College Basketball Nation: 2012 tournament challenge

UK was popular Tournament Challenge pick

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
12:21
AM ET
There were plenty of brackets to get the national championship right this year, as 35.1 percent of the 6.45 million Tournament Challenge brackets correctly picked Kentucky to win it all, by far the most popular selection in the game. That's a far cry from the 4.7 percent (out of 5.9 million brackets) to pick Connecticut last year.

There was a four-way tie atop the leader board this year with 1,780 points. However, the grand prize winner isn't necessarily coming from the pool of four to tie for the lead, but rather a drawing of the top 1 percent scorers.

President Obama's bracket

The president had North Carolina winning it all (beating Kentucky in the title game), so he could not score anymore points in the game. He finished with 1,020 points, in the 63.6th percentile.

Bill Plaschke's bracket

The "Around the Horn" panelist finished the challenge ranked 538th overall (out of 6.45 million brackets) with 1,680 points as he did pick Kentucky to beat Kansas in the final (after picking the entire Final Four correctly). Interestingly, he finished tied for fifth among all users entered in the "Around the Horn" group, 10 points behind the leaders. He picked only nine of the Sweet 16 teams, but made up for it by selecting seven of the Elite Eight correctly, and then getting all the Final Four teams right.

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile)

President Obama: (1,020; 63.6)

Jay Bilas: (1,260; 88.0)
Andy Katz: (1,180; 78.9)
Dick Vitale: (1,010; 62.9)
Doug Gottlieb: (930; 57.5)

Mike Greenberg: (620; 22.6)
Mike Golic: (1,340; 93.5)

Colin Cowherd: (1,260; 88.0)
Michelle Beadle: (460; 5.9)

Michael Wilbon: (1,160; 76.6)
Tony Kornheiser: (930; 57.5)

Scott Van Pelt: (1,290; 90.5)

LeBron James: (1,160; 76.7)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (1,200; 81.8)
America's bracket: (1,260; 88.0)

Bracket Challenge with one game to go

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
12:06
AM ET
A total of 9.8 percent of 6.45 million brackets in Tournament Challenge correctly predicted the Kentucky-Kansas matchup for the national title. (In contrast, just 881 brackets of 5.9 million correctly predicted last year's Butler-UConn national title matchup.) Another 50.6 percent of brackets correctly predicted at least one team to reach the finals.

A whopping 52 percent of brackets had Kentucky in the national title game, while Kansas was named on 18.2 percent of brackets.

Altogether, 35.1 percent of brackets picked Kentucky to win it all (by far the most popular pick in the game), while 6.2 percent have Kansas (fifth-most popular).

There's a five-way tie atop the leaderboard with 1,460 points. Four of the brackets have Kentucky winning it all, the other picking Kansas. However, the grand prize winner is not necessarily the one with the most points after the title game on Monday, but rather a drawing of the top 1 percent scorers.

President Obama's bracket

The president did have Kentucky reaching the national title game to add a few more points to his total, but he had North Carolina winning it all, so he can't score any more points. He's at 1,020 points, good for the 90.6 percentile for now, but he'll drop a bit after Monday's title game.

Bill Plaschke's bracket

The Around the Horn panelist is currently ranked 734th overall in the game with 1,360 points, as he picked all the Final Four teams and the national title game matchup of Kentucky and Kansas. Plaschke picked Kentucky to win it all.

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile; National champion pick)

President Obama: (1020; 90.6; North Carolina)

Jay Bilas: (940; 81.2; Kentucky)
Andy Katz: (860; 65.4; Kentucky)
Dick Vitale: (690; 32.8; Kentucky)
Doug Gottlieb: (930; 79.5; North Carolina)

Mike Greenberg: (620; 22.8; North Carolina)
Mike Golic: (1,020; 90.6; Kentucky)

Colin Cowherd: (940; 81.2; Kentucky)
Michelle Beadle: (460; 5.9; Baylor)

Michael Wilbon: (840; 61.2; Kentucky)
Tony Kornheiser: (930; 79.5; North Carolina)

Scott Van Pelt: (970; 85.5; Kentucky)

LeBron James: (840; 61.2; Kentucky)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (880; 70.3; Kentucky)

America's bracket: (940; 81.2; Kentucky)

Less than one percent nailed Final Four

March, 25, 2012
3/25/12
7:53
PM ET
A total of 25,304 brackets, or 0.4 percent of the 6.45 million brackets entered in Tournament Challenge got the entire Final Four correct. That's a far cry from the two brackets to get the entire Final Four correct last year.

Final Four bracket correctness
All four teams
: 0.4 percent
Three teams: 9.3 percent
Two teams: 34.4 percent
One team: 41.3 percent
No teams: 14.6 percent

As for Sunday's results, a whopping 68.3 percent of brackets had Kentucky in the Final Four, while 18.2 percent had Kansas in the Final Four as well, meaning 20.9 percent of brackets got both of Sunday's games correct.

