SportsPulse: Trysta Krick runs through surprises, snubs and other highlights from Selection Sunday as March Madness officially begins.

About a quarter of American adults will fill out brackets for March Madness, most novices at evaluating men’s college hoops.

Adobe lent a virtual hand as it launched #HackTheBracket on Monday to give visitors  (at no cost) a chance to delve deep into each matchup or just use the technology giant’s artificial intelligence-powered engine to predict the winner.

“Analytics have been, mostly, for hardcore data heads,” Trevor Paulsen, senior product manager for Adobe Analytics Cloud, told USA TODAY Sports. “For the last five of six years, it’s been a hobby for some of the engineers here. We built predictive models to see how they’d do internally.”

If players just pick the favorite it each game, they have around 75% chance of being right, according to Adobe. The internal competition at San Jose-based Adobe – the company most known for its Creative Suite of software, including Photoshop – showed its analytics engine was correct about 80-82% of the time over the last five years, Paulsen said.

“The best model in the world is never going to predict some of the upsets,” Paulsen said. “You have 9.2 quadrillion possible brackets. That means you could do one bracket per second and it would take 300 million years to fill them all out. The odds of getting a perfect bracket are quite small. There’s a lot of randomness.”

University of Illinois researchers pinned the actual number of potential bracket outcomes at 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Yes, a few of those would include Cal State Fullerton, the Big West champs, to win it all — and Adobe predicts the No. 15 Titans have a 98.3% probability of losing to No. 2 Purdue on Friday.

Maybe that’s why Warren Buffett isn’t taking too much of a risk when he again announced the perfect bracket challenge last month for his Berkshire Hathaway employees. The winner this year will get $1 million per year for life, although Buffett told CNBC it’ll double to $2 million if Creighton or Nebraska wins it all.

There’s been no proof that anyone has legitimately picked all 63 games correctly. (That’s not counting the First Four games on Tuesday and Wednesday, formerly known as the play-in games.) The NCAA reported that there wasn’t even evidence that a bracket has ever been perfect into the Sweet 16 (48 games). According to the NCAA, only one bracket remained unblemished through 39 games on its site along with Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, Bleacher Report and Fox Sports last year.

“To even pick the champion is tough, which makes the tournament fun,” said Ben Gaines, group product manager for Adobe Analytics Cloud. “You can all have all the data and insights in the world and you’re going to still have years like 2014 when UConn wins its conference tournament out of nowhere and ends up winning the whole thing.”

Adobe has stats from 56,000 games from the 2017-2018 season provided by SportRadar preloaded into #HackTheBracket, allowing the site’s visitors to compare more than 100 metrics from defensive rebounding to attendance.

Adobe, which is using its site to promote its analytics business, is the latest tool for those looking for help with their brackets.

Sheldon H. Jacobson, a professor of computer science at University of Illinois, has made his analytics model available since 2011 and it takes a different angle: the BracketOdds site uses different tools – including artificial intelligence – from data derived from each tourney since 1985.

“We are trying to match the present with history-patterned models,” said Jacobson, who co-wrote a paper on the methods of BracketOdds that appeared in the American Statistical Association’s Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport. “That means the models now are better than they were two years ago and they will be even better two or three years from now.”

Jacobson had one tip: Pick your champion and work backward.

The Mellman Group estimated 54 million people – about one in four adults – participated in a March Madness pool last year, according to a survey of 1,501 adults the research firm conducted. The American Gaming Association said in a news release Monday that more than $10 billion will be wagered on NCAA pools.

The typical brackets being filled out electronically or from copies floating around the office this week aren’t the only ones available to fans.

There are fantasy and auction-style brackets that more closely resemble fantasy football. Such formats are usually conducive to smaller groups (around six people) and consist of drafting teams with points earned for how far each time a participant’s team advance.

Then there’s the survivor pool, which has gained popularity when it comes to the NFL. You pick one team per round, and once you pick that team, you can’t pick them again. You lose, you’re done. Winner is the last one standing.

Some casinos in Nevada offer survivor pools, which allow players to buy back in if they’re eliminated.

“Those have become popular in recent years, but they still have a long way to go before any of those formats catch up with traditional brackets,” said Dave Tuley of VSin, the national sports gambling network based in Las Vegas.

Virginia, ACC champion. No. 1 seed in South.

UMBC, America East champions. No. 16 seed in South.

