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2014 MSLGROUP Social Media Power Rankings of College Basketball Teams: Duke's Awesome, Baby!

It’s March, which can only mean one thing to the MSLGROUP Insights and Digital team here in Boston- it’s time to once again get out our calculators and basketballs – it’s Social Media Power Ranking of NCAA teams time.

Social Media Power Rankings of March Madness NCAA Basketball teams 2014

Since we first started measuring social media muscle amongst college fan bases back in 2008 (we believe we were the first to do it), the Social Media Power rankings of the colleges in the Dance have slowly become one of our favorite and most popular analyses of the year. This year, Mark McClennan (@Mcclennan) and Scott Westover (@scottwestover) took the lead.

We have continued to revise our non-scientific methodology to make it more non-scientifically accurate and inclusive. This year we refined our social media analytics to include Twitter, Facebook and Instagram fans. These channels often are the preferred social channels and show the power of images as well as social interaction.

You may scoff, but using our power rankings we predicted the Davidson run when no one else gave them a chance.

How do we determine a winner? To determine each school’s SMPR (Social Media Power Ranking), we used the following formula: (# of Facebook fans for each college basketball/sports team + # of Twitter followers for each college basketball Twitter handle + # of Instagram followers/Number of students attending the university, according to Wikipedia.) Sure, it’s not an exact science, but it’s the closest we can get to assess each school’s social media influence and prowess for attracting a die-hard fan base and compare them against each other. This also eliminates school size as a factor in determining the winner.

This year Duke continues to pull away from the pack. They have the most engaged college basketball sports fans. Now if only they could move out of their quaint and tiny arena, into something like the Taj Mahal of Basketball – the Carrier Dome – it’s awesome, and home of my beloved Syracuse Orange.

The Final Four teams include Florida, Duke, UNC and Oregon. The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes are a Cinderella team making it to the Sweet 16, and Xavier makes it to the third round.

We won’t keep you waiting. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 March Madness Social Media Power Rankings Bracket:

social media power rankings of 2014 March Madness teams


  • Last year’s winner Duke is starting to establish a dynasty. They are engaging fans and attracting followers. The SMPR is 33% higher than the next most engaged team.


  • Wichita State – despite being a #1 seed, they are only 31st in the SMPR
  • Virginia another #1 seed is ranked 29th. We wonder if the selection committee knows what is really important…
  • Seven seeds seem to do well, with three of them making the sweet sixteen (Oregon, Texas and UConn)
  • Two play in teams, Xavier and Iowa make it to round 3.
  • Mizzou was the #14 team in the country based on SMPR, yet did not make the dance.

The Top 10 by Social Media Power Ranking:

School Social Media Power Ranking

  1. Duke 45.72979452
  2. Oregon 34.48553854
  3. North Carolina 30.7802654
  4. Kentucky 28.902724
  5. Florida 28.35267365
  6. Texas 26.09965784
  7. Nebraska 23.64892449
  8. Oklahoma 18.95280995
  9. Iowa 17.28108804
  10. Syracuse 15.93116095

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Mark McClennan

Mark McClennan

Senior Vice President at MSLGROUP

For the past 20 years, Mark has led teams working with innovative technology and healthcare clients for MSLGROUP. He is also the national chair-elect for PRSA.

Mark McClennan

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