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Taking the Madness out of March Madness – Sweet 16 Predictions

Now that we are entering the Sweet 16 round, we’re continuing with our March Madness… madness, by looking back to see how social conversation performed in predicting this year’s winner.


As you can see, at this stage, following several major upsets that Twitter users clearly didn’t see coming, the bracket has proved only 68% accurate – correctly predicting 33 of the 48 matches played so far.

We don’t feel too bad about these social led predictions given that following day one of the tournament, only .1% of brackets remained perfect. After Middle Tennessee’s major upset of number two seed Michigan State (only 2.2 percent of entries had predicted this upset), only six brackets remained out of approximately 13 million. One bracket held out to game 26, but with Stephen F. Austin’s win over West Virginia on Friday night, perfect brackets are now a thing of the past and none remain in this March Madness season.

So of the teams remaining who does social predict to come out on top? Things have changed rather significantly over the course of the tournament thus far, with the largest volume of positive conversation pointing to Duke coming out on top, winning over Wisconsin in the final match. In terms of the Final Four? Twitter users are predicting Kansas, Duke, Wisconsin and Syracuse.

Here’s a look at the updated sweet 16 predictions based on social conversations…


Interestingly share of voice among the teams have shifted rather significantly with Wisconsin observing the greatest increase since the tournament kicked off. Kansas, who were pre-tournament favorites in our study, has dipped with Duke overtaking them in terms of total volume and volume of conversation per day.

It will be interesting to see how the games play out over the coming days. If social conversation has predicted correctly, this will mark only the second time in tournament history that a 4-seed wins it all (Though it’s important to note that lower seeds than a 4 have won in the past, with the lowest seed to win it all being Villanova as an 8 seed in 1985).

A few other interesting stats we discovered along the way…

  • Villanova’s Twitter account has grown by 53% (16.7K new followers in total) thus far during the tournament at least 15% more than all of the other tournament teams.
  • Duke is now the most talked about team in the tournament to date, with over 54K conversations.
  • March Madness conversation as a whole has now hit 2.3M Twitter conversations this year on track to surpass last year, which generated 2.9M conversations from 3/13–4/4.