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FanPulse March Madness: When the masses make picks the favorites win a lot

Turns out if you leave voting on seeded matchup open the voters tend to pick the higher seed overall.

Oregon v Virginia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

No NCAA tournament no problem. SBNation’s FanPulse is here to solve the problem, by creating an arbitrary (but fun) bracket and have you — the fans — pick the teams game by game.

So who did we (the royal we) pick?

South Region

1. ** REDACTED ** (96%) def. 16. Prairie View A&M (3%)/NC Central (1%)

8. Saint Mary’s (69%) def. 9. USC (31%)

5. Ohio State (74%) def. 12. Yale (26%)

4. Seton Hall (90%) def. 13. Akron (10%)

6. Virginia (71%) def. 11. Utah State (29%)

3. Maryland (92%) def. 14. Bradley (8%)

7. Providence (51%) def. 10. ETSU (49%)

2. Kentucky (96%) def. 15. Boston (4 %)

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky is a favorite here because the 1-seed is under FBI investigation and been served a notice of allegations by the NCAA. But not a real strong quadrant, Maryland struggled down the stretch a bit having lost three of the final five games. Ohio State might be a bit of a dark horse, having recovered from a rough start to conference play, but finished inside the top 10 in KenPom. And to be honest the Wildcats were mostly just mediocre all year, not really two-seed material.

West Region

1. Gonzaga (97%) def. 16. Northern Kentucky (3%)

9. Oklahoma (59%) def. 8. Colorado (41%)

5. Iowa (74%) def. 12. Liberty (26%)

4. Oregon (84%) def. 13. Belmont (16%)

11. Marquette (52%) def. 6. BYU (48%)

3. Duke (93%) def. 14. North Texas (7%)

10. Texas Tech (67%) def. 7. LSU (33%)

2. San Diego State (96%) def. Eastern Washington (4%)

NCAA Basketball: St. Mary’s at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Take the Zags. They are the most efficient offensive team by a fair amount. I don’t like the matchup for San Diego State against Duke, but there’s a lot of meh in the rest of the bracket. Though Marquette probably got the upset bump because of Markus Howard, I think BYU would win that head-to-head.

Midwest Region

1. Baylor (97%) def. 16. Winthrop (3%)

9. Arizona State (52%) def. 8. Houston (48%)

5. Butler (64%) def. 12. Stephen F. Austin (36%)

4. Wisconsin (84%) def. 12. New Mexico State (16%)

6. Penn State (58%) def. 11. Texas (20%)/NC State (22%)

3. Villanova (95%) def. 14. Hofstra (5%)

7. West Virginia (54%) def. 10. Rutgers (46%)

2. Florida State (95%) def. 15. Little Rock (5%)

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

I like Florida State here. Leonard Hamilton had them rolling, good on both ends of the floor. And as good as Baylor was all year, they were an elite defense and a mostly good offense and mainly played at a slower pace than FSU. The Seminoles should be able to get the tempo where they want with their pressure defense and a handful of NBA talent. My dark horse here would have been Penn State, I dunno I just like the story.

East Region

1. Dayton (96%) def. 16. Siena (2%)/Robert Morris (2%)

9. Florida (55%) def. 8. Arizona (45%)

5. Michigan (70%) def. 12. Cincinnati (30%)

4. Louisville (85%) def. 13. Vermont (15%)

6. Auburn (64%) def. 11. Indiana (26%)/Richmond (10%)

3. Michigan State (94%) def. 14. UC Irvine (6%)

7. Illinois (57%) def. 10. UCLA (43%)

2. Creighton (94%) def. 15. North Dakota State (6%)

NCAA Basketball: Davidson at Dayton David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

That we were denied an NCAA tournament watch party with Obi Toppin will never not make me a little sad. This is the best quadrant because of the strength of the offense with all these teams. Dayton #2 in efficiency, Creighton #3, Michigan State #10, Louisville #12, Michigan #20. It’s also hard not to like Michigan State as a bit of a dark horse. They were the preseason #1 team and had a lot of uncontrollable outside factors derail them a bit early. But they were playing as well as anyone down the stretch.

Voting is continuing, I’ll have the results for the Round of 32 up soon.