Meanwhile, North Carolina was the second-most popular pick in the game, as 17.9 percent of brackets had the Tar Heels winning the championship (including President Obama) and 40 percent of brackets had them in the Final Four. Also worth noting is that 24.1 percent of brackets had Kentucky facing North Carolina for the national title.

There are 11 brackets tied for the lead heading into the Final Four with 1,140 points. Six of the brackets have Kentucky winning, three have Ohio State, two have Kansas. (Note: The winner of the grand prize isn't necessarily the entry with the most points at the end of the tournament, but rather a drawing of entries that score in the top 1 percent of the game.)

President Obama's bracket
While the president did get Kentucky in the Final Four, his bracket was busted when his national championship pick North Carolina lost to Kansas. Overall, he got two Final Four teams (Kentucky, Ohio State) and a team in the national title game still alive (Kentucky). He has 860 points, ranked in the 96.1 percentile overall, but can only get 160 more points from Kentucky reaching the national title game.

Brackets picking national champion:
Kentucky
: 35.1 percent
Kansas: 6.2 percent
Ohio State: 4.8 percent
Louisville: 0.8 percent

Brackets picking teams to reach the national title game:
Kentucky
: 52 percent
Kansas: 18.2 percent
Ohio State: 12.2 percent
Louisville: 1.8 percent

Brackets picking these potential national title matchups:
Kentucky/Kansas
: 9.8 percent
Kentucky/Ohio State: 6.1 percent
Louisville/Kansas: 0.3 percent (17,041 brackets)
Louisville/Ohio State: 0.2 percent (15,370 brackets)

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile; Final Four teams remaining; National champion pick)
President Obama: (860; 96.1; 2; North Carolina)
Jay Bilas: (780; 83.8; 2; Kentucky)
Andy Katz: (700; 59.9; 2; Kentucky)
Dick Vitale: (530; 14.3; 1; Kentucky)
Doug Gottlieb: (770; 81.3; 2; North Carolina)
Mike Greenberg: (620; 34.5; 1; North Carolina)
Mike Golic: (860; 96.1; 2; Kentucky)
Colin Cowherd: (780; 83.8; 2; Kentucky)
Michelle Beadle: (460; 6.3; 0; Baylor)
Michael Wilbon: (680; 53.4; 1; Kentucky)
Tony Kornheiser: (770; 81.3; 2; North Carolina)
Scott Van Pelt: (810; 89.8; 2; Kentucky)
LeBron James: (680; 53.4; 2; Kentucky)
Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (720; 67.3; 1; Kentucky)
America's bracket: (780; 83.8; 2; Kentucky)

2 percent of brackets have both teams

March, 24, 2012
3/24/12
10:17
PM ET
Only 2 percent of the 6.45 million Tournament Challenge brackets got both Louisville and Ohio State to reach the Final Four. That would be because just 6.8 percent of brackets had Louisville in the Final Four (highest of the No. 4 seeds, though), compared to 34.4 percent for Ohio State (even more than No. 1 seed Syracuse, which was picked to advance in 22.8 percent of brackets).

There are three brackets (here, here and here) tied for the lead with 1,010 points, and each has a different team winning the championship. (Note: The winner of the grand prize isn't necessarily the entry with the most points at the end of the tournament, but rather a drawing of entries that score in the top 1 percent of the game.)

President Obama's bracket

The president got Ohio State into the Final Four but missed Louisville. His other two Final Four teams (Kentucky and North Carolina) are still alive. He has 780 points, ranked in the 98.4 percentile overall.

Looking ahead to Sunday

Percent of brackets picking each team to reach the Final Four:

Kentucky: 68.3 percent
Baylor: 10.6 percent
North Carolina: 57.0 percent
Kansas: 18.2 percent

Percent picking these combinations of teams to reach the Final Four:

Kentucky/North Carolina: 41.6 percent
Kentucky/Kansas: 20.9 percent
Baylor/North Carolina: 5.3 percent
Baylor/Kansas: 3.4 percent

Percent picking these entire Final Four combinations:

Louisville/Ohio State/Kentucky/North Carolina: 0.7 percent (48,110 total)
Louisville/Ohio State/Kentucky/Kansas: 0.4 percent (25,304 total)
Louisville/Ohio State/Baylor/North Carolina: 0.1 percent (7,211 total)
Louisville/Ohio State/Baylor/Kansas: 0.1 percent (4,255 total)

Brackets to pick national champion among remaining teams

Kentucky: 35.1 percent
North Carolina 17.9 percent
Kansas: 6.2 percent
Ohio State: 4.8 percent
Baylor: 1.7 percent
Louisville: 0.8 percent

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile; Final Four teams remaining)

President Obama: (780; 98.4; 3)