UMBC, America East champions. No. 16 seed in South.
Creighton, No. 8 seed in South.
Kansas State, No. 9 seed in South.
Kentucky, SEC champion. No. 5 seed in South.
Davidson, Atlantic 10 champion. No. 12 seed in South.
Arizona, Pac-12 champion. No. 4 seed in South.
Buffalo, MAC champion. No. 13 seed in South.
Miami, No. 6 seed in South.
Loyola-Chicago, Missouri Valley Conference champion. No. 11 seed in South.
Tennessee, No. 3 seed in South.
Wright State, Horizon League champions. No. 14 seed in South.
Nevada, No. 7 seed in South.
Texas, No. 10 seed in South.
Cincinnati, AAC champion. No. 2 seed in South.
Georgia State, Sun Belt champ. No. 15 seed in South.
Xavier, No. 1 seed in West.
North Carolina Central, MEAC champions. No. 16 seed in West playing in First Four game.
Texas Southern, SWAC champion. No. 16 seed in West playing in First Four game.
Missouri, No. 8 seed in West.
Florida State, No. 9 seed in West.
Ohio State, No. 5 seed in West.

South Dakota State, Summit League champion. No. 12

South Dakota State, Summit League champion. No. 12 seed in West.
Gonzaga, West Coast Conference champion. No. 4 seed in West.
UNC-Greensboro, Southern Conference champion. No. 13 seed in West.
Houston, No. 6 seed in West.
San Diego State, Mountain West champion. No. 11 seed in West.

Michigan, Big Ten champions. No. 3 seed in West.

Michigan, Big Ten champions. No. 3 seed in West.
Montana, Big Sky champion. No. 14 seed in West.

Texas A&M, No. 7 seed in West.

Texas A&M, No. 7 seed in West.
Providence, No. 10 seed in West.
North Carolina, No. 2 seed in West.
Lipscomb, Atlantic Sun champion. No. 15 seed in West.
Villanova, Big East champion. No. 1 seed in East.
LIU Brooklyn, Northeast Conference champion. No. 16 seed in East playing in First Four game.

Radford, Big South champion. No. 16 seed in East playing

Radford, Big South champion. No. 16 seed in East playing in First Four game.
Virginia Tech, No. 8 seed in East.
Alabama, No. 9 seed in East.
West Virginia, No. 5 seed in East.
Murray State, Ohio Valley champion. No. 12 seed in East.
Wichita State, No. 4 seed in East.
Marshall, Conference USA champion. No. 13 seed in East.
Florida, No. 6 seed in East.
St. Bonaventure, No. 11 seed in the East playing in a First Four game.
UCLA, No. 11 seed in East playing in a First Four game.
Texas Tech, No. 3 seed in East.
Stephen F. Austin, Southland champion. No. 14 seed in East.
Arkansas, No. 7 seed in East.

Butler, No. 10 seed in East.

Butler, No. 10 seed in East.
Purdue, No. 2 seed in East.
Cal State Fullerton, Big West champion. No. 15 seed in East.
Kansas, Big 12 champion. No. 1 seed in Midwest.
Penn, Ivy League champion. No. 16 seed in Midwest.
Seton Hall, No. 8 seed in Midwest.
North Carolina State, No. 9 seed in Midwest.
Clemson, No. 5 seed in Midwest.
New Mexico State, WAC champion. No. 12 seed in Midwest.
Auburn, No. 4 seed in Midwest.
College of Charleston, Colonial Athletic Association champion. No. 13 seed in Midwest.
TCU, No. 6 seed in Midwest.

Syracuse, No. 11 seed in Midwest playing in First Four

Syracuse, No. 11 seed in Midwest playing in First Four game.
Arizona State, No. 11 seed in Midwest playing in First Four game.
Michigan State, No. 3 seed in Midwest.
Bucknell, Patriot League champion. No. 14 seed in Midwest.
Rhode Island, No. 7 seed in Midwest.
Oklahoma, No. 10 seed in Midwest.
Duke, No. 2 seed in Midwest.
Iona, Metro Atlantic champion. No. 15 seed in Midwest.
  • Virginia, ACC champion. No. 1 seed in South.1 of 68

     

  • UMBC, America East champions. No. 16 seed in South.2 of 68

     

  • Creighton, No. 8 seed in South.3 of 68

     

  • Kansas State, No. 9 seed in South.4 of 68

     

  • Kentucky, SEC champion. No. 5 seed in South.5 of 68

     

  • Davidson, Atlantic 10 champion. No. 12 seed in South.6 of 68

     

  • Arizona, Pac-12 champion. No. 4 seed in South.7 of 68

     

  • Buffalo, MAC champion. No. 13 seed in South.8 of 68

     

