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Mar162017

Record number of NCAA Tournament brackets submitted to ESPN, North Carolina must popular pick for championship

Pixfly/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the NCAA Tournament underway, millions of Americans have their eyes on their brackets in hopes of bragging rights.

Nearly 19 million brackets were submitted on ESPN.com's Tournament Challenge this year -- a record number of submissions. On average, each user submitted 2.72 brackets.

No surprise, top seeds were the most popular picks to win the tournament. North Carolina was chosen as the eventual champ on 15.17 percent of brackets, while Villanova (12.98 percent) and Kansas (11.15 percent) were second and fourth most commonly picked. Number two seed Duke outlasted all others on 12.03 percent of brackets.

The most common Final Four combination? One seeds Villanova, North Carolina and Kansas, and two seed Arizona.

The biggest challenge during the tournament is usually selecting which lower ranked teams will pull off surprising wins. ESPN users think number nine seeds Seton Hall (50.47 percent) and Michigan State (51.41 percent) and ten seeds Wichita State (65.33 percent) and Marquette (55.89 percent) will be the first round shockers.

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