Jay Bilas: (700; 88.8; 3)
Andy Katz: (620; 63.2; 3)
Dick Vitale: (450; 9.4; 2)
Doug Gottlieb: (690; 86.3; 3)

Mike Greenberg: (540; 32.5; 2)
Mike Golic: (780; 98.4; 3)

Colin Cowherd: (620; 63.2; 2)
Michelle Beadle: (460; 11.0; 1)

Michael Wilbon: (600; 55.6; 1)
Tony Kornheiser: (690; 86.3; 3)

Scott Van Pelt: (730; 94.2; 3)

LeBron James: (600; 55.6; 3)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (640; 71.3; 2)

America's bracket: (700; 88.8; 3)

Chalky Friday good news for brackets

March, 24, 2012
3/24/12
1:26
AM ET
There are 3,585 brackets out of a total 6.45 million with the entire Elite Eight correct. The fact that all high seeds advanced Friday help keep that number relatively high. In fact, 26.6 percent of all brackets went 4-for-4 on Friday's games, including President Obama's. A whopping 63.9 percent of brackets correctly picked the North Carolina-Kansas regional final, while 38.7 percent predicted Kentucky-Baylor.

There's a six-way tie atop the leaderboard through the Sweet 16 games with 820 points, even all three of those brackets missed one of the Elite Eight teams. There's an eight-way tie for fourth place, including six of the brackets with the entire Elite Eight correct.

President Obama's bracket
The president went 4-0 on Friday, meaning he got six of the Elite Eight correct (missing only Michigan State and Missouri). He's in the 98.8th percentile with three of his Final Four teams and both championship game teams still alive.

Looking ahead to the Elite Eight
Percent of brackets picking each team to reach the Final Four:
Ohio State: 34.4 percent
Syracuse: 28.8 percent

Louisville: 6.8 percent
Florida: 2.4 percent

Kentucky: 68.3 percent
Baylor: 10.6 percent

North Carolina: 57.0 percent
Kansas: 18.2 percent

Percent picking these combinations of teams to reach the Final Four:
Saturday's games
Syracuse/Louisville: 1.7 percent
Syracuse/Florida: 0.5 percent
Ohio State/Louisville: 2 percent
Ohio State/Florida: 0.6 percent

Sunday's games
Kentucky/North Carolina: 41.6 percent
Kentucky/Kansas: 20.9 percent
Baylor/North Carolina: 5.3 percent
Baylor/Kansas: 3.4 percent

Brackets to pick national champion among remaining teams
Kentucky: 35.1 percent
North Carolina: 17.9 percent
Kansas: 6.2 percent
Syracuse: 5.1 percent
Ohio State: 4.8 percent
Baylor: 1.7 percent
Louisville: 0.8 percent
Florida: 0.3 percent

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile; Final Four teams remaining)
President Obama: (700; 98.8; 3)

Jay Bilas: (620; 81.6; 3)
Dick Vitale: (540; 41.2; 3)
Doug Gottlieb: (610; 77.3; 4)

Mike Greenberg: (540; 41.2; 3)
Mike Golic: (700; 98.8; 3)

Colin Cowherd: (620; 81.6; 3)
Michelle Beadle: (460; 12.8; 1)

Michael Wilbon: (600; 72.7; 1)
Tony Kornheiser: (610; 77.3; 3)

Scott Van Pelt: (650; 92.3; 3)

LeBron James: (520; 31.8; 3)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (640; 89.8; 3)
America's bracket: (620; 81.6; 3)

Thursday puts dent in more brackets

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
12:57
AM ET
Only 0.3 percent of brackets (18,562 total out of 6.45 million) got all four of the Sweet 16 games correct on Thursday, thanks in large part to the West Region, where underdogs Louisville and Florida reached the Elite Eight.

Louisville's upset of No. 1 seed Michigan State had the biggest effect on brackets Thursday. The Spartans were picked in 70.9 percent of brackets to reach the Elite Eight, the fourth-most popular in the game, and were picked to win it all in 7.5 percent of brackets (third-most in the game). Meanwhile, Florida was picked to reach the Elite Eight in just 6.4 percent of brackets, by far the lowest number of Thursday's winners, while Louisville was picked on just 19 percent of brackets. Altogether, just 1.5 percent of brackets have the Louisville-Florida matchup in the Elite Eight.

Over in the East Region, 25.1 percent correctly picked the Syracuse-Ohio State matchup, although that number is the lowest of the potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups in a regional final.

The leader in the game currently has 720 points after getting all four games right Thursday. It was one of the three brackets to get every Sweet 16 teams correct. Interesting to note is that bracket has Indiana and Xavier reaching the Elite Eight out of the South Region.

President Obama's bracket

The President went 2-2 on Thursday, getting both games right in the East Region, but missing both in the West (he had Missouri coming out of that bracket). He's still in the 97th percentile with three of his Final Four teams still alive.

