Starting this week is the greatest tournament in sport. Some people call it The Big Dance, others March Madness, what people don’t call it is predictable. Over the next 3 weeks, one team will win 6 games (perhaps 7 now with the play-in format) to be the national champion, 67 others will go home disappointed. Dick Vitale will be screaming about something, baby, and talk incessantly about Duke and Coach K. Upsets will happen and brackets will be busted. Buzzer beaters will raise the hair on your arms. Some 7-foot center will be on the charity stripe with seconds left and will either make or miss free throws that will win or cost his team the game. Either way, on April 2nd, unlike with the BCS for college football, there will be no controversy on who the best college basketball team in America. At least for this upcoming 3 week period of time.
Millions of brackets are filled out annually (last year over 5.9 Million people filled one out on ESPN.com alone) for office pools, online tournaments, or just for fun. ESPN has recently run commercials about how people pick their brackets including: the use of flypaper, The Bob Barker Special – Plinko, kids toys, and a robot that will probably have more correct answers than the commentator who it was named after, Jay Bilas. At KABYT, we picked our bracket based on what we know best, social media.
We dug in and researched all 68 schools based on their athletic department’s social media following and activity. There were 3 main metrics we took into account – 1) Facebook likes/student body size, 2) Facebook people ‘talking about this’/Facebook likes, and 3) Twitter followers/student body size. By utilizing the size of the student body (we are not talking about the infamous ‘Freshmen 15′), the smaller schools are not at a disadvantage.
Now for what really matters…. the bracket.
DISCLAIMER: Any prize money won for copying this bracket will result in a 50-50 split of the winnings.
(Click for larger image)
KENTUCKY cuts down the nets. By our standards, they were heads above the competition and consistent across all the criteria. Here’s to hoping that John Calipari makes us at KABYT look as good as his hair.
Way to go Ohio State! I only say “The Ohio State” with a mocking tone, but you have a very loyal following with over 1.1 Million Facebook likes. Even though you didn’t win the whole tourney, those are impressive numbers. The nearest institution to that number was Florida at just over 850,000. I’m sure they will let you have this title and they will keep their recent national championships (plural) in football and basketball. Too soon?? I do question how much Nike bribed, I mean paid Ohio State to have their logo tattooed (again, to soon??) as their cover photo image for Facebook’s new Timeline.
Creighton University has been going gangbusters and deserves some love for what is being done on their Facebook page. With an unbelievable 42% of your facebook fans are talking about you, I guess you are kind of a big deal.
On the Twitter side of the equation, the SEC takes home the hardware with the most followers for Alabama, Florida and Kentucky. Whoever does the tweeting at Syracuse probably doesn’t have any thumbprints. They have sent over 15,000 tweets. Our biggest surprise came from 2 of the largest schools in the tournament, the University of Texas – Austin and Michigan State University. Their lack of Twitter use with less than 800 tweets combined was quite a shock. For UT-Austin, SXSW (one of the biggest tech and music gatherings in the world) is right in your backyard. For Michigan State, I’m guessing it is a poor attempt at a personal snub at the Michigan Wolverines as the CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, is an alum.
As long as we are talking about Michigan, the * next to their name on the bracket designates that they don’t have an athletic departments Facebook or Twitter page. Instead, they have a Facebook and Twitter page for what seems like EVERY sport they offer. We didn’t go through their page with a fine tooth comb, but their might be a Title IX discrepancy of not having an equal number of account for both male and female teams. With their Men’s Basketball Team having 41,000 Facebook likes (putting it #22 on the list), I have them winning their first 2 games.
Let us know what you think!
Who do you have winning? Any surprises that you see (other than Florida in the Final Four)?