Josh Hart of the Villanova Wildcats shoots against Mawdo Sallah of the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, in Buffalo. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

U.S. Code title 49, subtitle IV, part B, chapter 135, subchapter I, section 13506(a)(6)(C) is clear: If you write for a media outlet that publishes online, you must do something in the month of March about a bracket. In compliance with that statute, I offer the following: your NCAA bracket for political obsessives.

One thing that sports and politics have in common is a surfeit of numbers. Have you been to Basketball-Reference? If you’re curious about how many points the high-scorer in the New York Knicks’ Nov. 27, 1963 road game against the San Francisco Warriors made, it was 38. Or have you been to U.S. Election Atlas? If you were wondering about the margin of victory in Dooly County, Ga., in 1960, John F. Kennedy won it by 77.4 points. Which means that, should we so desire, we can use data from beaker A and pour into beaker B, just to see what explodes.

We so desired.

Here’s what we did. We pulled numbers for every school in the men’s NCAA bracket — votes by county, margins of victory, fundraising numbers by Zip code — to allow you to pit them one against the other as you see fit. Unlike in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, there are times when there can be ties, such as when there were no reportable donations in a Zip code, so on rare occasions, there’s a random tiebreaker. (If the teams are seeded differently, your preference for underdogs settles the issue.) But overall, we’ve created a world in which you can view the NCAA bracket solely through the lens of the 2016 election, as all things should rightly be viewed. In the photo at the top of the post, for example, a player for a team from a county won by Hillary Clinton shoots over a player from a team from a county won by Donald Trump.

Below the interactive is a list of the schools and their counties, for your perusal.

What does this tell us about the NCAA bracket? That Mount St. Mary’s would have had better luck had they been playing on political points, not basketball ones. They should try that next year.

There are some other interesting things we can pull out of this data.

  • In 40 of the 62 counties that are home to NCAA tournament schools — two counties are home to two schools — Clinton won by an average of 29.8 points. In the other 22 counties, Trump won by an average of 20.4 points.
  • Counties Trump won had far lower populations than ones in which Clinton prevailed. Overall, Clinton averaged 170,000 votes in all 64 college counties; Trump averaged 92,000. In counties he won, he did so on average by 48,000 to 34,000 votes. In counties Clinton won, she did so by a 245,000 to 116,000 vote margin, on average.
  • Because several of the country’s largest counties are included in the mix, if you exclude counties that are home to NCAA tournament teams from the popular vote count, Trump would have won that, too.
  • Counties that Clinton won are better at basketball, averaging a 7.2 seed. Trump counties averaged a 11 seed.
  • In fact, there’s a loose correlation between how much a county voted for Clinton or Trump and how well or poorly it was seeded.

That’s the great thing about data in sports or in politics: You can often use it to show whatever you want.


1. Villanova. Delaware County, Pa., 19085. Clinton +22.
2. Duke. Durham County, N.C., 27708. Clinton +60.
3. Baylor. McLennan County, Texas, 76798. Trump +27.
4. Florida. Alachua County, Fla., 32611. Clinton +23.
5. Virginia. Albemarle County, Va., 22903. Clinton +25.
6. SMU. Dallas County, Texas, 75205. Clinton +26.
7. South Carolina. Richland County, S.C., 29208. Clinton +33.
8. Wisconsin. Dane County, Wis., 53706. Clinton +48.
9. Virginia Tech. Montgomery County, Va., 24061. Clinton +1.
10. Marquette. Milwaukee County, Wis., 53233. Clinton +37.
11. USC. Los Angeles County, Calif., 90007. Clinton +48.
12. UNC Wilmington. New Hanover County, N.C., 28403. Trump +4.
13. East Tennessee State. Washington County, Tenn., 37614. Trump +43.
14. New Mexico State. Dona Ana County, N.M., 88003. Clinton +18.
15. Troy. Pike County, Ala., 36082. Trump +20.
16. Mt. St. Mary’s. Frederick County, Md., 21727. Trump +4.


1. Kansas. Douglas County, Kan., 66045. Clinton +33.
2. Louisville. Jefferson County, Ky., 40208. Clinton +13.
3. Oregon. Lane County, Ore., 97403. Clinton +19.
4. Purdue. Wabash County, Ind., 47907. Trump +51.
5. Iowa State. Story County, Iowa, 50011. Clinton +12.
6. Creighton. Douglas County, Neb., 68102. Clinton +1.
7. Michigan. Washtenaw County, Mich., 48109. Clinton +42.
8. Miami. Miami-Dade County, Fla., 33146. Clinton +30.
9. Michigan State. Ingham County, Mich., 48824. Clinton +28.
10. Oklahoma State. Payne County, Okla., 74074. Trump +28.
11. Rhode Island. Washington County, R.I., 2881. Clinton +10.
12. Nevada. Washoe County, Nev., 89557. Clinton +1.
13. Vermont. Chittenden County, Vt., 5405. Clinton +47.
14. Iona. Westchester County, N.Y., 10801. Clinton +33.
15. Jacksonville State. Calhoun County, Fla., 36265. Trump +56.
16. UC Davis. Yolo County, Calif., 95616. Clinton +42.


1. North Carolina. Orange County, N.C., 27514. Clinton +51.
2. Kentucky. Fayette County, Ky., 40506. Clinton +9.
3. UCLA. Los Angeles County, Calif., 90095. Clinton +48.
4. Butler. Marion County, Ind., 46208. Clinton +23.
5. Minnesota. Hennepin County, Minn., 55455. Clinton +35.
6. Cincinnati. Hamilton County, Ohio, 45220. Clinton +10.
7. Dayton. Montgomery County, Ohio, 45469. Trump +1.
8. Arkansas. Washington County, Ark., 72701. Trump +10.
9. Seton Hall. Essex County, N.J., 7079. Clinton +56.
10. Wichita State. Sedgwick County, Kan., 67260. Trump +19.
11. Kansas State. Riley County, Kan., 66506. Trump +5.
12. Middle Tennessee. Rutherford County, Tenn., 37132. Trump +26.
13. Winthrop. York County, S.C., 29733. Trump +22.
14. Kent State. Portage County, Ohio, 44240. Trump +10.
15. Northern Kentucky. Campbell County, Ky., 41099. Trump +25.
16. Texas Southern. Harris County, Texas, 77004. Clinton +12.


1. Gonzaga. Spokane County, Wash., 99202. Trump +8.
2. Arizona. Pima County, Ariz., 85721. Clinton +13.
3. Florida State. Leon County, Fla., 32306. Clinton +25.
4. West Virginia. Monongalia County, W.Va., 26506. Trump +10.
5. Notre Dame. St. Joseph County, Ind., 46556. Clinton +0.
6. Maryland. Prince George’s County, Md., 20742. Clinton +81.
7. St. Mary’s. Contra Costa County, Calif., 94556. Clinton +44.
8. Northwestern. Cook County, Ill., 60208. Clinton +53.
9. Vanderbilt. Davidson County, Tenn., 37235. Clinton +26.
10. VCU. County, Va., 23284. Clinton +64.
11. Xavier. Hamilton County, Ohio, 45207. Clinton +10.
12. Princeton. Mercer County, N.J., 8544. Clinton +36.
13. Bucknell. Union County, Pa., 17837. Trump +26.
14. Fla. Gulf Coast. Lee County, Fla., 33965. Trump +20.
15. North Dakota. Grand Forks County, N.D., 58203. Trump +19.
16. S. Dakota State. Brookings County, S.D., 57007. Trump +15.