Looking ahead to Friday:

Percentage of brackets picking these potential Elite Eight matchups:

North Carolina-Kansas: 63.9 percent
North Carolina-NC State: 2.6 percent
Ohio-Kansas: 9,211 (0.1 percent)
Ohio-NC State: 2,913

Kentucky-Baylor: 38.7 percent
Kentucky-Xavier: 0.7 percent (46,673)
Indiana-Baylor: 2.7 percent
Indiana-Xavier: 0.1 percent (8,485)

Brackets to pick national champion among remaining teams (reaching Final Four in parentheses)

Kentucky: 35.1 percent (68.3 percent)
North Carolina 17.9 percent (57 percent)
Kansas: 6.2 percent (30.1 percent)
Syracuse: 5.1 percent (22.8 percent)
Ohio State: 4.8 percent (34.4 percent)
Baylor: 1.7 percent (10.6 percent)
Louisville: 0.8 percent (6.8 percent)
Florida: 0.3 percent (2.4 percent)
NC State: 0.2 percent (1 percent)
Xavier: 2,886 total (0.3 percent)
Ohio: 1,405 total (0.1 percent)

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile; Final Four teams remaining)

President Obama: (540; 97.0; 3)

Jay Bilas: (500; 85.7; 3)
Dick Vitale: (370; 18.5; 3)
Doug Gottlieb: (450; 58.7; 4)

Mike Greenberg: (420; 39.4; 3)
Mike Golic: (540; 97.0; 3)

Colin Cowherd: (500; 85.7; 3)
Michelle Beadle: (420; 39.4; 1)

Michael Wilbon: (480; 76.5; 1)
Tony Kornheiser: (490; 81.3; 3)

Scott Van Pelt: (490; 81.3; 3)

LeBron James: (400; 27.9; 3)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (520; 93.2; 3)

America's bracket: (500; 85.7; 11/3)

Only three had all Sweet 16

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
1:00
AM ET
Thanks to a handful of double-digit seeds reaching the Sweet 16, there are just three brackets out of 6.45 million in Tournament Challenge to get all 16 teams correct. Another 121 got 15 of 16 correct. On the other end of the spectrum, there were 1,973 brackets with no Sweet 16 teams.

The current leader in the game has 580 points and did get all the Sweet 16 teams correctly.

Another of the perfect Sweet 16s is tied for third overall. The third did not rank among the top 100 on the leaderboard. (Note: The grand prize winner is not necessarily the one with the most points at the end of the tournament, but rather from a random drawing of brackets finishing in the top one percent in the standings.)

Despite some of the upsets, an all-chalk bracket (picking the higher seeds) would still result in getting 11 Sweet 16 teams correctly and placing in the 92.4 percentile overall.

Percentage of brackets picking each region's Sweet 16 teams correctly:
  • East (Syracuse, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati): 5.5 percent
  • South (Kentucky, Baylor, Indiana, Xavier): 1.3 percent
  • West (Michigan State, Marquette, Louisville, Florida): 4.3 percent
  • Midwest (North Carolina, Kansas, NC State, Ohio): 0.7
Sweet 16 teams picked by the fewest number of Tournament Challenge brackets (all played on Sunday):
  • No. 13 Ohio: 4.2 percent
  • No. 10 Xavier: 5.0 percent
  • No. 7 Florida: 11.9 percent
  • No. 6 Cincinnati: 17.5 percent
  • No. 11 NC State: 18.2 percent
More on those low-number seeds:

NC State over Georgetown

NC State was picked to reach the Sweet 16 in 18.5 percent of Tournament Challenge brackets, by far the best number for a double-digit seed. They were also picked in President Obama's bracket. Just 3.3 percent of brackets have NC State in the Elite Eight and 1.0 percent in the Final Four.

Ohio over USF

4.2 percent of Tournament Challenge brackets picked Ohio to reach the Sweet 16, although it was the best total among the No. 13 seeds. Just 0.2 percent have the Bobcats in the Final Four.

Xavier over Lehigh

5.0 percent of Tournament Challenge brackets had Xavier in the Sweet 16, and 0.3 percent have the Musketeers in the Final Four. Interestingly, of the brackets that successfully picked both Xavier and Lehigh to meet in the Round of 32 (46,796 brackets), Lehigh was actually picked in more brackets (24,368-22,428).

Florida over Norfolk State

The Gators are the most popular No. 7 seed in Tournament Challenge when it comes to making the Sweet 16 (11.9 percent) and reaching the Final Four (2.4 percent).

Cincinnati over Florida State

While the Bearcats were selected in just 17.5 percent of brackets to reach the Sweet 16, the upset had a much bigger effect on the bracket because Florida State was picked to reach the Final Four in 26.3 percent of brackets (even more than a No. 1 seed in Syracuse and a No. 2 seed in Duke) and to win it all in 2.8 percent.

