March Madness tips off for Michigan and Michigan State on Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but for fans of the two schools, the madness has already started online.
Earlier this week, Facebook unveiled a set of maps showing the most-liked college basketball team in every county across the United States. The map is based on more than 1 million Facebook likes.
And while U-M and MSU were pretty evenly matched on the court this year — the teams split two meetings during the regular season — Wolverine fans are delivering a butt-kicking on Facebook.
Only seven counties in the whole state support the Spartans over the Wolverines, according to a map comparing the two schools directly. Nationally, wide swatches of the country are painted maize, showing support for Michigan, with only a few patches of green.
Deadspin.com published a composite map of the Facebook data showing how fans across the country liked all 68 schools participating in the NCAA tournament. Michigan, predictably, won over most of Michigan and a few counties in northern Ohio.
Traditional hoops powerhouses like North Carolina and Duke received most of the likes nation-wide, but Michigan, surprisingly, is the most liked team in San Francisco even though the University of California, Berkeley and St. Mary's, both located in the Bay Area, are competing in the tournament.
Other maps Facebook has published show which conferences, high-ranked schools and potential Cinderella teams have the most likes.
How do you think the NCAA tournament will play out? How far do you think Michigan and Michigan State will go? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom