March Madness Data Analytics Battle Winners

277 teams across Iowa and Minnesota participated in the challenge

Dordt College’s Mathematics Department is proud to announce the winner of their March Madness Data Analytics Battle: Central Lyon High School’s “Fighting Flying Kumquats” team won first place overall with a score of 206 points.

277 teams across Iowa and Minnesota participated in the challenge. Students received six years of data on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball teams. Prior to “Selection Sunday,” students created algorithms based on statistics to predict their top ten teams. After the 64 teams were selected, they applied their algorithms and won points each time their top teams won in the tournament.

“The March Madness Data Analytics Battle is an excellent way to give students a taste of how data can help answer questions and predict outcomes in a fun way,” Dr. Valorie Zonnefeld, associate professor of mathematics, said.

Zonnefeld worked with the Iowa Center for Interdisciplinary Training (ICIT) and Rick Stellenberg to bring the battle to Dordt. As a part of ICIT’s statewide-event, Drake University and the NOYCE Scholars Program provided funding for Zonnefeld’s travel and prize expenses.

Prior to the challenge, Zonnefeld visited Manson Northwest Webster (MNW), Southwest Christian High School (SCHS), Western Christian High School (WCHS), Unity Christian High School (UCHS), and Sioux Center Christian School (SCCS) to hold workshops for students to explore the data.

Top-scoring teams from those schools included:

MNW’s “JF-DH” team scored 197 points

SCHS’s “SVE, IJ” team scored 191 points

WCHS’s “The Gorls” team scored 178 points

UCHS’s “SEJ Basketball Equipo” team scored 162 points

SCCS’s “LAMM Fries” team scored 139 points

This is the second year that Dordt has hosted a March Madness Data Analytics battle in conjunction with ICIT’s event. Zonnefeld plans to host the event again in March of 2020.