Most popular picks to win title still alive:
  • Kentucky: 35.1 percent
  • North Carolina: 17.9 percent
  • Michigan State: 7.5 percent
  • Kansas: 6.2 percent
  • Syracuse: 5.1 percent
  • Ohio State: 4.8 percent
  • Baylor: 1.7 percent
  • Louisville: 0.8 percent
Percentage of total brackets to reach Elite Eight/Final Four/Title Game/Win Title for each Sweet 16 team:

East

Syracuse: 48.3/22.8/11/5.1
Ohio State: 50.1/34.4/12.2/4.8
Wisconsin: 16.9/3.9/1.0/0.37
Cincinnati: 5.0/2.1/0.58/0.19

South

Kentucky: 84.4/68.3/52.0/35.1
Baylor: 44.7/10.6/4.4/1.7
Indiana: 6.9/2.8/1.2/0.6
Xavier: 1.2/0.26/0.10/2,886 total

West

Michigan State: 70.9/36.0/13.2/7.5
Marquette: 19.0/7.7/1.8/0.64
Louisville: 19.0/6.8/1.8/0.77
Florida: 6.4/2.4/0.66/0.32

Midwest

North Carolina: 85.5/57.0/40.0/17.9
Kansas: 72.3/30.1/18.2/6.2
NC State: 3.3/1.0/0.32/0.15
Ohio: 0.4/0.15/3,271/1,405

President Obama's bracket

The president missed four games on Sunday, but three of those games involved teams who lost on Friday (Duke, Missouri, Michigan). He also lost the Cincinnati-Florida State game, but did get NC State over Georgetown. He's got 460 points, good for the 98th percentile. He has 12 of his Sweet 16 alive but is missing a Final Four team (Missouri)

Notable brackets (Total points, percentile; Sweet 16 teams/Final Four teams remaining)

President Obama: (460; 98.0; 11/3)

Jay Bilas: (460; 98.0; 10/4)

Dick Vitale: (370; 33.2; 8/2)

Andy Katz: (340; 14.6; 7/3)

Doug Gottlieb: (340; 14.6; 8/4 -- has Florida)

Mike Greenberg: (340; 14.6; 8/4)

Mike Golic: (460; 98.0; 11/3 -- has NC State and Ohio)

Colin Cowherd: (420; 79.0; 11/4)

Michelle Beadle: (380; 41.8; 8/1)

Michael Wilbon: (440; 92.4; 10/3)

Tony Kornheiser: (450; 95.7; 12/4 -- has NC State and Florida)

Scott Van Pelt: (410; 70.5; 10/4)

LeBron James: (320; 7.9; 7/3)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (440; 92.4; 11/4)

America's bracket: (420; 79.0; 11/3)

After calmer Saturday, a four-way tie

March, 18, 2012
3/18/12
12:53
AM ET
On a day in which all the higher-seeded teams won, 8.95 percent of 6.45 million brackets got all eight games correct Saturday. It was a far cry from Friday's upset-filled day.

There are four brackets tied for the Tournament Challenge lead at 450 points, getting all eight games right on Saturday and missing just three games each in the round of 64. (There were four brackets with two losses, and 49 with three losses, in the round of 64.)

Each of the four leaders missed the Norfolk State and Lehigh upsets, and three of the brackets have either Duke or Missouri winning the title. (Note: The grand prize winner in the game is not necessarily the bracket with the most points at the end of the tournament. The winner is drawn from a pool of brackets to finish among the top 1 percent.)

Even though all the higher seeds won on Saturday, there was one "upset" when it came to Tournament Challenge user picks. No. 4 seed Wisconsin was the underdog in Tournament Challenge brackets, picked to reach the Sweet 16 in 41.3 percent of brackets, compared to 52.3 percent for No. 5 seed Vanderbilt. The Badgers had the least support among top-four seeds to reach the Sweet 16.

Other Tournament Challenge notes from Saturday's games:
  • Picking an all-chalk bracket would net 380 points in the game and place in the 97.4 percentile right now.
  • Indiana was the other team beside Wisconsin to reach the Sweet 16 that was named in fewer than 60 percent of brackets (53.2 percent)
  • Syracuse had the fewest brackets among the top two seeds to reach the Sweet 16 (80.9 percent).
President Obama's bracket

The president went 7-1 on Saturday (only missing the Louisville game) and now has 380 points, good for the 97.4 percentile overall (although he is already down one Final Four team in Missouri). Also worth noting for Sunday's action is that he took No. 11 NC State over No. 3 Georgetown as his one major Cinderella team.

