Press Release

Posted by Kristie Chong-Adler on March 24, 2014

No Perfect Brackets out of 11.01 Million Submitted to ESPN.com Men’s Tournament Challenge

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Only One Perfect Bracket Remains through Round of 64 in Women’s Tournament Challenge

ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge

ESPN.com’s Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Acura and Allstate revealed no perfect brackets remaining out of more than 11.01 million submitted after Stephen F. Austin’s win over VCU knocked out the last three remaining perfect brackets on ESPN.com during the second day of competition.  The first four days of competition featured 13 upsets through 48 games, resulting in only three brackets that correctly picked every Sweet Sixteen team and 99 brackets that went 15 for 16.  An analysis of “bracket busters” in more than 11.01 million brackets submitted reveals:

  • No. 8 Kentucky shocks undefeated no. 1 Wichita State
    • 29.2% of brackets picked the Wildcats to advance to the Sweet Sixteen
    • Of the 76.3% of brackets that predicted Kentucky vs. Wichita State in the Round of 32, 28.6% of them correctly picked the Wildcats to upset the Shockers
    • Kentucky busted 5.9% of brackets that picked Wichita State to win it all
  • No. 11 Dayton upsets no. 6 Ohio State and no. 3 Syracuse
    • 19.7% of brackets picked the Flyers to win over the Buckeyes
    • Only 3.9% had Dayton reaching the Sweet Sixteen
    • Dayton busted 3.6% of brackets that had Syracuse winning it all
  • No. 10 Stanford survives and advances against no. 7 New Mexico and no. 2 Kansas
    • Stanford was picked by 38% of brackets to prevail over the Lobos, knocking out 1,920 perfect brackets in the process
    • Of the 36.4% of brackets that accurately predicted a Stanford vs. Kansas matchup, only 3.3% of them correctly picked the Cardinals to win over the Jayhawks
    • Stanford busted 5.5% of brackets that had Kansas winning it all
  • No. 7 Connecticut prevails in overtime vs. no. 10 St. Joseph’s, upsets no. 2 Villanova
    • 20.6% of brackets predicted that the Huskies would advance to the Sweet Sixteen
    • Of the 68% of brackets that accurately predicted a Connecticut vs. Villanova matchup, 19.2% of them correctly picked the Huskies to win over the Wildcats
    • Connecticut busted 1.2% of brackets that had Villanova winning it all
  • No. 14 Mercer stuns in win over no. 3 Duke
    • Only 3.3% of brackets predicted the Bears to upset the Blue Devils
    • Mercer busted 5.3% of brackets that had Duke winning it all
  • No. 11 Tennessee defeats no. 6 Massachusetts, advances past Mercer to Sweet Sixteen
    • 43.3% of brackets accurately predicted the Vols to win over the Minutemen
    • Only 4.9% of brackets correctly picked Tennessee to make it to the Sweet Sixteen
    • Of the 1.7% of brackets that predicted a Tennessee vs. Mercer match-up, 50.6% picked the Vols to win
  • No. 12 seeds Stephen F. Austin, Harvard and North Dakota State
    • Just 4.2% of brackets correctly picked all three no. 12 seeds to defeat their no. 5 opponents in the Round of 64
    • Stephen F. Austin was the least popular pick of the three with just 20.9% of brackets predicting they would win over no. 5 VCU
    • Harvard’s upset over no. 5 Cincinnati was the most popular pick of the three, predicted by 31.3% of brackets
    • 23.6% of brackets correctly picked North Dakota State over no. 5 Oklahoma

Taking a look at picks of teams advancing to the Sweet Sixteen by region:

  • South – Only 9,206 brackets (0.1%) accurately picked Florida, UCLA, Dayton and Stanford
  • Midwest – Just 117,220 brackets (1.1%) correctly predicted Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Michigan
  • West8.8% of brackets accurately picked Arizona, San Diego State, Baylor and Wisconsin
  • East9.8% of brackets correctly predicted Virginia, Michigan State, Iowa State and Connecticut

Looking ahead to the Sweet Sixteen, FiveThirtyEight’s NCAA Tournament predictions reveal:

  • SouthFlorida is a heavy favorite to advance to the Elite Eight with a 72% chance, while Dayton vs. Stanford splits the odds with an even 50/50 chance of winning
  • MidwestLouisville and Michigan are predicted to move on from the Sweet Sixteen with a 68% and 53% chance, respectively
  • WestArizona is the overall favorite to advance to the Elite Eight with a 73% chance, while Wisconsin has a 59% chance of winning
  • EastConnecticut vs. Michigan State is the most likely match-up in the Elite Eight, with a 52% and 51% chance to move on, respectively

Fans submitted more than 11.01 million brackets to ESPN.com’s Men’s Tournament Challenge, an all-time record high surpassing last year’s record of nearly 8.15 million brackets by 35.1 percent.  At the peak period, fans registered 11,983 brackets per minute (199 brackets per second).  Among them was President Barack Obama, who currently sits in the 73.7th percentile with a rank of 2,895,198 in the men’s tournament.  He was one of 11.2% of brackets that correctly picked no. 12 seeds Harvard and North Dakota State to advance in the Round of 64.  His Final Four picks heading into the Sweet Sixteen are still in play (Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Louisville).  Additionally, the Mike & Mike Werner Ladder Bracket Challenge group includes a total of 985,000 brackets, by far the largest group in Men’s Tournament Challenge history.

