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NPR's Facebook Audience Picks Villanova As NCAA Men's Basketball Champions

Ronald Martinez
Getty Images
Kris Jenkins (2) of the Villanova Wildcats shoots the game-winning 3-pointer to defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 in the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Whether you're a Bobcat, Colonial, Catamount or Bulldog, there's nearly no doubt you've heard of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament that kicks off in full on Thursday.

On Tuesday, we asked NPR's Facebook audience to pick all 67 games of the NCAA Tournament, and you came through, ultimately picking the Villanova Wildcats to repeat as men's basketball champions. You can watch the broadcast in the videos attached to the story.

The second video is every pick from the second round until the national championship game.


You can see the bracket chosen solely by our Facebook audience below. Judging by the comments, the audience picked based on basketball knowledge, uniform colors, mascot strength and other criteria. During the broadcast, we offered up mascot matchups between teams: Would you choose a wildcat over a cavalier? (to represent the Villanova vs. Virginia game)

The NPR audience bracket selections

Frankly, there were so many emoji picks that we lost count, but rest assured that more than 200,000 people saw the stream and could participate if they so chose. We're thankful for all of you who did. Over the combined 2 1/2-hour broadcast, our Facebook audience ultimately ended up with a fairly favorite-heavy bracket.

  • Your Final Four teams consisted of No. 1 seeds Villanova and Gonzaga, along with No. 2 Louisville and No. 3 UCLA.
  • There's a huge upset early, but we're not sure if you all think the No. 15 Troy Trojans have a legitimate shot or the Internet just really hates Duke.
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  • Solely based on region ranks, the audience chose 14 upsets out of 32 first-round games (three were 8-9 matchups, with another three between 7-10 matchups).
  • The lowest-ranked team that went the furthest in the tournament was the No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles, making it all the way to the Elite Eight (East Region Final), but they were the beneficiary of the biggest upset pick by the audience of No. 15 Troy over No. 2 Duke.
  • Kara Frame
    Nipper the Newshound, played by NPR staffer Becky Harlan, talks to the hosts during NPR Live's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament show. Nipper (the dog) is NPR's unofficial mascot and an affectionate name for NPR staffers.

    We submitted the bracket chosen by the audience to ESPN (as of Wednesday afternoon, we were already eliminated from perfect bracket contention since the audience chose Wake Forest over Kansas State in the First Four matchup from Tuesday evening). Since we were actually pretty tired after yesterday's broadcast, we didn't get the submission in until Wednesday morning, so in all fairness, we just replaced Wake Forest with Kansas State and had it go as far as you chose Wake Forest to advance.

    One last thing: We have created a group tournament challenge between the NPR Live team and other NPR staffers. We'd like you to join as well and compete against us and NPR's audience. There are no prizes being given, but you will be able to tout your picking prowess should you come out on top. You can create your bracket at ESPN in the Nipper Live group with the password "gooddognipper" (sans quotes).

    We'll revisit your picks from Tuesday throughout the tournament and see just how well NPR's audience knows its basketball, even if we're not going to beat those 1 in 9.24-quintillion odds of a perfect bracket.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

    Kara Frame
    NPR staffers (also known as Nippers) Joe Ruiz, Julie Rogers and Laura Roman appear on NPR Live discussing the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Rogers, a historian on NPR's Research, Archives and Data Strategy team, is representing her alma mater, the Wisconsin Badgers, with her choice of headwear.