It’s On: Second Annual Statsketball Tournament for Students

The American Statistical Association is sponsoring the second annual Statsketball Tournament, where high-school and undergraduate students nationwide are invited to apply statistical techniques and thinking to two contests hinging on outcomes of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

“The 2018 Statsketball Tournament is an interactive initiative that encourages students to use statistical methods for one of the most exciting sporting events of the year,” said ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein. “As the field of statistics continues to grow and statistician continues to be among the top jobs in 2018, we want students to see that statistics—the science of learning from data—applies to many things, including March Madness.”

The contest is made up of two challenges to tackle 68 teams and six rounds of games. The “Pick ‘Em”: Upset Challenge allows students to submit a list of 32 winners to the first-round games, based on statistical methodology. The “Build Your Own Bracket”: Draft Challenge provides students with 224 draft points to assemble a cohort of teams from the seeded participants. Points will be used to identify the top five teams, or more in the case of tied teams. Winners will then be determined based on their essay, methodology, originality, and creativity. Submissions are due by March 14.

Last year’s contest brought 147 individual and group submissions, where statistical models predicted Wichita State University and UCLA most likely to outperform expectations. Advanced student techniques were used, including machine learning, simulations, and cross validation.

Entries will be assessed by a team of judges, including Laurel Chiappetta, founder of Data D.I.V.A. LLC statistical consulting; Stephen Loftus, visiting assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Sweet Briar College; and Sheldon H. Jacobson, founder professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The winners of the contest will be announced shortly after the 2018 NCAA National Championship game April 2. Each winner will receive a prize package, including a $50 Amazon gift card, complimentary student membership to the ASA, and a Statsketball Tournament T-shirt for each team member.

Learn more about the 2018 Statsketball Tournament.