2016 March Madness – Battle of the Twitter Accounts

March Madness is a month long holiday for some people, and filling out a bracket is a ritualistic experience.

Pinterest march madness!

Image via Pinterest

Everyone has their own unique way of going about filling out their bracket. Personally, as an Indiana Grad, I tend to lean towards Big Ten Schools (#BigTenBias), which always shoots me in the foot. I also favor schools with big time players that I’ve actually heard of, something that also shoots me in the foot.

But this year I’ve thought of something different. Since social media basically controls my life (and everyone else’s), why not fill out my bracket based on each team’s Twitter success? Filling out a perfect bracket is such a crapshoot anyways, so this seems like the most logical approach.

The main factor I am basing these decisions on is number of followers. I realize that likely would mean that the most popular teams would win (and that followers aren’t necessarily indicative of a quality Twitter account), so I did throw in a couple curveballs/sleepers based on a variety of other factors. This bracket that I am filling out is for our company pool on Yahoo!

Without further ado, here is how I see the NCAA Tournament shaping up, if it were based on Twitter success:

TB bracket



south bracket march madness

#1 @KUHoops (149K)


#16 @AustinPeayMBB (2,609)


#8 @CUBuffsMBB (15.2k)


#9 @UConnMBB (48K)


#5 @TerrapinHoops (46.8K)


#12 @GoJacksMBB (4,661)


#4 @CalMensBBall (12.2K)


#13 @HawaiiMBB (2,431)


#6 @APlayersProgram (59.9K)


#11 @GoShockers (50.9K)/@VandyMBB (13.2K)


#3 @CanesHoops (32.3K)


#14 BisonHoops (667)


#7 @IowaHoops (79.8K)


#10 @TUMBBHoops (8,901)


#2 @NovaMBB (33.6K)


#15 @UNCAbasketball (637)

In the first round I have #9 Uconn (@UConnMBB) upsetting #8 Colorado (@CUBuffsMBB) based on a 47.9K to a 15.2K follower comparison.

I also have #11 Wichita St. (@GoShockers) over  #11 Vanderbilt (@VandyMBB) in the play in game based on an impressive 50.7k following, and in round of 32 they give #6 Arizona (@APlayersProgram), with 59.9K followers, a run for their money.

UPSET ALERT: To keep things interesting I have #14 Buffalo (@BisonHoops) with a mere 667 followers taking down the mighty #3 Miami Hurricanes (@CanesHoops), who are at 31.9K.

In the round of 32 I have both #5 Maryland (@TerrapinHoops) over #4 Cal (@CalMensBBall) and #7 Iowa (@IowaHoops) with an impressive 79.8K followers over powerhouse #2 Villanova (@NovaMBB), one of the top teams all year.

Ultimately, the #1 Kansas Jayhawks (@KUHoops), who sit atop comfortably with nearly 150,000 followers, are just too much for the Hawkeyes, and the Jayhawks easily win the South division.



east bracket march madness

#1 @UNC_Basketball (295K)


#16 @FGCU_MBB (10.3K)/FDU (no account)


#8 @USC_Hoops (8,244)


#9 @PCFriarsMBB (2,495)


#5 @IndianaMBB (102K)


#12 @GoMocsMBB (3,171)


#4 @KentuckyMBB (271K)


#13 @StonyBrookMBB (2,250)


#6 @NDmbb (119K)


#11 @umichbball (184K)/ @TUMBasketball (3,729)

mich over Tulsa/nd, battle vs nd, both over 100k


#3 @WVUhoops (52.6K)


#14 @SFA_MBB (6,410)


#7 @BadgerMBB (159K)


#10 @HailToPittHoops (16K)


#2 @XavierMBB (13K)


#15 @WeberStateMBB (1,929)

In the first round of the East Bracket, I have #1 UNC taking out #16 #DunkCity (FGCU). UNC Kills them in following #’s, but this one will be closer than you’d think. I’m basing this prediction solely off of their active and engaging Twitter content and interactions.

