Which States Have The Most March Madness Appearances Per School?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

March Madness Selection Sunday is fast approaching, which always kicks off the annual frenzy for college basketball fanatics, especially in a basketball crazed state such as Kentucky. Kentucky has seven division one basketball schools and the state has a long history of competing in the prestigious tournament. If only there was Kentucky sports betting for fans to get in on the action.

After the brackets are set, the tournament begins with the First Four on March 14-15 with the tournament then beginning in earnest on March 16.

With all of the success that the Kentucky teams have had qualifying for the March Madness tournament, BetKentucky.com decided to see which states had the most March Madness appearances. With some states having more than 20 eligible schools, BetKentucky.com took the number of appearances by a state and divided it by the number of schools to make it equal for states with fewer schools.

Kansas came out as the clear top state for basketball, averaging 32.3 appearances per school throughout their three schools. No one else comes close to that number as Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kentucky all trail them with just over 20 appearances each. 

With 20.3 appearances per team, Kentucky checks in at fourth overall, led by the University of Kentucky and Louisville.

States With Most March Madness Appearances Per School

Rank State Tournament Appearances By School
3New Mexico20.5
5West Virginia18.0

Wildcats Could Again Make Noise

The Kentucky Wildcats lead all teams across the nation with 60 appearances, 17 of which have included trips to the Final Four. Their record setting numbers have a massive impact on Kentucky’s ranking of fourth amongst all states, and John Calipari's teams in particular would have spent years as heavy favorites across hypothetical Kentucky sports betting apps.

The Wildcats also have eight NCAA Championships, ranking them second all time behind UCLA. Kentucky currently has odds of +3000 to win this year at DraftKings Sportsbook. They have taken a bit of a step back in recent years, not having reached the Sweet Sixteen since 2019. 

They are securely in the field for this year's rendition of March Madness, but a recent loss to Vanderbilt means they could drop as far down as a seven-seed. It would surely be an upset if they advanced to the Final Four, but the school has the pedigree to do it.

Best Of The Rest

The University of Louisville ranks fifth all time with 42 tournament appearances, joining the Wildcats as the primary contributors to Kentucky’s high ranking. They have three championships among ten Final Four appearances, although their 2013 title was technically vacated by the NCAA. Louisville will not be participating in this year’s tournament.

Murray State has made it to March Madness 18 total times, including in 2018, 2019 and 2022. They have never made a Final Four and also will not be joining Kentucky in the tournament this year.

The only other Kentucky-based team that could be participating in this year's tournament is likely 16-seed Morehead State, which has eight all-time appearances, including a berth in 2021. Anything beyond a first round exit would be seen as a massive victory for the program.

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have been participants on 23 occasions, though not since 2013 and once again won’t be a factor this year. Eastern Kentucky has eight appearances, most recently in 2014, and has never won a game in tournament play. Finally, Northern Kentucky has two appearances, one in 2017 and one in 2019 and also won’t be in this year's madness.

For a state with such storied basketball history, Kentucky has really counted on a couple of its schools to produce most of their results. The Wildcats once again look to shoulder the load for the state as they seek to bring another championship home.


Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for BetKentucky.com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional and college sports teams.

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