Facebook Loves Cinderella — Florida Gulf Coast Tops Sweet 16 Talk

By Justin Lafferty 

When little-known Florida Gulf Coast University became the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 round in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament, Facebook users took notice. The Eagles are the most-talked-about remaining college hoops team in the U.S., with fellow underdog Wichita State taking second place. However, in terms of Facebook page popularity, blue bloods Indiana, Kansas, Duke, and Michigan are among the most-liked.

Facebook released a list of the top 10 most-talked-about college basketball teams still active in March Madness:

  1. FGCU
  2. Wichita State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Indiana
  5. Marquette
  6. Duke
  7. Miami
  8. Kansas
  9. Michigan
  10. La Salle

The site also put out a map, showing the most popular teams by county. You’ll notice that even though FGCU is the most-talked-about team in the country, its Facebook presence is only most popular in two Florida counties.

Some users may notice the exclusion of La Salle. Facebook Economist Michael Bailey explained in a comment that in no county did La Salle have more likes than another college.

Even though FGCU didn’t make much of a dent on a county-by-county basis, the university’s official page has grown in popularity. On March 22, when FGCU took on No. 2 seed Georgetown, the page had 3,888 likes, according to sister site PageData. The next day, after the victory, the page rose to 4,387. As of Tuesday, the university’s page has 6,906 fans — equal to roughly one-half of the school’s enrollment.

Readers: Which team are you rooting for?