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Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | April 5, 2019

Only .02 percent of people correctly predicted the 2019 Final Four in the NCAA Bracket Challenge Game

The many faces of Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl

The Final Four field is set, and it’s safe to say that very, very few people saw this one coming.

Auburn and Texas Tech earned their first-ever Final Four trips, Virginia is in its first since 1984, and Michigan State had to beat out the top overall seed, Duke, to reach the national semifinal.

Of the millions of brackets entered into our Bracket Challenge Game, only 0.02 percent predicted those four teams to make it this far.

CBS reported the same percentage of correct Final Four predictions in its game. ESPN's was .046 percent:

Duke started the tournament as the overwhelming favorite in our bracket game, as 39.2 percent of all brackets picked the Blue Devils to win the championship.

With Duke’s Elite Eight loss to Michigan State, eight of the 10 most-popular picks to win the championship have now been eliminated. 

If you added up all the brackets that picked one of the four teams remaining to win the championship, they’d only total 11.7 percent. 

Team Percent
Duke 39.2%
North Carolina 15.7%
Gonzaga 11.6%
Virginia 5.9%
Kentucky 4.9%
Mich. St. 4.7%
Tennessee 4.3%
Michigan 3.2%
Kansas 0.9%
Villanova 0.8%
Houston 0.8%
Texas Tech 0.7%
Purdue 0.7%
LSU 0.6%
Auburn 0.5%

So yeah, this field was a slightly surprising outcome.

But it isn’t that different from years past.

On average over the past nine years, just 0.25 percent of all BCG users have picked the Final Four correctly. 

Only one year has seen more than 1 percent get the semifinals perfect — 2015. That year saw three 1 seeds (Duke, Wisconsin, and Kentucky) and a 7-seed Michigan State team that had made three straight Sweet 16s.

PICKING ADVICE: How important is it to pick Final Four teams correctly?

Compare that to a year like 2013, when one 1 seed (Louisville), two 4 seeds (Michigan and Syracuse), and one 9 seed (Wichita State) made it. No one called that one.

YEAR PERCENT of brackets with perfect final four
2011 0.0
2012 0.31
2013 0.0
2014 0.006
2015 1.61
2016 0.09
2017 0.003
2018 0.003
2019 0.02

In total, this year actually saw the highest percentage of perfect Final Fours since 2016, and the fourth highest in the nine years. All that goes to show you, they don't call it March Madness for nothing.

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