Tournament Challenge: UF is most popular

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18

As of 4:55 p.m. ET Tuesday, there were more than 5.1 million brackets entered in ESPN's Tournament Challenge.

Florida remains the most popular pick to win it all, with 27.5 percent of brackets taking the Gators. Michigan State (13.7 percent) and Louisville (9.2 percent), both 4-seeds, remain the next two most popular picks, and both have gained support since yesterday.

Top 10 picks to win it all
1. Florida: 27.6 percent
2. Michigan State: 13.7 percent
3. Louisville: 9.2 percent
4. Arizona: 7.5 percent
5. Wichita State: 6.2 percent
6. Duke: 5.6 percent
7. Kansas: 5.5 percent
8. Virginia: 3.9 percent
9. Michigan: 3.8 percent
10. Syracuse: 3.7 percent

The combination of Arizona, Florida, Louisville and Michigan State was picked by 8.6 percent of brackets to reach the Final Four, the most popular grouping. Conversely, just 3.5 percent of brackets have all four 1-seeds (Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Wichita State) in the Final Four.

The most picked final game so far is Florida and Louisville in 13 percent of all brackets. The Gators are picked to reach the final game in 41.8 percent of brackets, Louisville at 27.5 percent.

Other notable final game combinations:
Florida-Arizona: 8.8 percent
Louisville-Michigan State: 7.7 percent
Duke-Florida: 5.7 percent
Florida-Wichita State: 5.4 percent
Arizona-Michigan State: 4.1 percent
Duke-Michigan State: 2.6 percent

Percentage of brackets picking teams to reach the Final Four, by region:

1. Florida: 61.8 percent
2. Kansas: 16.9 percent
3. Syracuse: 11.9 percent
4. UCLA: 2.9 percent

1. Arizona: 47.4 percent
2. Wisconsin: 20.9 percent
3. Creighton: 12.7 percent
9. Oklahoma State: 6.4 percent

4. Louisville: 37.8 percent
3. Duke: 21.6 percent
1. Wichita State: 18.5 percent
2. Michigan: 15 percent

4. Michigan State: 45.3 percent
1. Virginia: 23.2 percent
2. Iowa State: 12.0 percent
3. Villanova: 9.4 percent

Other notable teams with significant Final Four support:
9-seed Oklahoma State: 6.4 percent
6-seed North Carolina: 4.5 percent
8-seed Kentucky: 3.5 percent

No love for 1-seeds Wichita State, Virginia?
Wichita State may be undefeated, but it's not getting much support in the brackets, except when it comes to winning it all, where the Shockers are the fifth-most-popular pick. Just 64.1 percent of brackets have Wichita State in the Sweet 16, behind all the other 1-seeds, all four 2-seeds and three of the 3-seeds (only Iowa State is picked by fewer brackets among the top 3 seeds). Plus, they are just the third-most-popular team in the Midwest bracket to reach the Final Four, which usually doesn't happen to 1-seeds.

Virginia is a popular pick to win its early games, but loses a lot of support after the Sweet 16, when it could meet Michigan State, the second-most popular pick to win it all. Just 35 percent of brackets have the Cavaliers in the Elite Eight (despite getting 89.6 percent support to reach the Sweet 16). Instead, Michigan State is picked to reach the Elite Eight in 57.2 percent of brackets.

Upset Watch
9-seeds Pittsburgh (72.1 percent) and Oklahoma State (66.7 percent) are both picked to win their Round of 64 games. No other lower seeds are taken in a majority of brackets.

Most popular upsets by seed:
10 over 7: Arizona State (39.4 percent) over Texas
11 over 6: Iowa/Tennessee winner (42.8 percent) over UMass
12 over 5: NC State/Xavier winner (33.8 percent) over Saint Louis
13 over 4: New Mexico State (10.7 percent) over San Diego State
14 over 3: Louisiana-Lafayette (5.9 percent) over Creighton
15 over 2: Milwaukee (3.4 percent) over Villanova
16 over 1: Coastal Carolina (1.9 percent) over Virginia

Least popular picks to win it all:
New Mexico State: 926 total brackets
NC Central: 941
Manhattan: 1,116
Tulsa: 1,206



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