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Wayne Staats | | March 22, 2021

Here's how many brackets really had Oral Roberts making the Sweet 16

Oral Roberts vs. Florida: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA Tournament

Don't be too disappointed if you didn't pick Oral Roberts to reach the Sweet 16. Almost everyone didn't.

But tens of thousands of people did. Really.

We looked at the numbers and found that 32,885 Bracket Challenge Game brackets (somehow!) correctly had the Golden Eagles in the Sweet 16 this year. Not bad, considering Oral Roberts joins 2013 Florida Gulf Coast as the only No. 15 seeds to ever make the Sweet 16 in NCAA tournament history.

Now the question is this — what do those 32,885 brackets think of ORU's chances the rest of the way?

Well, a majority thought the Golden Eagles' Cinderella run would end in the next round. That doesn't mean BCG users all thought ORU would fall to No. 3 Arkansas specifically in this round — just that they stopped picking Oral Roberts starting now.

But not all hopped off the bandwagon. More than 39 percent think ORU will make more history and be the first No. 15 seed ever to reach the Elite Eight. And more than 12 percent think Cinderella will keep dancing into the Final Four behind the star power of Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor.

MARCH MADNESS: Follow live coverage of the 2021 NCAA tournament

As for winning it all? That would be 1,418 brackets — or only 4.31 percent of those who had ORU in the Sweet 16. So Cinderella clearly had a midnight, at least for most of the 32,885 brackets.

Here's another look:

Round BRACKETS picking ORU To... Percent of BRACKETS who had ORU in the Sweet 16
Reach the Elite Eight 12,895 39.21 percent
Reach the Final Four 4,044 12.30 percent
Reach the national championship game 2,118 6.44 percent
Win the national championship 1,418 4.31 percent

Oral Roberts' Sweet 16 run is even more impressive considering the Golden Eagles were the third least-picked No. 15 seed in the first round, when the Golden Eagles played Ohio State. Iona was instead the most popular No. 15 seed to win its first-round game, as 5 percent of BCG users had the Gaels upsetting Alabama.

But we all know what happened. Iona kept it close against the Tide for a while, yet three of the four No. 15 seeds all lost by double digits. The fourth is still playing and faces No. 3 Arkansas at 7:25 p.m. ET Saturday on TBS.

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