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:
7,928 out of 17.2 million Tournament Challenge entries correctly predicted Virginia, Michigan St., Texas Tech and Auburn would comprise the 2019 Final Four.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 31, 2019
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.
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.
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|
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.