Through the Round of 64 and Round of 32, Men’s Tournament Challenge and NCAA Men’s Basketball content on ESPN.com across desktop, mobile Web and the ESPN Tournament Challenge and SportsCenter apps logged an average minute audience of 373,000, up 11 percent compared to the same time period last year.  Across platforms, there were more than 5.5 million unique visitors per day to Men’s Tournament Challenge (up 21 percent) and 9.9 million unique visitors per day to the NCAA Men’s Basketball section across ESPN.com, mobile web, and the SportsCenter app (up 21 percent).

A full round-by-round breakdown of picks can be found under “Who Picked Whom” on ESPN.com, listing the percentage of participants who selected each team to win in each respective round.  At the end of the tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for the $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card prize.

ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge

The “National Bracket” in ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge presented by Capital One showed more fans picked no. 1 seeds Notre Dame, Tennessee, Connecticut and no. 2 seed Stanford to reach the Final Four than any other teams.  After two days of competition, only one bracket remains perfect in Women’s Tournament Challenge on ESPN.com.  An analysis of all brackets submitted reveals:

  • 13% of brackets correctly picked no. 12 BYU to upset no. 5 North Carolina State, including President Obama
  • 29% of brackets picked no. 10 Florida State to win against no. 7 Iowa State
  • 42% of brackets accurately predicted no. 9 Arizona State over no. 8 Vanderbilt

President Obama’s women’s bracket went 23 for 32 in the Round of 64 and currently sits in the 18.5th percentile.  His Final Four picks are still in play (Connecticut, Stanford, Notre Dame and Louisville).

Entries that finish in the top 1% of the Women’s Tournament Challenge are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card

2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament Across ESPN Digital Platforms

FiveThirtyEight founder and editor-in-chief Nate Silver will update his interactive bracket throughout the tournament, calculating the probability of each team’s chances of winning its next game and of going on to win the tournament.  Probabilities will be updated at the conclusion of each game.  He will also write periodic blog updates throughout the tournament.  The newly expanded site will also deliver other data-driven stories tied to brackets from other contributors including Carl Bialik (senior writer, news), Roger Pielke Jr. (contributor) and others.

ESPN.com will provide complete coverage of the men’s tournament from Selection Sunday through the Final Four. The lineup of experts and analysts includes Andrea Adelson, Eamonn Brennan, C.L. Brown, Kieran Darcy, Chantel Jennings, Andy Katz, Joe Lunardi, Myron Medcalf, Dana O’Neil, Rick Reilly, Adam Rittenberg, Mitch Sherman, Jake Trotter and Austin Ward, as well as ESPN Insiders Jeff Goodman and John Gasaway.  Collectively, they will break down the brackets and provide analysis, commentary and features.  Additionally, ESPN.com’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) will be available for fans to reference the latest power rankings by team to assist in their bracket picks.

espnW.com will also provide news, analysis and commentary throughout the women’s tournament, from Selection Monday through the Women’s Final Four in Nashville, Tenn. Columnists will provide live coverage of each round of games from coast to coast, with regular video highlights of the matchups. Other plans include contributions from ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo, the continued coverage of five top players in ESPN’s Need to Know initiative, stats, analysis and stories on other players to watch. Tourney Snapshots, which includes team- and fan-submitted social media photos and video with behind-the-scenes access to teams, players and coaches, will return for the second consecutive season.  The staff at espnW.com and a handful of WNBA players will also face off in a Women’s Tournament Challenge group.

ESPN Mobile will also carry complete coverage from writers and analysts, keeping fans up to date on the latest news and highlights on mobile devices via a special section on the ESPN mobile Web.  Additionally, fans can keep track of their brackets while on the go with the free-to-download ESPN Tournament Challenge app is now available in the App Store and Google Play.  The app features full access to brackets with personalized “My Bracket” and “Live Bracket” sections displaying scores and schedules during the tournament.  Fans can also sign up for ESPN Alerts to receive real-time information on the game (scores, starts, etc.), breaking news, upsets and more.

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