Round of 64 Recap: Duke-Mercer dominates Twitter, Even BEFORE Tip-Off

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).

Pre-Game Buzz NCAA 64

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).

Duke-Mercer Twittter Conv

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.

Goizueta Bracket Buzz Contest

bracketbuzzIn support of the Goizueta Marketing Communications Group, Manish and I have been asked to predict the game that generates the most “buzz” for each round of the NCAA tournament.  By buzz we mean the most pre-game (the period 24 hours before tip-off) social media noise.  From a marketing research perspective, this is an interesting endeavor.  Social media has great promise as a marketing research tool as it provides a source of organic and unconstrained data on consumer opinion.

During each round, Manish and I will identify the game that we expect to generate the most fan interest and provide some logic for our choices.  For example, in the first round my pick is the Kentucky-Kansas State matchup.  From the UK side, I think this game will generate the most noise because Kentucky has probably the most unhinged and irrational fans (a nicer man would say passionate) in all of college basketball.  These fans should be especially eager given last season’s early exit from the NIT.  Kansas State also has a deep tradition, and the fans are likely to find the UK matchup intriguing.  The matchup also includes coaches that embody the best and worst of college basketball.  Manish’s first round pick is the Ohio State-Dayton matchup.  Dayton basketball had the most loyal fan base among the non-major conferences in our previous study.   The Ohio State University has a large following, and this is a matchup of two schools in the same state.

To assess buzz, we will use a social media monitoring tool called Topsy Pro to track all of the pre-game mentions on Twitter for each game.  Click here to learn more about the buzz contest.

College Basketball Recruiting and the Best Fan Bases

For Big Ten rankings and a note on our methodology please click here.

For PAC-12 rankings please click here.

For ACC rankings please click here.

For Big 12 rankings please click here.

For SEC rankings please click here.

For Big East rankings please click here.

For the Best of the Rest click here.

While the college basketball season is far away, there are a number of interesting college basketball stories this summer.  Our plan for June is to focus on college basketball issues.  Our main focus will be on topics related to recruiting.

Our starting point, and the subject of today’s post, is a study of college basketball’s best fan bases.  We posted this originally as we launched the site (so very few folks have seen the results).  Fan bases relate to recruiting because they indicate enduring support from the fan base.  We will follow this analysis of fan base quality with more commentary related to the Ed O’Bannon case, and then data on which schools produce the most NBA players after adjusting for recruiting success.

For our College Basketball Fan Equity analysis we use a “Revenue Premium” method.  The intuition of this approach is that fan base quality is reflected in a school’s men’s basketball revenue relative to the team’s performance. To accomplish our analysis, we use a statistical model that predicts team revenues as a function of the team’s performance, as measured by winning rates and post season success.  The key insight is that when a team achieves revenues that greatly exceed what would be expected based on team performance, it is an indication of significant brand equity. The analysis therefore avoids bandwagon effects and gets at the core loyal fan bases.


The table provides the top ten overall schools.  Number one on the list also happens to be the most recent NCAA champion Louisville (note these ranking were computed prior to this past tournament).  Louisville scores so well because they have a great tradition, and play in a decent sized metropolitan area that does not have any pro teams.  The list does include many of the usual suspects such as Arizona, Duke and North Carolina.  How does this relate to recruiting?  Simple, strong fan bases equate to strong and high profile programs.  If an athlete wants exposure and opportunities to play on a big stage, then it makes sense to seek out a high brand equity program.  Of course, if the goal is to make it to the NBA, then this may or may not be the best strategy (we will get to this point as the NBA draft approaches).

One possible point of controversy is that Arkansas rates higher than Kentucky.  The key is that while both Arkansas and Kentucky receive outstanding support, Arkansas’ support occurs despite less on-court success.  The other possible interpretation is that Kentucky tends to underprice and may collect less revenues than possible.

Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi, Emory University 2013