This is your total tech guide to March Madness

Sir Charles Barkley struggles with touchscreen technology.

Need to Know

The NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, better known as March Madness, kicked off this weekend with two major tech fails.

30 minutes into CBS’ unreasonably epic two-hour “Selection Sunday” broadcast, someone tweeted out the full lineup (the NCAA is “looking into it.”)

Once the brackets had been officially released, the legendary Charles Barkley fell victim to touchscreen tech, blaming a mani-pedi habit for his difficulties.

But it’s not all bad when it comes to tech and March Madness.

For several years now, college teams have been using technology like the 94Fifty Smart Basketball and Noah analytics for training purposes. More recently, the tournament has also dipped its toe into using VR for fans and coaches alike.

The refs too, are not immune to innovation. The humble whistle – in a way the original disruptive tech – got a big makeover last year with the Fox 40, a three-chamber, 123-decibel whistle that works alongside the Precision Time System, a device to stop the game clock every time a zebra blows his bugle. Without relying on the reaction time of a clock operator on the sidelines, it’s estimated that at least 30 seconds of action are saved in a 40-minute game.

And what does all this tech mean for the humble fan? Well, you could give Microsoft Bing’s Bracket Predictor a try, though when you consider there are a reported nine quintillion possible outcomes for the tournament, total accuracy is something of a pipe dream. Using intelligent machine learning to crunch both past performance and fan sentiment, the Bing Predictor tool has been successful in the past – last year they had 73% accuracy in predicting the men’s results, besting Google, Facebook, and Sports Illustrated.

In a further partnership with Microsoft, the NCAA has also launched a universal Windows 10 app that allows fans to live stream games on all Windows 10 PCs, phones, and tablets.

Now go forth (and win that office pool).


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