How Interested Is The State Of North Carolina In The NCAA Tournament?

How Interested Is The State Of North Carolina In The NCAA Tournament?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Selection Sunday is less than three weeks away as March Madness fever heats up. With the Division I NCAA Men’s Tournament right around the corner, utilized Google Trends to look at the highest search volume of the terms, “March Madness,” “College Basketball” and “NCAA Tournament” in the United States over the past 30 days. 

After gathering data on Feb. 16, we determined the states with the most interest in the upcoming tournament. 

Here are the results. 

And with momentum finally behind mobile North Carolina sports betting, stay close to this site for more pieces like this as well as legislative updates.

States With Most Interest in 2023 NCAA Tournament

Overall Rank State Average Rank of Interest In Topic
1 Indiana 1.7
2 Kansas 2.3
3 Iowa 4.3
4 Nebraska 6.3
5Kentucky 7.3
6Alabama 7.7
7Arkansas 12.0
T8Ohio 13.3
T8 Wisconsin 13.3
T10 Nevada 13.7
T10North Carolina 13.7
12Michigan 14.0
13 West Virginia 14.3
T14 Illinois 14.7
T14 Missouri 14.7

Heavy Hitters Having Down Years

North Carolina has 18 Division I college basketball programs, the fourth-most of any state behind only California, Texas and New York. However, North Carolina just barely cracks the Top 10 in the states most-interested in the NCAA Tournament. 

You could credit that to the lack of success for the state’s blue blood programs. North Carolina, which came just three points shy of a national title last spring, is 16-11 and ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In-state rival Duke is 20-8 and sixth in the ACC. Both are unranked. 

North Carolina State, which is 21-7 and fifth in the ACC, just missed the top 25 in the latest Associated Press men’s basketball poll, tops among teams in the "also receiving votes" category. The Wolfpack had been No. 23 in the previous week's poll. Wake Forest is 17-10 and seventh in the ACC. 

According to DraftKings, though, Duke has the best odds of North Carolina’s ACC programs to make the Final Four at +1100. UNC odds are +1400 and N.C. State is +3500. To win the national title, Duke is 50-to-1 (+5000), UNC is 70-to-1 (+7000) and N.C. State is 180-to-1 (+18000). 

Expect major national sports betting operators to jump into North Carolina quickly should legislation pass, likely meaning that DraftKings Sportsbook in North Carolina will be available for next year's March Madness.

Other Contenders

Across the other Division I programs in North Carolina, UNC Asheville has rejuvenated fans after capturing its first Big South regular-season championship on Saturday with a win over Gardner-Webb (Boiling Springs, North Carolina). 

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 22-7, but will still need a Big South Tournament title to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. 

UNC Greensboro and Western Carolina are among the top teams in the Southern Conference. UNC Greensboro is 19-10 with a 13-3 conference record, good for third in the league. Western Carolina is one spot behind at 16-13 overall. UNC Wilmington went 21-8 and is third in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

If mobile sports betting becomes a reality in the state, check with us for the best North Carolina sportsbook promo codes to get top-notch introductory deals.

And check out the latest on the new online North Carolina sports betting bill here.



Shelby Dermer

Shelby Dermer is a reporter & journalist for Shelby has been a sports reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer for the last five years and now lends his expertise to the emerging North Carolina sports betting market.

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