Just like how Solitaire has a large following, College sports do to—from people who grew up in a college town to those rooting for their alma mater, there is no shortage of fandom.
Something is different about college basketball, however, as the March Madness tournament draws attention from even non-sports fans.

One reason for this is the bracket. The March Madness brackets garner attention from people from all walks of life as avid fans of the game encourage their friends, family, coworkers, and more to compete. Whether you are playing for bragging rights or simply trying to prove yourself as a college basketball expert, brackets add an extra layer of fun to the sport.

In addition to the brackets, many other areas of the March Madness tournament contribute to the excitement that drives the obsession of fans. So, our team set out to find which parts of the country are the most faithful of the tournament’s followers. Read on to find out just how obsessed the state you call home is.


Key Takeaways

  • Residents in Arizona, Utah, and Nebraska are the most obsessed with March Madness.
  • Residents in Indianapolis, IN, Phoenix, AZ, and Nashville, TN, are the most obsessed with March Madness.
  • The average American watches six games in the March Madness tournament each year.
  • Duke and UConn are Americans’ top picks to win the 2024 March Madness tournament.
  • Our study found that 33% of Americans watch the March Madness tournament every year.
  • When it comes to March Madness, 1 in 5 Americans make a bracket every year.

The States Most Obsessed with March Madness

A heatmap of the U.S. showing the states that are most and least obsessed with March Madness
Photo: Solitaire Bliss

March Madness is a tradition in college basketball that has existed for decades. Each year, the best teams face off on a grand stage in a bracket-style tournament to determine who deserves the title of “champion.”

As fans around the world finalize their brackets in preparation for the tournament, our team set out to determine where fans are the most March Madness obsessed. Leading the way with the most excitement are Arizona residents, with an obsession score of 97.12 out of 100.

Phoenix, AZ, hosted the 2017 March Madness championship game, and it appears fans in the state still can’t get enough of the college basketball action. Our study found that 1 in 3 residents watch the tournament each year, and 47% of people in the state plan to make a bracket this year.

Coming in second for March Madness obsession is Utah, with a score of 95.49 out of 100. Residents of the state are most likely to make brackets both for fun and competition as their way of celebrating the tournament.

Rounding out the top three is Nebraska, where 22% of residents like to watch the games at a bar or restaurant. In addition, 1 in 6 Nebraska natives wear their favorite team’s merchandise and colors to show their support throughout March.

Although North Carolina didn’t crack the top three on our obsession ranking, the state is home to several teams that regularly make appearances in the tournament. Over the past decade, the University of North Carolina and Duke University have both claimed the championship title, adding to their collective 11 titles throughout history.

In 2021, two of the most famous college coaches in history, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski, announced their retirement. Perhaps the loss of UNC and Duke’s longtime coaches is what kept the state from earning a higher obsession score.


The U.S. Cities Who Love March Madness Most

A U.S. map showing the cities that are most obsessed with March Madness
Photo: Solitaire Bliss

While all states may have fans from border to border, certain cities tend to be a hub of excitement around tournament time. From tournament host hotbeds to captivated college towns, we decided to zoom in to find which cities are the most excited for this year’s March Madness tournament.

Coming in first in Indianapolis, IN, with an obsession score of 98.38 out of 100. Since 2000, the city has hosted the championship game five times. We found that 69% of Indianapolis residents will select a new team to cheer for if their team isn’t in the tournament, showing a true love for the game.

In second place is Phoenix, AZ, where nearly 1 in 2 residents plan to make a bracket for this year’s tournament. In addition to the brackets, 22% of residents plan to attend watch parties to watch the action unfold.

Nashville, TN, ranked third for March Madness obsession with a score of 88.91 out of 100. Nearly 1 in 5 residents of the city plan to host watch parties, while an additional 16% plan to attend games this year.

So far this season, the University of Tennessee has earned a nearly perfect record at home. Perhaps this is why fans are eager to attend games during the March Madness tournament.


The Most Die-Hard Fanbases During March Madness

A graphic showing the colleges with the most March Madness-obsessed fans
Photo: Solitaire Bliss

Many college basketball fans don’t live in the same state as their favorite team, so we decided to rank fanbases for their March Madness obsession to gain better insight into the excitement.

Coming in first as the most die-hard fanbase is Iowa State. The Cyclones are among the top-ranked teams this season, and fans are excited to see what their team can do in the NCAA tournament.

In second place with an obsession score of 93.88 is North Carolina. Last season was the first time since 2010 that the Tar Heels didn’t make it to the championship tournament. With a better record this season, fans are hoping for a big return.

Rounding out the ranking for the most excited fanbases is the University of Connecticut. This season, UConn has been a top contender for the championship. As of the end of February, the Huskies remain undefeated at home, which could be contributing to fans’ excitement.

Iowa State and North Carolina fans go beyond simply rooting for their team—our study found that these fans are most likely to engage in playful trash talk with other fans. While Colorado State didn’t rank high for March Madness obsession, we found Rams’ fans have created more perfect brackets than any other team’s fanbase.


Each U.S. State’s 2024 March Madness Pick

A U.S. map showing the team each state thinks will win the 2024 March Madness Tournament
Photo: Solitaire Bliss

So now that we know the parts of the country that are most excited for March Madness, we set out to find who each state thinks will take home the title this year. Overall, Duke and UConn are Americans’ top picks to win the 2024 March Madness tournament.

It comes as no surprise that several states picked a local team to win this year’s tournament. However, we also found several states were split on who they think will win. There was a four-way tie in California, with residents divided between UConn, Duke, Arizona, and Kansas as this year’s champions.

Half of Florida residents are certain their Gators will be the team cutting down the net from the hoop, and the other half of the state thinks Duke will reign supreme.

Enjoy a Good Game? Try Solitaire

Just like a March Madness bracket, online games can help keep the competition going even when your team isn’t on the court. With games like Solitaire and FreeCell, you can play for bragging rights, beat the clock, and more.

With Solitaire Bliss, you don’t even have to wait for March to roll around. You can feel the excitement of competition anytime and anywhere.


Methodology

In this study, we surveyed Americans in every state and city across the U.S. to determine which parts of the country are most obsessed with March Madness.

To determine obsession levels, we asked a variety of questions, including how many games respondents watch on average, if they continue to watch the tournament even if their team is knocked out if they make a bracket and more. We then awarded points to answers that represented excitement for March Madness and calculated the average score for each state, city, and college team fanbase. Finally, we adjusted scores on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most March Madness obsessed.

To build a list of teams for survey respondents to choose from, we pulled the 68 teams who were most likely to make the tournament, according to ESPN.


To determine the general interest in March Madness by state over time, we collected the YoY change since 2020, which compares the monthly search volume of the latest month with the same month of the previous year.
This data was included in the March Madness obsession scoring.

Photo: Solitaire Bliss

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