Most popular NCAA tournament basketball bracket picks

The NCAA tournament is approaching fast, but you still have until noon ET Friday to make your picks. More than 10 million Tournament Challenge basketball brackets have already been entered, and you know you don’t want miss out on the fun.

Whether you take two seconds to click “autofill” and lock in your picks or take advantage of our ESPN+ Bracket Predictor and Cheat Sheet, you’ll want to fill out a bracket here and join the madness!

To whet your appetite, check out these interesting notes about the most popular NCAA tournament bracket picks:

Who is picked to win it all?

The most popular team picked to win the national title remains No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs at more than 35%. While there has been some slight fluctuation in percentages, the 1-seeds and 2-seeds hold down the top eight spots.

Other No. 1 seeds and percentage of brackets picking them as the champion:

• Illinois Fighting Illini – 15.4%

• Baylor Bears – 10.2%

• Michigan Wolverines – 7.8%

2-seeds and beyond as title winners:

No. 2 seeds Iowa Hawkeyes (3.6%), Ohio State Buckeyes (3.5%), Houston Cougars (3.0%) and Alabama Crimson Tide (2.9%) round out the top eight title picks before a notable drop-off to No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (1.8%) and No. 4 Oklahoma State Cowboys (1.5%).

The North Carolina Tar Heels a sneaky dark horse? Despite being nearly a coin-flip pick (53.2%) to beat No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers in the first round, the No. 8 Tar Heels remains a notable dark horse for the title at 0.8%. That’s a higher percentage than No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers and all 8-, 7- and 6-seeds, as well as all 5-seeds besides No. 5 Villanova Wildcats.

The classic upset: No. 12 versus No. 5 seed

No. 12 seeds are typically popular upset picks to beat a No. 5 seed in the first round. The Georgetown Hoyas are the most popular choice among 12-seeds with 43.8% picking them to oust No. 5 Colorado Buffaloes. 27.0% picked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos to beat the Creighton Bluejays, 26.5% have the Winthrop Eagles taking down Villanova, and 21.5% have the Oregon State Beavers upending the Tennessee Volunteers.

Battles between No. 8 and No. 9 seeds

All four No. 8 seeds (LSU Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, North Carolina Tar Heels, Loyola Chicago Ramblers) are consensus picks to beat their first-round 9-seed opponents (St. Bonaventure Bonnies, Missouri Tigers, Wisconsin Badgers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, respectively), However, there has been some movement in percentages.

LSU remains tops with 65% picking them over St. Bonaventure, though that is down from 66.9% on Wednesday. Oklahoma is picked to beat Missouri in 57.7% of brackets (60.0% Monday night).

Loyola Chicago is now up to a 54.0% advantage over Georgia Tech, who won’t have Moses Wright. That’s a big leap from the slight 50.1% advantage they had Monday night before that news broke.

And the aforementioned North Carolina is picked in 53.2% of brackets over Wisconsin (nearly the same as Monday night (53.7%)).

Biggest Tournament Challenge Groups

You can put your bracket in as many groups as you’d like. You know you’re going to battle your friends, family and coworkers, but you can also join our biggest groups to see how you fare against them.

Top 10 largest Tournament Challenge groups:

1. ESPN’s SportsCenter

2. ESPNLA Bracket Challenge

3. Jay Bilas’ Group

4. Pardon The Interruption

5. Mini Stephen A’s Group

6. Joe Lunardi’s Group

7. Jay Williams’ Group

8. Around the Horn’s Bold and Mute-aful

9. The Max Kellerman Show

10. SportsCenter on Snap

Bubble Watch: Greeny, Devonte Graham’s Group, Daily Wager 2021