Whether your school made this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament or not, it’s hard to avoid getting hooked on the March Madness action. For weeks, the tournament captures attention all over the country, bring casual viewers and diehards alike into the conversation every single game.
Canvs, the emotion measurement company, compiles Emotional Reactions (ERs) on Twitter from each contest this year, including each of the 64 games played thus far. Audiences had plenty to say about the games, though some elicited stronger reactions than others.
Looking solely at CBS’s NCAA Tournament games through the Elite Eight, it’s little surprise that the Midwest Regional final between traditional powers like the Kansas Jayhawks and Duke Blue Devils led the way with 19.7% of all ERs out of over 401,600. Over the course of the thrilling 85-81 overtime win, “love” led the way with 23.2% of ERs, followed by “enjoy” at 14.4%. “Hate” was third with 8.1%, likely powered by the polarizing nature of Duke basketball, in particular.
Traditional college basketball powers also guided the conversations for many of CBS’s other top ER-generating matchups as well. Syracuse vs. Michigan State’s second round game (a 55-53 upset by the 11th-seeded Orange) owned 10.4% of ERs, followed by Kansas State and Kentucky in the Sweet 16 with 9.9% and Texas A&M vs. North Carolina at 8.3%. All of those games were big upsets, as was Buffalo’s first round win over Arizona (7.2% of all ERs on CBS tournament broadcasts).
Kentucky was the largest individual driver of ERs during CBS games, at 4.5%. Syracuse was second at 3.8%, then Arizona (3.6%), Duke guard Grayson Allen (3%) and Okahoma star Trae Young (1.8%).
NCAA Tournament games appeared on three other networks as well, however, and those matchups would tell a slightly different story.
On TBS, where the Final Four will be broadcast this year, Cinderella story Loyola-Chicago drove the most ERs — 19.2% of 177,407 on the network — for its huge win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight. Michigan’s buzzer-beating second-round win over Houston was next with 14.1%, and the Wolverines’ thrilling Elite Eight win over Florida State was third at 10.4%. “Love,” “enjoy” and “crazy” were the predominant ERs during TBS games, with 24.2%, 19.7% and 11.1% of the total ERs, respectively. Loyola led the way as a driver, with 4% of the total ERs on TBS.
During games broadcast on TNT, underdogs led the way as well. UMBC’s historic (first No. 16 seed to ever beat a No. 1) upset over Virginia drove 62.5% of the 246,132 ERs on the network. The next three were all upsets as well — Florida State knocking off No. 1 Xavier in round two, Marshall beating Wichita State in the first round, and Nevada’s furious comeback against Cincinnati. UMBC also dominated from a topic standpoint — with 21.6% of all ERs revolving around the Retrievers.
Underdogs took center stage once during truTV’s games as well. UMBC’s second round game vs. Kansas State motivated 41.3% of 100,437 ERs during NCAA Tournament games on the network. Loyola’s last-second win over Miami in the first round had 14.7% of ERs, following by the two “First Four” contests: St. Bonaventure over UCLA (9.4%) and Syracuse over Arizona State (7.9%).