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Wayne Staats | | March 19, 2021

These 4 teams were picked the most to make the 2021 Final Four

Tracing the NCAA bracket from 1851 London, through 1977 Staten Island, to today

Gonzaga and the other No. 1 seeds are the most most popular picks, individually, to make the Final Four in the 2021 NCAA tournament in this year's Bracket Challenge Game.

But that doesn't tell the full story.

The Bulldogs, undefeated and the top overall seed, still tower above other contenders in their region and nationally when it comes to getting picked by BCG players. In fact, 71.27 percent of users have Gonzaga making the Final Four. That's more than 20 percentage points higher than the second-most picked team: Illinois.

No. 1 Illinois is on the other side of the bracket and the third No. 1 seed. But fans have the Illini advancing to the Final Four at almost the same rate as the second top seed, Baylor. The Illini are in the Final Four in 49.65 percent of brackets; Baylor comes in at 49.38 percent. That means nearly half of the BCG brackets have Gonzaga, Illinois and Baylor in the Final Four, on average.

Michigan has the fourth-best percentage when it comes to BCG Final Four selections. The Wolverines are in the national semifinals in 42.34 percent of brackets:

Team Percentage picked to Final Four
(1) Gonzaga 71.27
(1) Illinois 49.65
(1) Baylor 49.38
(1) Michigan 42.34

Looking outside the No. 1 seeds, three of the four No. 2 seeds slot in as the fifth through eighth most popular. The one No. 2 seed not in the top eight is No. 2 Iowa — probably because the Hawkeyes are in Gonzaga's region.

Texas, in the East region with No. 1 Michigan, has the highest percentage among No. 3 seeds at 15.50 percent. Oklahoma State tops the No. 4 seeds with 8.08 percent; Villanova leads the No. 5 seeds at 4.76 percent.

Team, Region Percentage picked to the Final Four
(2) Ohio State — South 22.68
(2) Houston — Midwest 22.23
(2) Alabama — East 22.15
(3) Texas — East 15.50
(2) Iowa — West 11.54
(3) West Virginia — Midwest 8.21
(4) Oklahoma State — Midwest 8.08
(3) Kansas — West 8.00
(4) Florida State — East 7.54
(3) Arkansas — South 6.69
(5) Villanova — South 4.76
(4) Purdue — South 4.33

College basketball rankings: Even unranked teams find success in the NCAA tournament

Since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 — its modern format — only four of 35 national champions were unranked to start the season. That’s about one in every nine years.

Only .025 percent predicted the 2021 Final Four teams in the Bracket Challenge Game

UCLA's upset of No. 1 Michigan in the Elite Eight turned what could have been a record-high number of perfect picks into a tiny number that went 4-for-4.

A huge majority of NCAA brackets have a No. 1 seed winning the 2021 championship

Here is how many brackets predicted each seed to win the national championship, from Gonzaga and the No. 1 seeds through Drexel and the rest of the No. 16 seeds.
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