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Author's profile photo David Parrish

Could SAP help someone win US$1 BILLION from Warren Buffet?

13 Sports Facts That Even The Most Hardcore Fans Don’t Know

Forbes | by Kelly Phillips Erb | 01/21/2014

It’s on the internet, so it must be true, right? 

“Warren Buffett… wants to make you an offer: he’ll give you $1 billion for a perfect March Madness bracket….”

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      Author's profile photo Mitchell Clark
      Mitchell Clark

      Nice post Dave but I have to take issue with 2 of the points.  It’s not luck and the odds are not 9.2 quintillion to one.  Please allow me to elaborate.   The odds of completing the perfect bracket would be one in 9.2 quintillion IF the determination were a random chance – like the lottery.  However, this is not the lottery and the bracket determination is far from random.  The final bracket will be a culmination of 69 match ups (remember there are actually 68 teams this year) where the probability of one team beating the other is not 50/50 nor is it random.  The likelihood of winning is based upon skill, player match ups, injuries, what one player had for breakfast on game day, and a multitude of other factors (some of which are obvious and others not so obvious).   The trick is to accurately predict each individual match up.  Most people will use various manual heuristics to do this (e.g. “Duke has a better record than the Richmond Spiders so they are more likely to win” or “I have a gut feeling that George Mason will be a Cinderella story so they will make it to the Final 4.”)

      Because the bracket determination is not the lottery and is not based upon a series of random events, we have the opportunity to applysoftware tools and technology to help increase the odds of winning.  To do this, two keys components are required: data and predictive tools to collect (more precisely access) and analyze the data.  We at SAP can’t help much with thefirst component (data), however, we can definitely help with the second.  Some of the software tools that we can bring to bear include: 

      • SAP HANA In-memory technology platform – this solution can allow a user to access, structure and analyze huge datasets in real time.  In addition, it has the ability to link and combine to various data sources (including Hadoop) containing structure and unstructured data.  It also contains a predictive library (PAL library) that users can leverage to make data based predictions (as opposed to “gut feel”)
      • SAP Predictive Analysis (including KXEN) – this is an easy to use predictive and visualization tool box that can downloaded (free trial available) on to a user’s personal computer.  It can be easily linked to a HANA platform containing the desired data sets.  Once linked the user can visualize the data and start looking for patterns.  He/she can then use various statistical algorithms (R based or HANA PAL based) to predict and score(no pun intended) the outcomes.
      • SAP partnership with SAS – SAP has a strategic partnership with SAS who has outstanding predictive analytics tools as well that integrate nicely with HANA


      You may ask – “how can a sports enthusiast get access to these tools?”  You will be glad to hear, that the SAP tools are available in the SAP Cloud for free (on a trial
      basis).   I would encourage everyone to go to to take a look. 

      Making data based predictions (as opposed to gut feel based) will increase your odds of winning the $1 billion much better that 9.2quintillion to one.