Where Kentucky Ranks Among States With Most Interest In March Madness

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

It might be a down year in Lexington and Louisville, but Kentucky residents haven’t given up on March Madness just yet.  

That’s because the Bluegrass State ranks among the top states in the nation for search traffic focused on the springtime staple, ranking fifth overall in our model.

Despite ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi listing Cardinals as non-qualifiers for the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, - and the Wildcats as a play-in team - there’s still no slowing down the hoopla around the state.  

With the Division 1 NCAA Men’s Tournament right around the corner, BetKentucky.com utilized Google Trends to look at the highest search volume of the terms “March Madness,” “College Basketball” and “NCAA Tournament” in the United States over the past 30 days. After gathering data on Feb. 16, we determined the states with the most interest in the upcoming event. 

Let's just say that should Kentucky sports betting ever become a reality, expect college basketball to be one of the main draws.

States With Most Interest in NCAA Tournament

Overall Rank State Average Rank of Interest In Topic
1 Indiana 1.7
2 Kansas 2.3
3 Iowa 4.3
4 Nebraska 6.3
5Kentucky 7.3
6Alabama 7.7
7Arkansas 12.0
T8Ohio 13.3
T8 Wisconsin 13.3
T10 Nevada 13.7
T10North Carolina 13.7
12Michigan 14.0
13 West Virginia 14.3
T14 Illinois 14.7
T14 Missouri 14.7

How Kentucky’s March Madness Interest Stacks Up Nationally

In terms of average search interest, Kentucky’s ranking of 7.3 ranks behind only Indiana (1.7), Kansas (2.3), Iowa (4.3) and Nebraska (6.3), and ahead of states like Alabama (7.7) and Arkansas (12.0).  

Much of that interest is likely due to the uncommon nature of UK and Louisville both suffering down years at the same time, as the two traditional powers have gone a combined 20-32 this year.  

The John Calipari-coached Wildcats are at risk of missing the field for the first time since going 9-16 during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, and for the first time in a full year since going 21-12 and missing out in 2012-13.  

Down I-64, the Cardinals will finish the year below-.500 for a second consecutive year, with Louisville sitting at a dismal 3-23.  

The 2022-23 campaign has already seen the most full-season losses in school history for the Cardinals, surpassing the 1997-98 squad that went 12-20 in Conference USA.  

In terms of winning percentage, Louisville’s current .115 figure is the lowest since going 1-13 (.071) in 1921-22, showing how far the program’s fallen under head coach Kenny Payne.  

Kentucky's nine losses are the most in a full season since the 2017-18 campaign, where it went 26-11, en route to a Sweet 16 run.  

But for now, not even a down season can prevent Kentucky residents from having their collective fingers on the pulse of college basketball’s main attraction.  

Should the state legalize sports betting, this site will be your home to the best Kentucky betting apps.


Christopher Boan is a staff writer for BetKentucky.com. He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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