Contest Rules

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The following are the official rules of the contest.

Basic Rules

Participants may submit up to five entries per person. The entry with the highest total score wins.

There is no entry fee, and no reward for winning other than bragging rights.


The deadline for submitting entries is within a few minutes of tipoff of the first game of the round of 64.

How to Enter

There are two ways to submit an entry into the contest:

  • Use the editor on the official site to write a JavaScript program that predicts the outcome given two teams. Various statistics will be provided as part of the JavaScript execution environment, which may help in predicting the outcome.
  • Upload the complete game matrix (outcome of every possible combination of teams). If you go this route, no statistics or assistance will be provided. But it does mean that you can use any language you want, and you do not have to reveal your source code.

Entry Period

Entries will be accepted starting on the date that official invitations are sent out. During the entry period, no person (including the site administrator) will be able to see any entries made by another contestant.

You will also be competing with a few stock entries entered by the system. The source for these entries will be freely available at each stage of the contest, including the initial entry period.

The stored game matrix of an entry may be regenerated by the site administrator at any time during the initial entry period. This will typically only affect entries that are non-deterministic (e.g., returning a random value as the result, which seems to be a popular notion). Do not assume that the calculated values at the time you save the entry will be the values of the official entry. For this reason, it is highly recommended to make your entry deterministic, where it gives the same answer every time.

Locked Entries

When the entry deadline is reached, all contest entries will be locked (i.e., no more edits), and all source code for all entries (as available) will be revealed to all contestants.

At this point, your entry will be run through every possible game, and the predicted outcome is stored. Requests to make changes to your entry after entries lock will be ignored (and laughed at). Don't wait until the last minute.

In particular, this means the input to the program is not updated as the tournament progresses. However, you can take into account which seeds are involved in which round; for example, if it's round 4 and it involves a 14 seed, maybe that team wasn't so bad after all. You just won't have the game scores of rounds 1-3.


The value of a correct pick is determined by two factors: the Round component × the Seed component.

  • The Round number is 1 for the round of 64, 2 for the round of 32, etc. It may not match the official round number of the NCAA tournament.
  • The Round component is 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55 for rounds 1-6. Expressed as a formula, this is ((10 × Round) - 5).
  • The Seed component slowly drops off during the contest. Logically it's (Seed / (Round + 1)). The full formula can be found at Scoring Rules (2012).

You can pick a weight somewhere between the two teams, and that weight will be multiplied by the round score given by the formula above. For example, you can say "I'm 70% sure team A will win, but there's a 30% chance team B will win." If you do this and team A wins, you only get 70% of the points. But, if you're wrong and team B wins, you get 30% (instead of 0 like in a contest for humans). It's a risk-vs-reward tradeoff.