Tournament Challenge: Final stats at start of tournament

With NCAA tournament games underway and the Tournament Challenge locked, here are some of the more interesting storylines from the brackets submitted:

Virginia remains the most popular team to win the national title at 18.5 percent. Other No. 1 seeds:

  • Villanova -- 16.3 percent

  • Kansas -- 7.9 percent

  • Xavier -- 3.5 percent

America believes these teams also have a better shot of winning the national title than No. 1 seed Xavier:

  • No. 2 Duke -- 9.8

  • No. 3 Michigan State -- 8.6 percent

  • No. 2 UNC -- 6.9 percent

  • No. 4 Arizona -- 4.9 percent

  • No. 3 Michigan -- 3.8 percent

Only 8.2 percent of brackets have No. 1 seed Xavier reaching the championship game.

  • The other No. 1s: Virginia (32.9 percent), Villanova (31.7 percent) and Kansas (14.7 percent).

  • No. 2 Duke (17.5 percent) and No. 3 Michigan State (16.4 percent) are picked to reach the title game in more brackets than No. 1 seeds Kansas and Xavier.

The public continues to love New Mexico State, picking the No. 12 seed to upset No. 5 Clemson in 28.6 percent of brackets. As for other No. 12s, 23.9 percent are picking No. 12 South Dakota State over No. 5 Ohio State; 20.7 percent have No. 12 Davidson over No. 5 Kentucky; and 17.4 percent have No. 12 Murray State over West Virginia.

A pair of No. 10 seeds continue getting love. No. 10 Butler is picked to reach the Sweet 16 in 11.9 percent of brackets and the Elite 8 in 5.3 percent of brackets, while No. 10 Texas is at 11.2 percent for the Sweet 16 and 4.0 percent for the Elite 8.

The public is siding with the “underdog” in one 8-9 seed battle and predicting a near tossup in another: 52.0 percent have No. 9 NC State beating No. 8 Seton Hall, while 49.3 percent of entries have No. 9 Alabama taking down No. 8 Virginia Tech.

The most popular national title game combination remains No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 1 Villanova in 12.7 percent of brackets.

The most popular Final Four matchups are Villanova-Duke (18.0 percent of brackets) and Virginia-UNC (18.9 percent).

Is this the year a No. 16 beats a No. 1? More people are buying into No. 16 Penn (4.9 percent vs. No. 1 Kansas) making it to the second round than No. 15 seeds Iona (4.3 percent), CSU Fullerton (4.3 percent) and Lipscomb (4.1 percent).

The first-round upset picked in the most brackets is No. 10 Butler (58 percent) over No. 7 Arkansas.

The top-10 largest Tournament Challenge groups are (in order): ESPN's SportsCenter, TC Challenge ESPN, ESPN Streak, Dick Vitale's Group, ESPN SportsNation, Migos' Group, Golic and Wingo, ESPN's First Take, Pardon the Interruption, and Around the Horn MUTE THIS.