After the weekend of upsets, Cukierski has posted the odds of each of the other teams of beating the number one ranked and tourney favorite Kentucky.
"We are scoring something called the log loss, which is a way to measure the probability vs. the actual outcomes," Cukierski said. "We are asking people for the probabilities of Kentucky beating Duke, not just who is going to win."
The Kaggle contest has drawn 613 entries from 405 people this year. Last year's winners -- Skidmore College math professor Michael Lopez and Loyola University's Gregory Matthews -- used a simpler recipe for success. Instead of crunching mind-numbing amounts of data, they built upon the work of others: combining the Las Vegas betting odds plus the team's performance per possession.
"Sometimes using lots of data won't provide as good predictions as using the best data," Lopez said.
The Las Vegas line is a type of probability that incorporates injuries, the strength of the team's coach, the distance traveled, the relative home field advantage, and other off-court intangibles.
"The first thing we thought to use was the line set by sports books in Las Vegas," Lopez added. "They have large towers in the middle of the desert for a reason. They are very good at setting (betting) lines and can provide a proxy for team strengths."
Playing probability games is fun for sports fans, but for coaches and team executives, the numbers are important for building a winning team, according to SportVU's Warkins.
"You can break down a potential draftee or free agent by their performance," Warkins said. "Say the Chicago Bulls are looking for someone to replace Tony Snell. (They) want a decent perimeter defender and shoots a corner three-pointer, as well as someone who can dribble-penetrate. You can measure this analytically."
As for the future, Warkins sees a time when high-powered data algorithms and miniature cameras will allow fans to watch each game from an individual player's perspective -- like the inside of a NASCAR cockpit.