MinneMUDAC Student Data Science Challenge

Spring 2021: MinneAnalytics Madness!

March 17 – April 5

View Final Team Standings


Update: Sweet Sixteen Challenge

We’ve added a bonus Sweet Sixteen Challenge! Existing teams, look for an email to join the new pool. New teams can register here. Predictions are due before the first game on Saturday, March 27.

Competition Overview

Join us for the Spring 2021 edition of this analytics event inviting teams of graduate and undergraduate students to explore real-world data while enhancing and showcasing their skills. Student teams will build predictive models to predict the outcomes of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, starting with the First Round on March 19. Teams will construct their tournament bracket using their predictive model. Top teams receive cash prizes!

Updated Deadline: Brackets must be submitted before the first game on Friday, March 19, along with supporting methodology. Winning teams will be determined based on accuracy of predictions. Methodology will be reviewed to authenticate results.

Who can participate?

  • Students: Undergraduate and graduate students welcome. Please note that you must enter the team name and name/email of a faculty or staff advisor to register. See team guidelines below.
  • Faculty/Staff Advisors: Each team requires a faculty or staff advisor to provide guidance throughout the challenge. One advisor may advise up to three student teams. Advisors assisting more than one team must register for each team.
  • Community Members: This event will feature an open division allowing professionals from the community to participate. Note: there will be no cash prizes for this division.

Team Guidelines

  • Each team requires a faculty or staff advisor to register as well as provide support throughout the competition.
  • Teams are limited to five students and one faculty or staff advisor.
  • Colleges and universities outside of Minnesota are encouraged to participate.
  • More than one team from the same college or university may participate. Individual students may only join one team.
  • There is a limit to three teams from the same college department.
  • Blended teams of students with different majors and skill-sets are encouraged.


  • Undergraduate Division: For undergraduate teams with advanced data management, data programming, and statistical/analytic skills to support predictive modeling.
  • Graduate Division: For teams with advanced data management, data programming, and statistical/analytic skills to support predictive modeling, including at least one graduate student. Any team with one or more Graduate students will automatically be in the Graduate division.
  • Open/Exhibition Division: For professionals that would like to put their skills to the test (no cash prizes awarded for this division).


  • Teams will be scored using conventional Straight Scoring plus Seed Point Difference.
  • First Round=1 point per game, Second Round=2, Sweet Sixteen=4, Elite Eight=8, Final Four =16, Championship=32.
  • If the underdog wins then the seed difference between the two teams is added.

Teams must also submit a brief form indicating methodology that clearly demonstrates that data science was used to make the picks.

Competition Conclusion

Winning teams will be determined based on accuracy of prediction after the tournament ends on April 5. Team methodology will also be evaluated to authenticate the prediction.


Q: Can teams located outside of Minnesota participate?
A: Absolutely. This event is completely virtual and teams may participate from anywhere.

Q: How do teams submit their predictions and methodology?
A: We will send an email to all registered teams no later than Tuesday, March 16 with links and instructions for submitting your predictions and methodology.

Q: Will teams be provided with data for this challenge?
A: This challenge requires teams to build a predictive model. We will not be providing any data.

Register Now  >>>