Which States Are Most Excited to Fill March Madness Brackets?

Which States Are Most Excited to Fill March Madness Brackets?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

One of the most exciting sporting events in America, and the biggest one for wagering at top US betting sites, gets underway this week.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament, known far and wide as March Madness, begins Tuesday and Wednesday with “First Four” games and really picks up steam starting Thursday. By then, millions will have filled out their brackets.

The day after Selection Sunday, many Americans love to fill out a March Madness bracket with coworkers, family, and friends. But which states are the most excited to continue this tradition? USBettingReport.com, with an eye toward both friendly competition as well as massive stakes for legal online sports betting, used Google Trends to research that topic. We used search interest scores on a scale from 1-100 to compile the top states most interested in March Madness brackets as measured by the highest search volume. This was taken the day after brackets for the men’s and women’s tournaments were revealed.

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States With Most March Madness Bracket Search Interest

State Google Trends Search Interest Score
Nebraska 100
Iowa 86
Wisconsin 65
Indiana 59
Utah 58

Midwest States Come Out On Top

USBettingReport.com has reviews of US mobile sports betting operators as well as unique insights on sports coverage such as this list. This research was prepared exclusively for USBR.

In perhaps something of an upset, states rich in basketball tradition such as North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas, do not appear on our top five as far as states that have generated the most search interest for March Madness brackets (see our list of NCAA Basketball Cinderellas for a list of states that have produced the most double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16 since 2000).

Instead, Nebraska is at the top of our list with a score of 100 in measured March Madness brackets search interest. The Nebraska Cornhuskers had one of their best seasons in decades in 2023-24, finishing tied for third in the Big Ten and receiving a No. 8 seed in the men’s South Region. And Omaha’s own Creighton Bluejays are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region.

Big Ten country continues to fill the next spots on our list, with Iowa (86 points) finishing second, Wisconsin (65) third and Indiana (59) fourth. It’s not only the men who have fans in Iowa excited; Caitlin Clark has led the Iowa Hawkeyes to a No. 1 seed in the women’s tourney (see our Women’s NCAA Tournament Cinderellas for recent examples of teams that pulled off multiple upsets).

Going back to the men’s bracket, Iowa State is the No. 2 seed in the East Region and the state of Wisconsin has two legitimate hopes for a deep tournament run: The Marquette Golden Eagles are the No. 2 seed in the South and the Wisconsin Badgers are the fifth seed in the same region. As for Indiana, hopes ride with the Purdue Boilermakers, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.

The fifth state on our list is Utah (58 points), which sent BYU (No. 6 seed in the East Region) and Utah State (No. 8 seed in the Midwest) to the Big Dance this year.

NCAA Basketball Tournament Odds

BetMGM Sportsbook lists 2023 national champion Connecticut as the favorite to win this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with +400 odds. The Huskies are bidding to be the first repeat champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Two other top seeds, Houston (+600) and Purdue (+650) are next, followed by Arizona, the No. 2 seed in the West Region, at +1100. Interestingly, the No. 1 seed in the West, North Carolina, has slightly longer odds than Arizona, at +1300, to win it all.

As for the women’s tournament, undefeated South Carolina is the prohibitive favorite, with better than even-money odds with major operators. DraftKings Sportsbook has the best value on the Gamecocks among major operators as of Monday afternoon, with -130 odds to win the tournament. Iowa (+550) and defending champion LSU (+900) are next. Unusually, there’s a women’s No. 1 seed in one of two Portland regions that has +4000 odds to win it all – that’s Southern California. USC is behind seven other teams on the odds board.

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Author

Jim Tomlin is a writer and editor for USBettingReport.com. He has been a journalist for 30 years, with experience at publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, Saturday Tradition, Saturday Down South and FanRag.