And speaking of Sunday's action, with a whole bunch of Cinderellas playing after pulling off upsets on Friday, here's how many users picked them to go to the Sweet 16:

No. 15 Norfolk State: 0.5 percent
No. 15 Lehigh: 0.54 percent
No. 13 Ohio: 4.2 percent
No. 12 USF: 6.3 percent
No. 11 NC State: 18.5 percent (President Obama has NC State in the Sweet 16)
No. 10 Purdue: 3.5 percent
No. 10 Xavier: 5 percent
No. 9 Saint Louis: 1.6 percent

Meanwhile, the percentage of brackets that picked these double-digit seeds facing off:

No. 10 Xavier vs. No. 15 Lehigh: 0.73 percent
No. 12 USF vs. No. 13 Ohio: 3.5 percent

Notable brackets (total points; percentile)

President Obama: (380; 97.4)

Dick Vitale: (310; 38.6)

Jay Bilas: (380; 97.4)

Andy Katz: (280; 16.0)

Doug Gottlieb: (260; 7.9)

Mike Greenberg: (270; 11.3)

Mike Golic: (360; 86.8)

Colin Cowherd: (360; 86.8)

Michelle Beadle: (340; 69.6)

Michael Wilbon: (360; 86.8)

Tony Kornheiser: (350; 79.0)

Scott Van Pelt: (310; 38.6)

LeBron James: (280; 16.0)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (380; 97.4)

America's bracket: (360; 86.8)

30-2 the best bracket after Round of 64

March, 17, 2012
3/17/12
1:08
AM ET
After a crazy evening of upsets, there are no more perfect brackets (out of 6.45 million) in Tournament Challenge. In fact, the best record after the Round of 64 is 30-2, shared by just four people. Another 49 brackets went 29-3. There were five brackets that went 5-27 in the Round of 64, the worst brackets entered. Another 21 brackets had just six wins in the Round of 64.

The number of total perfect brackets was slashed to just two after No. 15 seed Norfolk State's upset of Missouri, and then Saint Louis' win over Memphis did in the final two perfect brackets. The simultaneous upsets by No. 15 Lehigh (over Duke) and No. 13 seed Ohio (over Michigan) slashed the number of high-scoring brackets even further. USF's win over Temple and Xavier's win over Notre Dame further leveled the playing field.

Percentage of brackets picking the major upsets on Friday:
  • 1.18 percent Lehigh over Duke
  • 1.20 percent Norfolk State over Missouri
  • 11.7 percent Ohio over Michigan
And yes, there were those who picked more than one of those upsets:
  • 24,492 brackets picked Lehigh, Norfolk State and Ohio to win in the Round of 64.
  • 31,183 brackets picked both Lehigh and Norfolk State to win in the Round of 64; 17,762 have Lehigh and Norfolk State in the Sweet 16.
  • 40,289 brackets picked both Lehigh and Ohio to win in the Round of 64; 18,223 to the Sweet 16.
  • 40,837 brackets picked both Norfolk State and Ohio to win the Round of 64; 17,696 to the Sweet 16
Notes on Friday's big upsets and its effect on the Tournament Challenge game:

Norfolk State over Missouri

1.2 percent of 6.45 million Tournament Challenge brackets selected Norfolk State to win in the Round of 64, the fifth-lowest total. And just 838 brackets have Norfolk State winning it all, the fewest of all the teams in the tournament.

The timing of the loss knocked down the number of perfect brackets in the game at that time from 1,607 to just 2.

Missouri was one of the most popular picks in the game with 7.1 percent of brackets had Missouri winning it all, the fourth-most popular pick. The Tigers were the third-most popular pick to reach the Final Four at 40.8 percent. That includes President Obama's bracket.

Lehigh over Duke

1.18 percent of brackets out of 6.45 million picked the Lehigh upset. Just 1,020 brackets have Lehigh winning it all (fourth fewest overall), compared to the 838 picking Norfolk State to win.

3.7 percent of all brackets had Duke winning the championship (eighth-most) and 12.9 percent reaching the Final Four (the lowest of all the No. 2 seeds).

Duke/Missouri Tournament Challenge facts
  • 4 percent of brackets had both Duke and Missouri meeting in the Final Four.
  • Interestingly, while Duke and Missouri were both picked to win in the Round of 64 in 98.8 percent of brackets (best among No. 2 seeds), they had the least support among the No. 2 seeds to reach the Sweet 16 (Kansas, 90.6 percent; Ohio State, 87.6 percent; Duke 86.4 percent; Missouri, 84.8 percent).
Ohio over Michigan

Just 11.7 percent of brackets picked the Bobcats over the Wolverines. While 4.2 percent of brackets have Ohio in the Sweet 16, that is the highest total among the 13 seeds. Ohio is picked in 1,405 brackets to win it all.

