How Illinois' Interest in March Madness Stacks Up Nationally

How Illinois' Interest in March Madness Stacks Up Nationally
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

With two Illinois teams primed to return to the Big Dance, it’s no wonder residents across Illinois sports betting are searching for anything they can find about the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  

That’s why it’s probably of little surprise the Prairie State ranks near the top among states that have shown the most search traffic interest in March Madness, ranking in a tie with Missouri for 14th nationally.  

States With Most Interest in 2023 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

Plenty of State Representation

With Illinois and Northwestern both currently projected to be sixth seeds by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, now is the time for fans to get excited about the postseason and monitor Illinois sportsbook apps.

While Illinois, at 17-8, is primed to return to the Big Dance for the third straight year, such a feat is much more rare in Evanston.  

Northwestern is poised to qualify for the Big Dance for just the second time in the school’s 118-year history, joining the 2017 team in the program’s history books.

The Chris Collins-coached squad has gone 19-7 (and 10-5 in Big Ten play) to coast their way into second place in the stacked conference standings, rebounding from three-straight losing seasons.  

Down in Champaign-Urbana, the Illini have the ball rolling once again, following up consecutive 20-win seasons with a 17-8 run that includes an 8-6 conference record, as the Illini look poised to make a deep postseason run.

With the NCAA Men’s Tournament right around the corner, 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 Feb. 16 we determined the states with the most interest in the upcoming event. 

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Fans Keeping Tabs

Nationally, the Land of Lincoln ranked behind states like Indiana (1.7), Kansas (2.3), Iowa (4.3), Nebraska (6.3), Kentucky (7.3) and Alabama (7.7), in terms of search interest.  

Illinois at 14.7 was tied with Missouri for the 14th state most interested in March Madness, still a credit to both the Illini and Wildcats programs. With the Wildcats looking to perhaps capture their first Big Ten regular season title in program history and the Illini looking to make a deep tournament run, 2023 is the year college basketball fans in the state have longed for.  

And if you want to make things interesting, Illinois is sitting at +6600 and Northwestern at +12500 on BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois to bring the state its first NCAA basketball title since 1915.

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Christopher Boan is a lead writer at specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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