We analyzed millions of picks in the Bracket Challenge Game to identify which Cinderella team (8-seed or worse) fans most picked to make the Final Four. Roll Tide! The data says it's Alabama. Here's Alabama and the nine other most popular Cinderella picks this year:
And a couple takeaways from these numbers:
1. The top two teams have dynamite players who can singlehandedly lift a team to victory.
The most-picked Cinderella, Alabama, carries with it Collin Sexton, a hyper-athletic point guard who averaged 19 points per game and was the driving force behind the Crimson Tide’s tournament run this season. And the second-most-picked Cinderella, Oklahoma, has a player named Trae Young. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
2. There’s a whole lot of confidence around the country about No. 16-seed Penn’s chance of beating No. 1-seed Kansas. The Quakers have been called by some the best 16-seed in the history of the tournament, and the numbers reflect it: Penn ranks above all three other 16-vs.-1 matchups in this year's field. Look at the data for people choosing 16-seeds to beat 1-seeds just in the first round — which, again, has never happened:
- Penn over Kansas: 2.79%
- The other three 16 vs. 1 games, combined: 5.16%
That’s huge, borderline unbelievable support for the Quakers, even if history tells us this won’t happen.
NCAA Digital's Dan Jepperson and Mike Szahaj contributed to the reporting of this article.