Carolina Basketball Twitter


Much of this bracket in the first round will see top seeded teams advance. I’m taking #8 USC over #9 Providence, #5 IU over #12 Chattanooga, #4 Kentucky over #13 Stonybrook, #3 WVU over #14 S.F. Austin, #7 Wisconsin over #10 Pitt, and #2 Xavier over #15 Hampton. In these matchups, the higher seeds, which are all more high profile teams, should have no problem winning these games.

A major upset/sleeper in this bracket is the Michigan Wolverines, who are sitting pretty with 184K followers. The Blue and Yellow faithful are all about their team on Twitter, and I have them beating Tulsa in the play-in game, then upsetting Notre Dame, West Virginia and Wisconsin to face #1 North Carolina in the final.

NYTime March Madness

Image via NYTimes

The Tar Heels will ultimately be too much for a Wolverine team decimated by injury, but still a tough out all year and in the tourney.


West bracket march madness

#1 @OregonMBB (33.4K)


#16 @HCrossMBB (1900) / @JaguarHoops (1033)


#8 @SJUHawks_MBB (5297)


#9 @GoBearcatsMBB (3798)


#5 @BaylorMBB (29.7K)


#12 @Yale_Basketball (2255)


#4 @dukeblueplanet (186K)


#13 @uncwmenshoops (4234)


#6 @TexasMBB (28.9K)


#11 @UNImbb (6065)


#3 @AggieMensHoops (22.5K)


#14 @gbphoenixmbb (3667)


#7 @OregonStateMBB (12.9K)


#10 @VCU_Hoops (3403)


#2 @OU_MBBall (105K)


#15 @CSUB_MBB (844)

In the West I see #1 Oregon, #4 Duke, #6 Texas, #2 Oklahoma advancing to the sweet 16.

Texas and their 28.9K followers will coast past Northern Iowa, and battle past in state rival Texas A&M to advance.

In the end, the Cameron Crazies and their nearly 200K Twitter fans should make it through the West to the Final 4.


mid-west bracket march madness

1 @UVAMensHoops (42.2K)


16 @HamptonBball (17.8k)


8 @TexasTechMBB (99.9K)


9 @ButlerMBB (27.4K)


5 @BoilerBall (37.8K)


12 @LittleRockMBB (2.36K)


4 @CycloneMBB (69.5k)


13 @IonaGaelsMBB (746)


6 @SetonHallMBB (6,209)


11 Gonzaga (27.6K)


3 @Runnin_Utes (24.1K)


14 @FresnoStMBB (33.1K)


7 @DaytonMBB (24.6K)


10 @Cuse_MBB (18.5K)


2 @MSU_Basketball (129K)


15 @MT_MBB  (5,238K)

Twitter sees quite a few upsets going down in the first round. #11 Gonzaga will take down local and TB favorite #TheHall, with a 27.6K: 6.2K follower ratio.

I’ve also got #14 Fresno St. taking down a tough #3 Utah team, with a 33K: 24K ratio.

I see a highly touted #8 Texas Tech team taking down Top Seeded Virginia in the round of 32. Aggie nation has nearly 100K followers!

Fresno State’s Cinderella story will end at the hands of Denzel Valentine, but I’ve got Texas Tech taking out #4 Iowa State.

In the end, the Spartans will come out on top in the Midwest.

Final Four:

In my Twitter Final 4, I have #1 Kansas vs. #4 Duke, and #1 UNC vs. #2 Michigan State.

These are arguably two of the most popular and storied college basketball programs, so it is interesting how their on court success has translated to increased Twitter followers.

Ultimately I have both Carolina teams making it to the final in a matchup for the ages. The Carolina-Duke rivalry is one of the biggest in sports, with UNC leading 134-108 all time. The last time these two faced in the post season was the 1971 NIT, with UNC winning 73-67. Both teams are tied for 3rd all time with 5 NCAA Tourney Championships, so there will be a lot on the line in this game.

The Gazette March Madness 2016

Image via The Gazette

When it comes down to it, I don’t think filling your bracket based on Twitter followers is the worst way to fill out a bracket. It’s all a fluke as we know, and I did end up with some popular teams in the final, with an overall pretty realistic looking bracket.

Any thoughts on this method? Tweet me @harris_baker!