NCAA Basketball Bracket: Largest Number of Undergrads

College Admissions

After my Sunlight playing on basketball and its reflection.jpegSpartans were forced yesterday to recognize Duke as national champion once again (in a bracket of head-to-head ACT and SAT scores), I wondered if there was a way to compare colleges and have MSU come out on top--or at least advance farther than Duke. Surely Michigan State has more undergraduate students than Duke, right? Of course they do. But I wasn't expecting them to face Arizona State in the second round, where they were knocked out in the same round that Duke was defeated by Oklahoma.

But never a sore loser (just ask my Buckeye-loving husband), I'm(grudgingly) presenting the results below. Today's bracket determines the largest college in the NCAA Men's Division I basketball tournament, based on the enrollment of undergraduate students. The winner? Texas A & M at a whopping 53,065 students! Check it out for yourself, either below or on our "zoomable" PDF:

Bracket size.pngThese figures were gathered from College Board's Big Future.

The top 10 largest colleges by enrollment:

1.  Texas A&M (53,065)

2.  Ohio State (45,831)

3.  Arizona State (42,477)

4.  Texas (40,492)

5.  Michigan State (39,090) [Take that, Duke!]

6.  Houston (35,871)

7.  California State-Fullerton (34,920)

8.  Arizona (34,823)

9.  Alabama (33,305)

10.  Florida State (33,093)

11.  Texas Tech (30,737)

Okay, it's really the Top 11. I wanted to get Texas Tech in there to show that four universities in Texas made the list. That's a lot of college students in one state!

Now for the 10 smallest colleges by undergrad enrollment:

1.  Davidson (1,796)

2.  Lipscomb (2,987)

3.  Iona (3,178)

4.  Bucknell (3,571)

5.  Creighton (4,255)

6.  Providence (4,270)

7.  Butler (4,290)

8.  Xavier (4,563)

9.  Gonzaga (5,209)

10. Seton Hall (5,956)

My next question is how do schools with less than 2,000 students qualify as Division I? No offense, Davidson. Just pure curiosity. That's a blog for another day, I guess.

I don't know if you're having fun, but I'm finding these head-to-head comparisons a great way to learn about colleges around the country. You've heard many of these names of colleges your whole life, but beyond their basketball and football records, how much do you really know about them? I mean, where is Gonzaga even located? And how much would it cost to go there? Stay tuned--I'll tell you later this week.

I'm happy to answer questions about my non-scientific methodology at