March Madness: Who Yahoo users are picking in their NCAA tournament brackets
The NCAA tournament is almost here, and countless basketball fans across the country have already filled out their brackets ahead of the opening rounds on Thursday and Friday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, here’s who Yahoo users are picking in the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments.
[Free bracket contests for both tourneys | Printable Men's | Women's]
NCAA men’s bracket: Alabama the most popular champion
Yahoo users, at least for now, are sticking with the top-ranked team.
The Crimson Tide, who entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, were the most popular champion. About 22% of brackets had them winning the championship, which is well ahead of the rest of the field. While their season has been taken over by the controversy surrounding star Brandon Miller, the Crimson Tide rolled through the SEC tournament with ease and Miller is playing as good as he has all year long.
Houston came in next in almost 14% of brackets. The Cougars are entering the tournament fresh off a loss to Memphis in the American Athletic Conference tournament title game. If they can make it to the Final Four at Houston's NRG Stadium, they’ll get the chance to win their first ever national championship at home.
Kansas was the only other school to garner double-digit support. The Jayhawks, who won last year, were picked to repeat in almost 13% of brackets. Purdue came in fourth in 8.4% of brackets, and then Gonzaga and UCLA each were picked in 6.3% of brackets.
Final Four picks were very similar on the men’s side, too. Alabama was picked to reach the Final Four in almost 40% of brackets. Kansas and Houston were next at almost 25% each. Purdue was then the fourth-most popular team at 15.6%.
Upset watch: Boise State, Utah State, Charleston
Boise State was the most popular upset pick. The No. 10 seed Broncos will open the tournament against No. 7 seed Northwestern, which had an incredible run in the Big Ten this season. The Wildcats finished second in the conference, which was their best finish in 64 years.
Utah State was another popular 10-7 upset pick. The Aggies will open the tournament against Missouri, which finished fourth in the SEC this season.
Charleston was the fourth most-popular upset pick in Yahoo brackets. The Cougars, after going 31-3 this season and winning the CAA regular season and tournament titles, will take on No. 5 seed San Diego State on Thursday.
NCAA women’s bracket: South Carolina the overwhelming favorite
Unlike the men’s side, there is one overwhelming pick in the women’s bracket.
More than 50% of all brackets picked South Carolina to win the women’s tournament this spring. UConn was the next closest, but came in at just 10.5% of brackets. Stanford, Iowa and Indiana then rounded out the top 5.
It’s easy to see why fans are getting behind South Carolina. The Gamecocks went a perfect 32-0 this season and won the SEC regular season and tournament titles. Star forward Aliyah Boston is a National Player of the Year candidate after averaging 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, and shooting nearly 57% from the field per game.
The Gamecocks earned the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and will host the opening rounds before playing in the Greenville 1 region, assuming they make it out of the first weekend. Having essentially four home games makes their path to Dallas and the Final Four that much easier.
More than 61% of users picked South Carolina to make the Final Four. UConn drew almost 36% of brackets there. A quarter of users put Indiana in the Final Four, and more than 13% had Stanford in.
While Iowa was a top 5 pick to win in 5.8% of brackets, only 8.8% of users picked the Hawkeyes to reach the Final Four. Iowa narrowly missed out on a No. 1 seed in the tournament, and it's in the same region as Stanford. Player of the Year candidate Caitlin Clark has averaged 27 points and a Division 1-best 8.3 assists per game.
Upset watch: Georgia, West Virginia and Middle Tennessee
The most popular upset pick in the women’s bracket was Georgia. The Bulldogs, who are a No. 10 seed, will go up against No. 7 seed Florida State in their first round game on Friday.
West Virginia was another popular No. 10 seed to pull off an opening-round upset. The Mountaineers will open the tournament against Arizona.
The biggest upset pick not in a 10-7 matchup is Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders, a No. 11 seed, won the C-USA tournament and went 28-4 on the year. They’ll open the tournament against No. 6 seed Colorado.