The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is now down to 32 teams, after the conclusion of the Tulsa-UCLA game last night. As part of the Goizeuta Bracket Buzz contest, we were tasked to determine which of the 32 matchups in the Round of 64 would produce the most pre-game “buzz” on Twitter. Essentially, we looked at the 24 hour period before tip-off, and collected all tweets that mentioned either team or the match-up in that period. The Duke-Mercer matchup dominated the other 31 games in terms of pre-game buzz. This was before Mercer “shocked the world” in an upset that even lead CNN to make the story “Breaking News” on their website (taking headlines away from the plane search story for a few brief minutes). The pre-game tweets about the Duke-Mercer matchup focused primarily on Duke, specifically on Jabari Parker, Coach K, and final four picks. The tweets were from all over the country, manifesting that Duke is a powerful national basketball brand. The chart below shows the pre-game buzz for all 32 matchups (it has been indexed with Duke-Mercer as 100).
The Kansas-Eastern Kentucky matchup had the second most pre-game buzz. Many tweets focused on Andrew Wiggins and the health of other players. A closer examination of the Duke-Mercer matchup yields some interesting insights. First, even though Mercer won the game, the majority of the Twitter conversation both during the game and afterwards was about Duke. The chart below shows the percentage of the Twitter conversation around the matchup that was attributed to each team before the game (24 hours), during the game, and after the game (18 hours).
Finally, we can also examine the sentiment of the tweets (positive, negative, and neutral). Shockingly, Duke had a lower positive/negative tweet ratio than Mercer. A lot of the negative tweets around Mercer, especially after the game, were about how Mercer had “crushed” or “destroyed” people’s brackets.
Now, it’s on to the Round of 32 – we will be reviewing those games on Monday. See if you can predict which matchup will have the highest pre-game buzz!
Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi, Emory University 2014.