  • Miami, No. 6 seed in South.9 of 68

     

  • Loyola-Chicago, Missouri Valley Conference champion.10 of 68

     

  • Tennessee, No. 3 seed in South.11 of 68

     

  • Wright State, Horizon League champions. No. 14 seed12 of 68

     

  • Nevada, No. 7 seed in South.13 of 68

     

  • Texas, No. 10 seed in South.14 of 68

     

  • Cincinnati, AAC champion. No. 2 seed in South.15 of 68

     

  • Georgia State, Sun Belt champ. No. 15 seed in South.16 of 68

     

  • Xavier, No. 1 seed in West.17 of 68

     

  • North Carolina Central, MEAC champions. No. 16 seed18 of 68

     

  • Texas Southern, SWAC champion. No. 16 seed in West19 of 68

     

  • Missouri, No. 8 seed in West.20 of 68

     

  • Florida State, No. 9 seed in West.21 of 68

     

  • Ohio State, No. 5 seed in West.22 of 68

     

  • South Dakota State, Summit League champion. No. 1223 of 68

     

  • Gonzaga, West Coast Conference champion. No. 4 seed24 of 68

     

  • UNC-Greensboro, Southern Conference champion. No. 1325 of 68

     

  • Houston, No. 6 seed in West.26 of 68

     

  • San Diego State, Mountain West champion. No. 11 seed27 of 68

     

  • Michigan, Big Ten champions. No. 3 seed in West.28 of 68

     

  • Montana, Big Sky champion. No. 14 seed in West.29 of 68

     

  • Texas A&M, No. 7 seed in West.30 of 68

     

  • Providence, No. 10 seed in West.31 of 68

     

  • North Carolina, No. 2 seed in West.32 of 68

     

  • Lipscomb, Atlantic Sun champion. No. 15 seed in West.33 of 68

     

  • Villanova, Big East champion. No. 1 seed in East.34 of 68

     

  • LIU Brooklyn, Northeast Conference champion. No. 1635 of 68

     

  • Radford, Big South champion. No. 16 seed in East playing36 of 68

     

  • Virginia Tech, No. 8 seed in East.37 of 68

     

  • Alabama, No. 9 seed in East.38 of 68

     

  • West Virginia, No. 5 seed in East.39 of 68

     

  • Murray State, Ohio Valley champion. No. 12 seed in40 of 68

     

  • Wichita State, No. 4 seed in East.41 of 68

     

  • Marshall, Conference USA champion. No. 13 seed in East.42 of 68

     

  • Florida, No. 6 seed in East.43 of 68

     

  • St. Bonaventure, No. 11 seed in the East playing in44 of 68

     

  • UCLA, No. 11 seed in East playing in a First Four game.45 of 68

     

  • Texas Tech, No. 3 seed in East.46 of 68

     

  • Stephen F. Austin, Southland champion. No. 14 seed47 of 68

     

  • Arkansas, No. 7 seed in East.48 of 68

     

  • Butler, No. 10 seed in East.49 of 68

     

  • Purdue, No. 2 seed in East.50 of 68

     

  • Cal State Fullerton, Big West champion. No. 15 seed51 of 68

     

  • Kansas, Big 12 champion. No. 1 seed in Midwest.52 of 68

     

  • Penn, Ivy League champion. No. 16 seed in Midwest.53 of 68

     

  • Seton Hall, No. 8 seed in Midwest.54 of 68

     

  • North Carolina State, No. 9 seed in Midwest.55 of 68

     

  • Clemson, No. 5 seed in Midwest.56 of 68

     

  • New Mexico State, WAC champion. No. 12 seed in Midwest.57 of 68

     

  • Auburn, No. 4 seed in Midwest.58 of 68

     

  • College of Charleston, Colonial Athletic Association59 of 68

     

  • TCU, No. 6 seed in Midwest.60 of 68

     

  • Syracuse, No. 11 seed in Midwest playing in First Four61 of 68

     

  • Arizona State, No. 11 seed in Midwest playing in First62 of 68

     

  • Michigan State, No. 3 seed in Midwest.63 of 68

     

  • Bucknell, Patriot League champion. No. 14 seed in Midwest.64 of 68

     

  • Rhode Island, No. 7 seed in Midwest.65 of 68

     

  • Oklahoma, No. 10 seed in Midwest.66 of 68

     

  • Duke, No. 2 seed in Midwest.67 of 68

     

  • Iona, Metro Atlantic champion. No. 15 seed in Midwest.68 of 68

     

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