Other notes from Friday's action:
  • 46,796 brackets (0.7 percent) have No. 15 Lehigh facing No. 10 Xavier in the Round of 32.
  • No. 11 seed NC State was actually a slight favorite (50.4 percent) in its win over No. 6 seed San Diego State. And 18.5 percent of brackets have NC State in the Sweet 16.
  • Just 28.2 percent of brackets picked No. 9 seed Saint Louis to win. No. 12 seed USF was picked to win in 24.3 percent of brackets. However, just 1.6 percent of brackets have Saint Louis in the Sweet 16, compared to 6.3 percent for USF.
  • While Kentucky is the most popular pick to win it all, reach the title game and reach the Final Four, North Carolina has the most brackets reaching the Sweet 16 (94.9 percent-92.2 percent) and Elite Eight (85.5-84.4).
President Obama's bracket

After a solid 14-2 effort on Thursday, the president went 10-6 on Friday. He lost a Final Four team in Missouri and two more Sweet 16 teams in Duke and Michigan (he did not have the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight, though). He currently sits in the 97.1 percentile in the game.

Round of 64 records (Total record; Friday; Thursday records; percentile)

President Obama: (24-8; 10-6; 14-2; 97.1)

Dick Vitale: (21-11; 9-7; 12-4; 58.0)

Jay Bilas: (26-6; 12-4; 14-2; 99.9)

Andy Katz: (20-12; 9-7; 11-5; 37.1)

Doug Gottlieb: (18-14; 8-8; 10-6; 10.2)

Mike Greenberg: (17-15; 7-9; 10-6; 4.8)

Mike Golic: (24-8; 11-5; 13-3; 97.1)

Colin Cowherd: (20-12; 8-8; 12-4; 37.1)

Michelle Beadle: (22-10; 9-7; 13-3; 78.4)

Michael Wilbon: (24-8; 12-4; 12-4; 97.1)

Tony Kornheiser: (21-11; 10-6; 11-5; 58.0)

Scott Van Pelt: (21-11; 10-6; 11-5; 58.0)

LeBron James: (18-14; 7-9; 11-5; 10.2)

Chalk bracket (picking all higher seeds): (22-10; 8-8; 14-2; 78.4)

America's bracket: (22-10; 9-7; 13-3; 78.4)

No more perfect brackets; 1 with 1 loss

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
9:58
PM ET
There are no more perfect brackets and just one bracket (out of 6.45 million) to get 27 of 28 games correct heading into the last set of games (http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/en/entry?entryID=840865). This bracket did get the Lehigh-Duke win but not the Norfolk State-Missouri upset.
There are another 40 brackets with just two losses.

31,183 brackets picked both Lehigh and Norfolk State to win in the round of 64.
24,492 brackets picked Lehigh, Norfolk State and Ohio to win.

Lehigh upsets Duke
1.2 percent of brackets out of 6.45 million picked the Lehigh upset. Just 1,020 brackets have Lehigh winning it all (fourth fewest overall), compared to the 838 picking Norfolk State to win.
3.7 percent of all brackets had Duke winning the championship (eighth-most) and 12.9 percent reaching the Final Four (the lowest of all the No. 2 seeds).

Ohio upsets Michigan
Just 11.7 percent of brackets picked the Bobcats over the Wolverines. 4.2 percent of brackets have Ohio in the Sweet 16, but that is the highest total among the 13 seeds.

13,570 perfect brackets remain

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
1:12
AM ET
There were just 13,570 perfect brackets remaining after the first day of the Round of 64. There are about 172,000 brackets with just one loss. (Also amusing are the eight brackets with no picks right today.)

The three biggest bracket busters Thursday were No. 11 seed Colorado (picked to win in just 23.1 percent of brackets), No. 8 seed Iowa State (32.4 percent) and No. 12 seed VCU (37.2 percent). A total of 2.9 percent of brackets had all three of these teams winning.

Of those three teams, users are most confident in VCU reaching the Sweet 16, picked in 12.2 percent of brackets, compared to just 3 percent for Colorado and 1.5 percent for Iowa State. A total of 2,589 brackets have all three of these teams in the Sweet 16.

President Obama went 14-2 on Thursday, missing Gonzaga and Colorado. He did pick VCU and Iowa State, two of the first day’s biggest bracket busters.

Day 1 records

President Obama: 14-2

Dick Vitale: 12-4
Jay Bilas: 14-2
Andy Katz: 11-5
Doug Gottlieb: 10-6

Mike Greenberg: 10-6
Mike Golic: 13-3

Colin Cowherd: 12-4
Michelle Beadle: 13-3

Michael Wilbon: 12-4
Tony Kornheiser: 11-5

Scott Van Pelt: 11-5

LeBron James: 11-5

Plenty of perfect brackets out there

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
7:22
PM ET
With all the higher seeds advancing over the first eight games on Thursday, there are still roughly 35.5 percent perfect brackets (about 2.29 million) out of the 6.45 million entered in Tournament Challenge. Another 2.23 million brackets (34.6 percent) got seven of the first eight games right.

President Obama's bracket was among the 2.29 million to get the first eight games correct.

