Wondering who’ll survive the Sweet 16?  I’m making my predictions based on chatter volume.  Last year I tried a combination of skill and nostalgia and picked Georgetown to win it all, and they were knocked out unceremoniously in the first round by FGCU.  Let the voice of the people via March Madness social listening be my guide to sanctioned work gambling domination!

March Madness is upon us, and as someone who went to a basketball school (Georgetown), this is a month wherein I’m well-accustomed to the hand-wringing and forehead-slapping that happen when a team that was seriously supposed to win that game messes up your entire bracket.

And so, this year, I decided to let March Madness social listening data do my picking.  I put some searches into our social listening tool to see what would come up, and pulled out some extraneous results (like Justin Bieber, who apparently will show up in every word cloud no matter the topic): Stanford, for example, is prominently featured in this word cloud because people can’t get enough of their cowbell guy.  And, as someone who’s old enough to remember Christopher Walken’s “More Cowbell” skit, I will continue to hold hope that Stanford uses some of that endowment to do a send-up of it.  C’mon, Stanford: surely someone at your B-school has a nose for timely Content Marketing.

Anyway, without further ado…

March Madness Social Listening Picks:



Michigan State








Now, please don’t get me wrong: I am not remotely saying that predicting game outcomes by how much people are talking about their teams is even close to a good way of picking basketball teams.  Somewhere, Nate Silver is weeping at the very thought.  But since I can’t do any worse than I did last year, this seemed like as good a modus operandi as any.  In fact, I may have my 3-year-old pick the winners based on their mascots and see if that works better.

I am going to keep doing this through the rest of the tournament, just to see what happens – and if Stanford does win, I’ll keep those extraneous cowbell results in and recommend that other teams introduce a cowbell to their band.

Onward, college hoops fans.  May your bracket remain unsullied by an upset.


*Sorry, Stanford: but if your cowbell guy gets on the court, I’ll change my tune… to “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”