March Madness By The Numbers

Published on 27 Sep 2018 by Mason Jones
March Madness By The Numbers

It is hardly any secret that March Madness is one of the most hotly-anticipated events in the basketball world. A frenzied three-week period during which punters can bet on as many as 67 NCAA basketball games, the event promises loads of action on individual games as well as tournaments. Through it all, there will be countless opportunities to win big…or to lose it all.

As is usual with March Madness, billions of dollars are expected to be poured into various betting pools. During the 2017-2018 season, just under 24 million took part in the bracket challenges, with entry fees totaling more than $2.6 billion. March Madness has a significant affect on other forms of gambling with casinos seeing a noticable drop it revenue. Online operators tend to up there free bet no deposit bonus offers during this period to keep players interested.

A brief look at March Madness

March MadnessBefore we get into the betting stats and the odds, let's take a quick look at way what March Madness is and what it is all about.

March Madness is the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, which is a single-elimination tournament that takes place in the US every spring. As many as 68 college teams from Division I of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) will participate, with the winner to be named the national champion.

The tournament first took place in 1939. Conceived by Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen, the tournament was organized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. To date, it is one of the most anticipated sporting events in the US.

As if you haven't guessed already, the upcoming March Madness is set to become one of the most important in history. In fact, a number of analysts have already claimed it to be the wildest tournament since the 1985 expansion of March Madness to 64 teams.

Current standings

promises to be the biggest and most lucrative one yet. More than 60 games have already been played thus far. In 20 of these games, the lower-seeded team won.

By the time the Sweet 16 slots had been filled, two top-seeded teams had been eliminated. One of these was Xavier, which was soundly beaten by Florida St. The other was the University of Virginia, which earned the dubious honor of being the first top-seeded team to drop to the 16-seed position in the first game.

Also notable was the victory of Loyola-Chicago, the 11-seed team that bested the Elite Eight to make it into the Final Four. This was only the fourth time the team managed to reach that spot.

Top picks

The Duke Blue DevilsAmong the favorites to win the tournament, The Duke Blue Devils currently reign supreme. The string of events leading up to this point for the team is highlighted by the impressive blitz through Canada, which showed just how valuable the contributions of R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson are.

The Blue Devils were especially impressive during their August 2018 tour of Canada, during which time they roundly defeated both Toronto and Montreal. Winning 86-67 over Ryerson University, the Devils also won a 96-60 victory against the University of Toronto, and a 103-58 victory against McGill University.

Other contenders

The WildcatsThe Blue Devils isn't the only team that has made waves in the current March Madness. The Kentucky Wildcats actually holds the top spot in terms of tournament appearances, racking up 58 in all. The team has also won 126 games, and made 43 Sweet 16 appearances. As if that wasn't enough, it has also played in 17 Final Fours, the second most appearances overall in the Final Four.

The team's string of accomplishments doesn't end there. The Wildcats have also made it to the number two spot in terms of NCAA championship victories, winning eight championships versus UCLA's 11. Three of these titles were earned after UCLA won its last one in 1995. The most recent Wildcats victory was in 2012.

The team's players have fared well individually as well. Four Wildcats have actually been picked for the NBA draft: Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Hamidou Diallo, who are slated to play for the Knicks, Charlotte, Orlando, and Brooklyn respectively.

No less notable is Wenyen Gabriel. Although he wasn't picked at the draft, he later signed on for the Summer League squad of Sacramento. Due in part to these developments, Kentucky dropped to +700 from its +600 position, yet still remains at number two in the current rankings.

Other teams that have slipped a few notches include 2017-2018 national champions Villanova, which dropped from +850 to +1200. The Tennessee Volunteers also saw some downward movement from +2800 to +4000, with Auburn and Virginia Tech posting similar downward trends, from +2000 to +4000 and +4000 to +8000, respectively.

Not every team has seen its odds slipping. Among the teams that have registered improvement are Gonzaga, which moved from +950 to +800 and Michigan State, which moved from +3300 to +2800. Perhaps most impressive is Arizona, which now has odds of +7500 from a dismal +10000.

Top ten favored odds

Here's how the top ten ranking teams currently fare in terms of odds:

Team Odds
Duke +450
Kentucky +700
Kansas +750
Gonzaga +800
Nevada +800
Villanova +1200
North Carolina +1200
Virginia +2200
Michigan State +2800
Oregon +3500

The impact of March Madness on business

There is a lot more to March Madness than just betting odds and stats, of course. Given the magnitude of the event, it is only expected that it would have some impact on other aspects of society as well. In fact in corporate America, companies are already anticipating a significant drop in productivity as employees and even managers hunker down to watch the events.

Just how significant is the impact? Estimates place the total amount of losses due to reduced productivity at approximately $2.3 billion. This is hardly surprising considering that as many as 24% interviewed admitted to watching the games during meetings. Even more tellingly, up to 20% of those interviewed are planning to watch the games from their bathrooms at work!