Our Foolproof Predictions For Who Will Win The 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

March 16, 2023

We asked Citizen Data's Lead Data Scientist, Kyle Redfield, to take a crack at determining the perfect bracket.

Democracy Defenders Bracket

Citizen Data is the engine for predictive insights and research in the non-partisan space.

While our research usually gets applied to help partners identify, understand, reach, and mobilize Americans, we’re willing to test the boundaries of its application.

This year, people once again agonized over a team’s seeding, record, and more to fill out their brackets for the NCAA annual basketball tournament.

But what is actually the best way to predict who will win it all? Citizen Data models, of course.

In this case, we’ve run the city or town that each school resides in through a few of our existing models, simulating the entire bracket and advancing the school with the higher score of each matchup.

Democracy Defenders:

Last year, Citizen segmented all Americans into an American Democracy Spectrum to identify which were defenders of democracy, which were inhibitors, and which were teetering between the extremes.

Our partners use these segments to understand where to focus their efforts to strengthen democracy.

Since everybody knows defense wins championships, we simulated the tournament based on which cities/towns had a higher percentage of Democracy Defenders compared to the other segments.

In the end, we think that College Park, Maryland (a paragon of Democracy Defense) will emerge victorious.

Democracy Reformers:

Everybody fills out more than one bracket as a hedge against uncertainty. So too where one model might not provide the whole picture, we often pair it with other related models to smooth expectations.

A complementary model that we continually update identifies those Americans most likely to engage with organizations proposing democracy reforms such as increasing voting access, implementing ranked choice voting and open primaries, improving election administration, restoring trust in elections, and more.

Teams in the midwest fare best in this bracket, leading to the surprise upset by Montana State!

Okay okay. Maybe our models are better at predicting the things they’re intended for than for picking winning basketball teams.

Are you interested in learning more about one of these models or creating your own custom one? Reach out today!

Kyle RedfieldKyle Redfield is a veteran data scientist with deep programming and machine learning experience. He hopes his Michigan State Spartans make a deeper run in the tournament than Citizen’s models predict.