Every year, No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NCAA bracket get most of the championship picks among Bracket Challenge Game players. But sometimes one team takes up so much attention that there’s a sizable gap among the most-picked choices. Other years, BCG users spread out the selections.

Here’s a look at the most picked Bracket Challenge Game championship winners, going back to 2014. We also list the champion and its percentage — if that winner wasn’t the same as the most-chosen champ.

The most popular pick: Duke — 39.12 percent
The champ: Virginia — 5.86 percent

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Virginia celebrates is 2019 NCAA championship.

Duke seemingly had it all. The Blue Devils won the ACC tournament title, were 29-5, grabbed the No. 1 overall seed — and had Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and others. Add that all up and more than 39 percent of BCG players picked Duke to cut down the nets. The Blue Devils had close calls with No. 9 UCF and No. 4 Virginia Tech before falling to No. 2 Michigan State in an Elite Eight thriller.

Virginia, the ACC regular-season champ, went all the way on only 5.86 percent of BCG brackets. But one year after UVA lost to UMBC in the historic 16-over-1 shocker, the Cavaliers won their first national title.

The most popular pick (and champion): Villanova — 17.52 percent

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Villanova wins the 2018 NCAA title.

Virginia had the No. 1 overall seed at 31-2, but De’Andre Hunter broke his wrist in the ACC tournament and had to miss the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers’ stay didn’t last, however, with No. 16 UMBC’s monumental upset leaving 16.46 percent of users without their champion in the tournament after the first round.

But Virginia wasn’t even the most popular pick. That would be Villanova. The Wildcats, another No. 1 seed, dominated their opponents that year, winning all six NCAA tournament games by double digits.

MARCH MADNESS: Print out tour 2021 NCAA tournament bracket here


The most popular pick (and champion): North Carolina — 14.55 percent

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North Carolina's Theo Pinson

UNC was both the most popular pick and the eventual 2017 champion, but there was not much of a gap between the Tar Heels and other favorite BCG title selections. Here’s how bunched up it was at the top, including what would be North Carolina’s final opponent (Gonzaga):

  • North Carolina: 14.55 percent
  • Kansas: 12.44 percent
  • Villanova: 12.26 percent
  • Duke: 11.69 percent
  • UCLA: 11.14 percent
  • Gonzaga: 9.99 percent

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The most popular pick: Kansas — 24.87 percent
The champ: Villanova — 2.36 percent

Champion Villanova took down the most popular BCG pick, Kansas, in the Elite Eight. The Jayhawks claimed the No. 1 overall seed, but they weren’t the runaway favorite choice — Michigan State came in second. However, the No. 2 Spartans lost to No. 15 Middle Tennessee, disappointing nearly 22 percent of BCG players who had Tom Izzo and Michigan State winning it all.