There’s no need to watch the Final Four this weekend.
Michigan is the 2013 national champion.
That’s at least according to Sports on Facebook. The site completed its Final Four bracket this week and crowned the Wolverines No. 1 when it comes to user-generated buzz.
Based on the total number of mentions during March Madness, Michigan was tops among the Final Four teams, beating Louisville in the “title game.”
All of the Facebook data was collected on game days. To calculate the Final Four winner, Facebook added up the mentions of those teams on their respective game days throughout the tournament.
But fans of Louisville, Wichita State and Syracuse shouldn’t lose hope. When Facebook ran the same metric two weeks ago after the first weekend of the tournament based on the remaining bracket at that time, Duke “won” its championship. The Blue Devils were eliminated for real by Louisville Sunday in the Midwest region final.
On Twitter, Crimson Hexagon found almost 7 million relevant tweets about “March Madness” from the period starting on March 19 through Wednesday. Of those Tweets, 28 percent had to do with brackets and 22 percent were about “March Madness” in general, including tweets about watching the tournament.
And not surprisingly, given the early-round upsets and presence of No. 9 seed Wichita State in the Final Four, 20 percent of users shared that their brackets were busted. The other 80 percent likely kept it to themselves.
The injury to Louisville guard Kevin Ware and the subsequent reaction of players, coaches and fans dominated the conversation on Twitter Sunday and was the single most discussed event of tournament.
According to Crimson Hexagon, it was the subject of 26 percent of all the “March Madness”-related tweets during the entire tournament.
Overall, the game between Duke and Louisville generated 1,663,271 tweets in span from three hours before tipoff until three hours after it was over, according to data provided to Playbook by SocialGuide. Michigan’s 87-85 victory over Kansas in the South region semifinal on March 29 was the second-most discussed game of the Elite Eight round with 696,548 Tweets, while Florida’s win over Florida Gulf Coast later that night was third with 477,684.
From Sunday through Wednesday, there were 942, 416 mentions of “Kevin Ware” on Twitter, according to data provided to Playbook from Hootsuite.
The #PrayForWare hashtag was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter for several hours after Louisville’s 85-63 victory, and had been used 121,045 times within three hours of the game’s completion. The #KevinWare hashtag was used 67,033 times in that same span, according to SocialGuide.
• There were a couple of diverse basketball-related videos of note posted to YouTube this week:
"Dude Perfect" stayed indoors for its latest trick shots video, which was posted Wednesday night.
The "Crazy Arena Edition" video features a dizzying drop shot from the top of the cat walk at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas, and a sweet "Suite Shot" from one of the arena's luxury boxes. The "Dude Perfect" panda also shows up to deliver a pizza in the video, which is set to "I Feel So Alive (Telemitry Remix)" by Capital Kings.
• OKC’s Kevin Durant feels the beat this latest installment of Skullcandy's Crusher NBA series. Durant displays plenty of sensory bass dance moves while listening to Wale’s “Back to Ballin” in a video posted on the Skullcandy TV YouTube channel.
• Michael Waltrip wants to know if you’re the next NASCAR superstar.
PEAK anti-freeze and Michael Waltrip Racing have teamed up to offer fans the chance to demonstrate why they should be a NASCAR driver and sell themselves to panel of judges via video via the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge.
The overall winner of the 10 drivers chosen to participate in a three-day racing program, which features Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick, will be “fast-tracked” for the chance to earn a NASCAR license and a spot in a PEAK sponsored car.
“There are so many people who watch NASCAR on TV and say ‘Heck, I can do that’ and really believe that. We’re giving those people a chance to do just that,” Waltrip told Playbook. “If that person has indeed what it takes, we’ll put them in a car.”
Waltrip said his participation in this talent search, which ends May 31, is just one way of giving back to NASCAR.
— Michael Waltrip (@mw55) February 25, 2013
Driving the No. 26 Swan Racing Toyota in the Daytona 500 was another. That car carried a paint scheme dedicated to the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. “Driving that car was a blessing. I was grateful to meet with some of the victims, some of the teachers and first responders. We gave them something to cheer about in the Daytona 500,” he said. “For one Sunday afternoon, maybe their troubles were just a little further away.”
Waltrip (@MW55) said he was initially hesitant about social media but has adapted quickly to Twitter and has more than 214,000 followers. He said his maturity has helped him in determining what to post and what to keep to himself. “I know I’m smarter now than I was when I was 25. I think I do a good job of connecting with fans and not crossing over lines you have to be cognizant of,” he said. “Airing out your dirty laundry is not the right way to go about it.”
• Dale Earnhardt’s close calls at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway are illustrated in a graphic produced by NASCAR and posted its Facebook page this week. Earnhardt, the current NASCAR Sprint Cup series leader, has 10 top-five series finishes at the track without a victory. The STP Gas Booster 500 will be run Sunday, with the winner receiving a grandfather clock as the trophy. The timely illustration received more than 4,800 likes and 2,600 shares, including one by Earnhardt to his 1.5 million Facebook followers.
• Sometime Friday night or perhaps early Saturday, someone will become the new owner of a Honus Wagner 1909 T206 baseball card available through Goldin Auctions. The high bid for the PSA grade Ex 5 card as of Thursday was at $1.571 million.
There are less than 50 authenticated Wagner T206 cards.
Bidding for the card closes after 10 p.m. Friday, once bidding on all items ceases for 15 minutes.
The card is one of nearly 850 items -- most of them sports related -- available through Goldin’s April 5 auction.
Among the items with the most-recent (as of Thursday) or minimum bid:
Alex Rodriguez’s 2009 NY Yankees World Series Ring - $37,023
1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card (SGC 92 NM/MT 8.5) - $31,077
Babe Ruth signed baseball - $14,641
Thomas Jefferson signed act of Congress from 1791 - $8,257
Pete Rose corked game-used bat from 1985 - $5,900
At the low-cost end of the scale, as part of the Darren Daulton collection, there’s a signed bottle of Dom Perignon that Daulton and his teammates, including current ESPN analyst John Kruk, drank from after Daulton collected his 100th RBI in 1992. That’s available for $100.
The infamous “Gretzky-Wagner” card, which last sold for $2.8 million and carries a PSA grade of 8, was the subject of a recent ESPN 30-for-30 mini documentary.