The Heartland of Basketball

I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands, but I took a few minutes to check something out. I wanted to figure out, based on the number of teams each state has in the tournament, which areas of the United States are most basketball-crazed. There are certain states that are known for being fanatical about basketball – namely, Indiana and North Carolina. Those two states are not particularly close to each other, though. So I did some figuring, and here’s what I came up with. I’d like to do the same for previous years, but it would be time consuming. Anyone have connections at the Elias Sports Bureau or some other company that would be interested in this type of thing.

As we all know, there are 50 states in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia. Of those 51, there are 20 that have no representation in this tournament. Of the remaining 31 states (incl. DC) 13 have only one team representing them. That means that 52 of the 65 teams (incl. the play-in game) are produced by 18 states (incl. DC).

But it gets better. 9 of those states (again, incl. DC) have 2 teams each, which leaves 34 teams, more than half the field, from just 9 states. Those 9 include the 2 most populous states: Texas and California, with 5 and 4 teams, respectively.

The other 25 teams are from 7 states which all happen to be contiguous. They are: North Carolina (3), Virginia (4), Tennessee (4), Kentucky (3), Indiana (4), Ohio (4), and Pennsylvania (3). This would seem to indicate that basketball’s heartland roughly corresponds with the Ohio Valley region, give or take, with some extension toward the Mid-Altantic.

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