Back in 1906, Victorian fancypants Sir Francis Galton had an idea. He was at a livestock fair and villagers had been given the opportunity to guess the weight of an ox. Nearly 800 people guessed and, surprise surprise, none hit the 1,198 pound mark exactly. Galton’s stroke of genius was calculating the median of all guesses. That number? 1,208. The mean? 1,197. That’s right: the crowd was one pound off.
Which got us thinking: if the crowd is whooping us at picking March Madness brackets (and, by the way, they still are), could they replicate Galton’s idea that the “middlemost estimate” is in fact the most accurate?
It’s important to note here that Galton’s crowd weren’t ox-experts (oxperts?) and our crowd, well, they probably aren’t either; all we did was contain the crowd to the United States, not some pre-selected pool of roundball aficionados and obsessives. We polled hundreds of our U.S. contributors for their hunch on the final, tallied those up, and found the mean. The score? 72-65.
Now, we appreciate that they’re fans of offense. College basketball often suffers from low scores that apologists claim are evidence of try-hard defense and boundless hustle. Critics point to the fact that college offenses are full of pointless misdirections resulting in bad shots taken by guys who really shouldn’t be shooting in the first place. Whatever the reason, a 72-65 game would be a nice respite from the past five years (which featured only one game where a team scored over 70).
All we know is that the score is going to be 72-65. The crowd has spoken. And the crowd is rarely wrong.