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Wayne Staats | | March 16, 2023

Houston is the fans' top pick to win the 2023 March Madness men's tournament

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After a few years in a row of one team towering over everyone else, the fans are just a little more split on the team they think will win the 2023 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Houston (20.14) and Alabama (15.22) were the two top picks among completed Men's Bracket Challenge Game brackets this season, the only teams to reach double figures.

Here are some other things to know:

  • Defending champion Kansas was picked on 9.63 percent of completed brackets to win, the third-highest percentage. The Jayhawks were also the third-most picked team last year at 7.87 percent
  • No. 3 Gonzaga was selected as champion on more brackets than all four No. 2 seeds and even No. 1 Purdue, as the Bulldogs won on 9.21 percent of completed brackets
  • No. 5 Duke received slightly more title picks than No. 2 Marquette (3.17 to 3.13)
  • UConn was the most liked No. 4 seed, going all the way in 2.08 percent of brackets
  • Looking for a true Cinderella? No. 12 Oral Roberts was the top pick from the double-digit seed line, winning the championship on 0.52 percent of brackets.

Houston's percent stands as a decline from recent years for a most-popular champion. Gonzaga received 30.26 percent in 2022 and 38.82 in 2021 — when the Bulldogs were unbeaten — while Duke almost hit 40 percent in 2019 (39.12). Houston's mark is the lowest for a most-picked MBCG team since 2018 Villanova at 17.52 percent, though those Wildcats did win the national championship.

With no team gobbling up a HUGE piece of the pie, that led to slightly more spread out picks. Just last year, only five teams picked up at least 5 percent of picks. This year, seven teams reached that mark.

And in case you think no team with a number below 1 percent has a chance, just know that 2014 champion UConn won it all despite only 0.23 percent of MBCG brackets going with the Huskies. That's right, a higher percentage of people are picking No. 12 Oral Roberts this year.

Here's the table of teams getting picked to win it all on at least 1 percent of MBCG brackets.

Team % picked on completed brackets
No. 1 Houston 20.14
No. 1 Alabama 15.22
No. 1 Kansas 9.63
No. 3 Gonzaga 9.21
No. 1 Purdue 7.70
No. 2 UCLA 5.78
No. 2 Texas 5.61
No. 2 Arizona 4.73
No. 5 Duke 3.17
No. 2 Marquette 3.13
No. 4 UConn 2.08
No. 3 Baylor 1.33
No. 4 Tennessee 1.06

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