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March 13, 2011

Bracketless Bracket Update

Gelf's Bracketless Bracket tournament—the Bill James-designed contest in which readers pick their favorite team from each seed line—has attracted more than 500 entries so far from around the world. The most popular choice overall? Contestants chose seven seed Washington in more than half of the brackets. Basketball Reference's Neil Paine tells Gelf that based on the 10,000-tournament simulation he ran, Washington was the easiest pick. "The Huskies have 1.41 expected wins," Paine writes in an email. "No other 7-seed has more than 0.71 expected wins. The have a 73.7% chance of beating UGA in round 1, and are a great value with a 47.7% chance of beating big-name UNC in round 2." (You can see Paine's entire Bracketless Bracket here.)

Eric Angevine of CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball blog picked the favorites for some seed lines, like one-seed Ohio State and 12-seed Utah State, but he went against the crowd in picking Oakland as his favorite 13-seed instead of media darling Belmont. "The 13 seed line is full of great choices," he tells Gelf, "but Oakland has been through a gauntlet of tough teams in their non-conference season, and actually beat Tennessee during that brutal road trip. They're the most complete team and have a star in Keith Benson." (You can see Angevine's entire Bracketless Bracket here.)

Here are the most popular teams from each seed line based on the entries submitted so far; the cut off for submissions is Thursday at 12 pm:

1) Ohio State
2) North Carolina
3) Connecticut
4) Texas
5) Kansas State
6) St. Johns
7) Washington
8) Butler
9) Tennessee
10) Michigan State
11) Gonzaga
12) Utah State
13) Belmont
14) Bucknell
15) Akron
16) Boston University

Besides for seven seed Washington, ten seed Michigan State is the most popular choice, appearing in just under half of the submitted brackets. Within the top three seed lines, Ohio State and Connecticut were each chosen in more than 200 brackets, and BYU and Pittsburgh were both chosen in fewer than 70. The most even seed line? The nine seeds. Tennessee, Villanova, Old Dominion, and Illinois each attracted more than 100 votes.

Check out our stats page to get the up-to-date vote counts for all of the teams.

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