing the first round. Unfortunately, most of us can't predict the future. Last year, only 164 of the submitted brackets were perfect through the first round – less than 0.001 percent.
Many brackets are busted when a lower-seeded team upsets the favored higher seed. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, at least eight upsets occur on average each year. If you want to win your bracket pool, you better pick at least a few upsets.
More from The Conversation:
Why Canada shouldn't always count on special treatment from the U.S.
The man responsible for making March Madness the moneymaking bonanza it is today
What is March Madness – and the nonprofit that manages the mayhem?
We're two math Ph.D. candidates at the Ohio State University who have a passion for data science and basketball. This year, we decided it would be fun to build a computer program that uses a mathematical approach to predict first-round upsets. If we're right, a bracket picked using our program should perform better through the first round than the average bracket.