March Madness: Who Yahoo users are picking in their NCAA tournament brackets
The NCAA Tournament is almost underway and countless basketball fans across the country have filled their tables ahead of the opening rounds on Thursday and Friday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, here’s who Sportzshala users pick in the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments.
[Free bracket contests for both tourneys | Printable Men’s | Women’s]
NCAA Men’s Draw: Alabama Most Popular Champion
Sportzshala users, at least for now, stick with the highest rated team.
Crimson Tide, who placed first overall in the tournament, were the most popular champions. In about 22% of cases, they won the championship, which is well ahead of the rest. While their season has been hijacked by controversy surrounding star Brandon Miller, Crimson Tide has made it through the SEC tournament with ease, and Miller is playing as well as he has all year.
Houston finished second with almost 14% of the grid. The Cougars enter the tournament after losing to Memphis in the title game of the American Athletic Conference tournament. If they can make it to the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston, they have a chance to win their first national championship at home.
Kansas was the only other school to receive double-digit support. The Jayhawks, who won last year, were selected to repeat in almost 13% of the draws. Perdue finished fourth with 8.4% of the grid, followed by Gonzaga and UCLA each with 6.3% of the grid.
Among men, the Final Four selection was very similar. Alabama was selected to reach the Final Four in almost 40% of the draws. Kansas and Houston were next, with almost 25% each. Purdue was then the fourth most popular team with 15.6%.
Out of tune: Boise State, Utah, Charleston.
Boise State was the most popular upset choice. The No. 10 Broncos will open against the No. 7 Northwest, who had an incredible Big Ten win this season. The Wildcats finished second in the conference, their best finish in 64 years.
Utah State was another popular 10-7 upset pick. The Aggies will open the tournament against Missouri, who finished fourth in the SEC this season.
Charleston was the fourth most popular choice in the Sportzshala rankings. The Cougars, after going 31-3 this season to win regular season and CAA tournament titles, will play the No. 5 seed in San Diego State on Thursday.
NCAA Women’s Bracket: South Carolina Overwhelming Favorite
Unlike the men’s side, there is one overwhelming choice in the women’s grid.
More than 50% of all participants have chosen South Carolina to win the women’s tournament this spring. The next closest was UConn, but he scored only 10.5% brackets. Stanford, Iowa and Indiana round out the top five.
It’s easy to see why fans support South Carolina. The Gamecocks have posted a perfect 32-0 record this season to win SEC regular season and tournament titles. Star Forward Alia Boston is a National Player of the Year candidate, averaging 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds and shooting nearly 57% per game from the field.
The Gamecocks took first place overall in the tournament and will play the opening rounds before the game in the Greenville 1 region if they survive past the opening weekend. In fact, four home games makes their way to Dallas and the Final Four much easier.
Over 61% of users have chosen South Carolina to compete in the Final Four. UConn drew almost 36% of the brackets there. A quarter of users put Indiana in the Final Four, and more than 13% put Stanford.
While Iowa was in the top 5 winning 5.8% of the bracket, only 8.8% of users chose the Hawkeyes to advance to the Final Four. Iowa narrowly missed out on first place in the tournament and is in the same region as Stanford. Player of the Year nominee Caitlin Clark averaged 27 points and 8.3 assists in the first division.
Out-of-Hours: Georgia, West Virginia, and Middle Tennessee
Georgia became the most popular upset pick in the women’s bracket. The 10th seeded Bulldogs will play against the 7th seed Florida State in Friday’s first round game.
West Virginia was another popular No. 10 seed that upset in the first round. The Mountaineers will open the tournament against Arizona.
The biggest bad choice not in a 10-7 game is Middle Tennessee State. The No. 11 seeded Blue Raiders won the C-USA Tournament 28-4 for the year. They will open the tournament against No. 6 seed Colorado.