- Astronaut Buzz Aldrin goes head-to-head with basketball expert Dick Vitale to choose his NCAA Tournament bracket
- In the ultimate 'sports vs. science' showdown, Aldrin relies on his analytical skills to challenge Vitale's basketball knowledge.
(CNN)Even veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin gets excited about March Madness.
He and ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale are going head-to-head with the NCAA Division I men's tournament brackets as part of the Allstate March Mayhem Challenge.
The season leading up to this year's playoffs has made bracket picks rather unpredictable. No team has remained at the top of the table for more than four consecutive weeks, and the level of competition has significantly widened the gap for who could win the tournament. "There are teams that are seeded number five and six who could beat the number one seeds," Vitale said.
This may work in Aldrin's mathematical favor.
"Buzz has a doctorate in aeronautical engineering. I've got a doctorate in 'hoopology,' so you know who's the intelligent one here. He's all about stats, numbers, he studies those numbers big time. That's why I might be in trouble," Vitale said in an interview with CNN from the Houston Space Center.
Aldrin, whose latest space analysis and engineering calculations focus on inhabiting Mars, joked that his strategy for the basketball tournament would be to count backwards. "5-4-3-2-1 liftoff," he said.
Vitale selected Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State to make it to the Final Four, with Michigan State winning the National Championship on April 4.
Aldrin picked Oklahoma, Kansas and Michigan State to reach the final four on April 2, replacing Vitale's choice of Kentucky with North Carolina. He predicted North Carolina and Michigan State would meet in the final match.
(Ironically, the team they both favored to win was knocked out of the first round on Friday when Michigan State lost to Middle Tennessee in a big upset.)
Aldrin's picks for second, third and fourth place still stand a chance of being correct, but his predictions in the world of space exploration and innovation have more substance.
His latest scientific development includes creating an engineering system called Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars. Partnered with analysis from top technical schools, he believes that humans landing on the Red Planet will be possible by 2040.