Couple of other fun facts from the brackets:

Percentage of brackets picking all four No. 1 seeds to:

... Reach the Final Four: 4.3 percent
... Reach the Elite Eight: 28.3 percent
... Reach the Sweet 16: 67.9 percent
... Win in the Round of 64: 97.7 percent

The teams picked by the fewest numbers of brackets to win it all:
  • Norfolk State: 838
  • New Mexico State: 856
  • Loyola (MD): 942
  • Lehigh: 1,020
Links to other notable brackets:

Dick Vitale
Jay Bilas
Andy Katz
Doug Gottlieb

Mike Greenberg
Mike Golic

Colin Cowherd
Michelle Beadle

Michael Wilbon
Tony Kornheiser

Scott Van Pelt

LeBron James

Kentucky, UNC popular picks to win title

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
1:14
PM ET
This year, there were 6.45 million brackets entered in Tournament Challenge. Last year, there were 5.9 million brackets entered in the game.

Here are some stats with some of the most popular user picks:

The most popular picks to win the championship:
Kentucky -- 35.1 percent
North Carolina -- 17.9 percent
Michigan State -- 7.5 percent
Missouri -- 7.2 percent
Kansas -- 6.2 percent
Syracuse -- 5.1 percent
Ohio State -- 4.8 percent
Duke -- 3.7 percent
Florida State -- 2.8 percent
Baylor -- 1.7 percent

Kentucky (52 percent) and North Carolina (40 percent) are the most popular picks to reach the title game, and 24.1 percent of brackets have those two meeting for the championship.

Most popular Final Four picks coming out of each region:

South
1. Kentucky -- 68.3 percent
2. Duke -- 12.9 percent

West
2. Missouri -- 40.8 percent
1. Michigan State -- 39.6 percent

East
2. Ohio State -- 34.4 percent
3. Florida State -- 26.3 percent
1. Syracuse -- 22.8 percent

Midwest
1. North Carolina -- 57 percent
2. Kansas -- 30.1 percent

President's Obama's bracket is here: A total of 7.6 percent of brackets have the same Final Four (Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, Missouri) as the president.

No Melo changes bracket minds

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
8:08
PM ET
Just in the few hours since Fab Melo was declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament, Syracuse's popularity in Tournament Challenge has taken a tumble and likely will continue to fall.

Stats as of 7:40 p.m. ET (3.3 million brackets)

Percentage picking Syracuse
... to win it all: 8.82 percent (was 10.57 percent at 3 p.m.); still third-most popular pick behind Kentucky and North Carolina. Michigan State (7.34 percent) and Missouri (7.22 percent) are not far behind.
... to reach the championship game: 18.62 percent (was 22.16 percent at 3 p.m.); also third-most popular pick, but Kansas (17.45 percent) is close behind.
... to reach the Final Four: 35.27 percent (was 41.23 percent at 3 p.m.); now the fifth-most popular pick to reach the Final Four with No. 2 seed Missouri (40.36 percent) and fellow No. 1 seed Michigan State (35.41 percent) ahead of Syracuse.

Also of note, 11.85 percent of brackets have Syracuse failing to advance to the Sweet 16, the only No. 1 seed at more than 10 percent. And only 62.57 percent of brackets have Syracuse in the Elite Eight, the fewest of all the No. 1 seeds and even behind No. 2 seeds Missouri and Kansas.

Barack Obama has revealed a Final Four of Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri and North Carolina.
  • Kentucky (67.32 percent), North Carolina (54.55 percent) and Missouri (40.36 percent) are the top three most popular picks to reach the Final Four. Ohio State is seventh overall (26.51 percent).
  • A total of 5 percent of Tournament Challenge entries have the same Final Four as the president.
A couple of other notable Tournament Challenge trends so far:
  • Only two lower seeds are predicted to win in the round of 64: No. 9 seed UConn (69.03 percent) over No. 8 seed Iowa State; No. 11 seed NC State (50.92 percent) over No. 6 seed San Diego State.
  • The 7-10 matchup between Gonzaga (50.36 percent) and West Virginia (49.64 percent) is the closest battle.
  • The most popular No. 12 seed to pull off a round of 64 upset is VCU (facing Wichita State) at 37.41 percent.

Syracuse's bracket popularity update

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
3:28
PM ET
Syracuse's popularity in Tournament Challenge is likely to drop with center Fab Melo now ruled out of the tournament. Here are the current stats on how far users have picked the Orange in Tournament Challenge. An update will be sent later in the day as to how much Syracuse's numbers have changed.

Stats as of 3 p.m. ET (2.94 million brackets):

Percentage picking Syracuse to win it all: 10.57 percent (third overall behind Kentucky and North Carolina).

To reach the championship game: 22.16 percent (also third behind Kentucky and UNC)

To reach the Final Four: 41.23 percent (also third).

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