Rooting for the Underdog

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Building the Bracket

March Madness is officially upon us, as the first four teams duke it out this Tuesday and Wednesday for their chance to become NCAA champions. Villanova, last year’s champions, Gonzaga, and Kansas sit at the top three spots in the AP Top 25 poll. According to FiveThirtyEight’s predictions, these three also have strong chances at the championship trophy, with Villanova at the top spot of a 15 percent chance to win it all. Gonzaga is at 14 percent and Kansas is at a 10 percent.

Villanova had a big season this year, despite the Wildcats’ loss of key players: junior Jay Booth (who suffered from a knee injury after three games) and freshman Omari Spellman. Nonetheless, seniors Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Kris Jenkins led their team in this strong season. Similarly, Gonzaga had a boastful 32-1 regular season led by USA TODAY Sports’ Coach of the Year, Mark Few. And once again, Kansas captured the No. 1 seed. This is the seventh time in the past eleven years that they have done so.

The West Region #SelectionSunday

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While the big boys are expected to do well throughout the tournament, let’s take a look at some of the underdogs who could very well be this year’s “Cinderella Story” and bust some brackets in the process.

Bracket Busters

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Part of the excitement of March Madness is the possible chance of upsets, starting with the very first round. Number 10 seed Wichita State, currently on a 15-game winning streak, is expected to beat out number 7 seed Dayton. Number 9 seed Vanderbilt is also expected to win over Number 8 seed and tournament first-timer, Northwestern. There are a few close calls and potential upsets between Maryland (No. 6) and Xavier (No. 11), Arkansas (No. 8) and Seton Hall (No. 9), and Minnesota (No. 5) and Middle Tennessee (No. 12).

The South Region #SelectionSunday

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Chalk It Up

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While these games are up in the air, we can always count on sure things between No. 1 and 2 seeds versus Number 15 and 16 seeds. We can expect No. 1 North Carolina, to win handedly over Texas Southern, Gonzaga over South Dakota, Louisville over Jacksonville State, Kentucky over Northern Kentucky, and Duke over Troy. While rivals No. 2 Duke and No. 1 North Carolina are both widely considered the favorites to win it all this year, potentially adding a sixth tourney win under Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s belt, Kentucky could make things difficult.

Let’s Ball

This year’s March Madness is sure to be thrilling as always. Why not pick up your favorite team’s gear at Fanatics.com before going to this year’s watch parties?

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March Madness Winning Teams Color Analysis

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March Madness is beginning to amp up as the NCAA men’s hoops regular season winds down. While you’re sharpening your pencil to fill out your bracket after Selection Sunday, we here at Fanatics have taken a look at past champs and the runners-up. Specifically, we’re taking a gander at the color combos of their uniforms, and if there may be some prediction power behind them.

The Champs

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First, let’s look at every champion in NCAA tourney history since players first took the court and battled it out in 1939. At first glance, a few colorways stand out – namely blues, reds, and a little yellow and gold.

Top Ten Colors for NCAA March Madness Championships Winners

  1. White & Blue
  2. Gold & Blue
  3. Red & Black
  4. White & Red
  5. Red & Cream
  6. Red & Blue
  7. Orange & Blue
  8. Gold & Green
  9. Range & Black
  10. Red & Grey

The color blue, for example, is very well-represented among college hoops champs – with Kentucky hoisting the trophy eight times, Duke and North Carolina five times, and Connecticut four times. The most recent champion, Villanova, has won twice.

There are plenty of reds, also, in various combos (including alongside blue at KU and Arizona). Blue hooking up with gold is another highly popular championship colorway (especially considering  UCLA‘s gigantic winning streak in the mid’-60s through early ’70s).

Winning Color Combos

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Looking at both the champs and the runners-up, blue is definitely where it’s at. The blue and white color combo steals the show on both accounts. On the winning side, blue and white has won it all a whopping 24 times, followed by blue and gold, which comes in at 14.

Dropping off a bit further, the different combos with red start to make an appearance. For example, red and black teams brought the NCAA trophy home six times, as did teams wearing white and red. Red and cream-clad teams have won five times, and squads with red and blue threads have won four times.  

Colorways like gold and brown, gray and blue, orange, purple and black, purple, red and gold, yellow and blue, and yellow and green have all won the tournament one time.

On the runners-up side, the uniform colors are similar to (but not exact duplicates of) the color combos of the champs. Blue and white, again, comes out on top, with 20 second place finishing teams wearing those colors.

The numbers drop off steeply after that, with red and blue grabbing the title of runner-up seven times, as did white and red. Gold and blue came in second six times, followed by three colorways that came in second for a total of five times: gray and blue, red and gray, and yellow and blue.  

Breaking it Down

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Popping the championship teams into tidy slots based on their uniform color combos shows that, while blue colorways are the usual suspects when it comes to winning, and red combos aren’t far behind, they’re not the only colors that bring the trophy home.

Some of the outlier colorways include the gold and green of the San Francisco Dons, the gold and brown of the Wyoming Cowboys, the purple and black of the CCNY Beavers, the white and green of the Michigan State Spartans, and the orange and blue of both Florida and UTEP.

Some teams, like Syracuse and Holy Cross, are even more unique, as they don’t have an official second color.

Dressing Like a Champ

Do red or blue uniform color combos guarantee that a team will win the NCAA tournament? Not necessarily. While there is certainly plenty of variety in college team colors, blues and reds just seem to win more.

However, that doesn’t mean blue and red colorways are definitely going to bring the trophy home. Whether your favorite college hoops team dons red, blue, or another completely different color combo, you can head over to Fanatics.com to get your gear before Selection Sunday and root your team on during March Madness.

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NCAA best selling Final Four team in each state

Fanatics analyzed the sales for the merchandise of the 2016 men’s college basketball championship sales this week.

NCAA final four sales per state

The map represents top selling teams, which are still playing in the tournament, in each state between March 27 until March 31 2016, where the sales of merchandise happened on Fanatics.com.

Yahoo reported:

Syracuse fans have ordered more than the rest—a lot more. Sales of Syracuse gear rose 750% in the five days from March 27 to March 31. That’s not just the biggest sales spike of the Final Four teams, or of teams that played in the tourney this year. It’s the largest sales bump by any college on the site, ever.

Syracuse Orange gear was the number 1 searched term on Fanatics.com across all sports for 3/28 & 3/29.  More people searched for Syracuse merchandise in these two days, than for the Golden State Warriors or popular NBA or MLB players.

Week over week growth numbers in sales for the final four are:

  1. Syracuse Orange +750%
  2. Villanova Wildcats +640%
  3. Oklahoma Sooners +300%
  4. North Carolina Tar Heels +250%

Although Syracuse is showing the largest peak in sales over the last couple of days, UNC is the number 1 seller in this year’s NCAA tournament.