ESPN fans’ most popular “National Bracket” Final Four picks: Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Oklahoma; Kansas picked to win the title more than any other team; 1.5 million unique visitors per day on ESPN Tournament Challenge app, up 41 percent YOY.
Fans submitted 13.0 million brackets to ESPN’s Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Acura, Allstate and Microsoft, setting a new all-time mark that surpasses last year’s record of 11.6 million. At the peak period of entries this morning, fans registered 18,503 brackets per minute (308 brackets per second).
From Selection Sunday through Wednesday, the newly redesigned ESPN Tournament Challenge app averaged 1.5 million unique visitors per day and logged an average minute audience of 18,000, up +41 percent and +14 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. ESPN Tournament Challenge content on mobile web and app averaged 2.3 million unique visitors per day and logged an average minute audience of 21,000, an increase of +54 percent and +19 percent, respectively, over last year. Across all digital platforms, there were 3.8 million unique visitors per day to Men’s Tournament Challenge and 4.2 million unique visitors per day to ESPN’s NCAA Men’s Basketball section.
The Men’s Tournament Challenge “National Bracket” – which reflects the percentage of fans picking each match-up throughout the men’s tournament – shows that more people picked Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Oklahoma to reach the Final Four than any other teams. Kansas and Michigan State are picked to reach the national championship game more than any other teams, and Kansas is the most popular pick to win the title.
An analysis of National Bracket picks for the Round of 64 finds:
- No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Syracuse is the closest matchup in the round (51.8 percent to 48.2 percent)
- No. 3 percent of brackets picked Kansas over Austin Peay, the largest of any matchup in any round
- No. 9 UConn over No. 8 Colorado is the most picked upset (71.2 percent to 28.8 percent)
- No. 11 Gonzaga is picked in nearly half of brackets to upset No. 6 Seton Hall (47.3 percent to 52.7 percent)
Other notable National Bracket predictions:
- No. 4 Kentucky is picked to win the title in more brackets (5.0 percent) than either No. 1 Virginia (4.7 percent) or No. 1 Oregon (3.4 percent)
- In the East region, Xavier, despite being a No. 2 seed, ranks fourth among teams picked to win that region and advance to the Final Four (behind No. 1 North Carolina, No. 4 Kentucky and No. 3 West Virginia)
- Only one No. 3 seed, Texas A&M, ranks in the top 10 in terms of Final Four picks
A complete round-by-round breakdown of picks can be found in “Who Picked Whom” on ESPN.com, which lists 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 percent are entered in a random drawing to win a trip for two to the 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational and a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card prize. In the Women’s Tournament Challenge, entries that finish in the top 1 percent are entered in a random drawing for a $3,000 Amazon Gift Card. The Women’s Tournament Challenge will continue to accept registrations until 11:00 am ET tomorrow, Friday, March 18.
Coverage of Both Tournaments Across ESPN Digital Platforms
ESPN.com will provide complete coverage of the men’s tournament through the Final Four. ESPN’s lineup of experts and analysts includes Jeff Borzello, Eamonn Brennan, C.L. Brown, Dan Dakich, Fran Fraschilla, Seth Greenberg, Chantel Jennings, Andy Katz, Chris Low, Joe Lunardi, Myron Medcalf, Dana O’Neil, Mitch Sherman and Jake Trotter, as well as ESPN Insiders Jay Bilas, Jeff Goodman and John Gasaway. Collectively, they will break down the brackets and provide analysis, commentary and features throughout the tournament.
espnW.com will also provide news, analysis and commentary throughout the women’s tournament, including the Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis on ESPN. Columnists and analysts including Charlie Crème, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel will provide expert rankings and predictions, live coverage of each round of games from coast-to-coast and regular video highlights of the matchups.
Fans can keep track of their brackets while on the go with the newly redesigned ESPN Tournament Challenge app on iOS or Android. Packed with design and feature updates, the Tournament Challenge app includes an all-new vertical bracket, which allows users to navigate through each round of the tournament with a single swipe or skip to specific rounds by tapping the “Region” and “Round” navigations at the top and bottom. A BracketCast tab opens a personalized, live-scoring experience, while in-app alerts keep fans updated on action throughout the tournament.