Here are updates on ESPN’s 2016 Tournament Challenge as of the start of games on Thursday.
Total brackets: With games starting and signups now closed, Tournament Challenge finished with 13.02 million brackets entered this year. Last year, there were 11.57 million brackets.
1. Kansas (1-seed): 25.0 percent
2. Michigan State (2-seed): 22.3 percent
3. North Carolina (1-seed): 14.6 percent
4. Oklahoma (2-seed): 6.1 percent
5. Kentucky (4-seed): 5.1 percent
6. Virginia (1-seed): 4.7 percent
7. Oregon (1-seed): 3.4 percent
8. Villanova (2-seed): 2.6 percent
9. Duke (4-seed): 2.2 percent
10. West Virginia (3-seed): 1.5 percent
Aside from 2-seed Xavier (1.5 percent) and 3-seed Texas A&M (1.2 percent), no other team is getting picked to win the title in more than 1 percent of brackets.
Championship game picks
1. Kansas-Michigan State: 22.0 percent
2. Kansas-North Carolina: 14.1 percent
3. Oklahoma-Michigan State: 6.5 percent
4. Kansas-Virginia: 4.4 percent
5. Oklahoma-North Carolina: 4.0 percent
Final Four picks
1. Kansas/Oklahoma/North Carolina/Michigan State: 12.7 percent
2. Kansas/Oregon/North Carolina/Michigan State: 4.6 percent
3. Kansas/Oklahoma/Kentucky/Michigan State: 4.5 percent
4. Kansas/Oregon/North Carolina/Virginia: 3.9 percent*
5. Kansas/Texas A&M/North Carolina/Michigan State: 3.2 percent (this combo ranked seventh yesterday)
* Note that 3.9 percent of brackets feature an all-chalk Final Four with 1-seeds Kansas/Oregon/UNC/UVA (last year, approximately 6.9 percent of brackets picked an all-chalk Final Four).
1. Kansas (1-seed): 66.9 percent
2. Villanova (2-seed): 12.1 percent
3. Miami (3-seed): 5.8 percent
4. Maryland (5-seed): 5.0 percent
1. UNC (1-seed): 48.8 percent
2. Kentucky (4-seed): 19.4 percent
3. West Virginia (3-seed): 10.8 percent
4. Xavier (2-seed): 9.9 percent
1. Michigan State (2-seed): 61.8 percent
2. Virginia (1-seed): 22.5 percent
3. Utah (3-seed): 3.4 percent
4. Purdue (5-seed): 2.9 percent
1. Oklahoma (2-seed): 41.8 percent
2. Oregon (1-seed): 22.5 percent
3. Duke (4-seed): 14.1 percent
4. Texas A&M (3-seed): 12.8 percent
Other Final Four notes
There is a big discrepancy among 4-seeds making it to the Final Four. While Kentucky and Duke are picked to go that far in 19.4 percent and 14.1 percent of brackets, respectively, Iowa State and Cal are picked to go that far in just 2.8 percent and 2.3 percent of brackets, respectively.
11-seed Gonzaga is the only team seeded No. 9 or worse to be picked in at least 1.0 percent of brackets to make the Final Four.
Only one 3-seed (Texas A&M, 12.8 percent) ranks in the top 10 in terms of Final Four picks.
Sweet 16 notes
Kansas and Michigan State are the top picks to reach the Sweet 16 (both at 91.1 percent), edging out UNC (91.0 percent).
Maryland (55.2 percent) is the only 5-seed picked to make the Sweet 16 in the majority of brackets.
Small vs. big schools: 13-seed Iona and 12-seed Arkansas-Little Rock are among less-heralded, lower-seeded teams with better odds than bigger programs like 8-seeds Texas Tech (3.4) and USC (2.5 percent).
Round-of-64 upset picks
9-seed UConn over 8-seed Colorado (71.1 percent)
9-seed Butler over 8-seed Texas Tech (64.5 percent)
9-seed Providence over 8-seed USC (60.7 percent)
10-seed VCU over 7-seed Oregon State (58.4 percent)
9-seed Cincinnati over 8-seed Saint Joseph’s (53.7 percent)
In the closest-picked game of the round of 64, 7-seed Dayton is picked in 51.8 percent of brackets to beat 10-seed Syracuse.
Percentage of brackets picking each of the 12-over-5 upsets
Yale over Baylor: 20.3 percent
South Dakota State over Maryland: 15.0 percent
Chattanooga over Indiana: 13.2 percent
Arkansas-Little Rock over Purdue: 13.1 percent
Top pick among each seed 11 or worse
11-seed Gonzaga over 6-seed Seton Hall: 47.3 percent
12-seed Yale over 5-seed Baylor: 20.3 percent
13-seed Hawaii over 4-seed Cal: 21.2 percent
14-seed Fresno State over 3-seed Utah: 10.2 percent
15-seed Weber State over 2-seed Xavier: 4.4 percent
16-seed Hampton over 1-seed Virginia: 2.7 percent
Worth noting the 11 vs. 11 First Four winners
33.5 percent of brackets have Wichita State beating Arizona (steadily jumped since WSU won its First Four game)
24.0 percent of brackets have Michigan beating Notre Dame (steadily jumped since U-M won its First Four game)
And here’s the 16 vs. 16 First Four winners
2.9 percent of brackets have Florida Gulf Coast beating North Carolina
2.4 percent of brackets have Holy Cross beating Oregon
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