By: Parth Shah, @shah_parth_
The best time of year is finally here! March Madness is ready to kick-off this week, and we've got you covered here at Front Office Sports with some bracketology of our own - the NCAA Tournament, social media edition! Today, we cover the East Region's first round matchups on digital. Let's get started!
1) Villanova vs. 16) Mount St. Mary's / New Orleans
The Wildcats presented a clean, simple graphic of their matchup. While not necessarily bold or overly design-intensive, it's sharp and gets the job done.
Mount St. Mary's went with the standard tweet - effective but leaving a lot to be desired in terms of digital presentation.
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New Orleans shared a picture of the team's reaction, which instantly puts them over The Mount. It's a nice touch, especially showing the close ties within the program and building a relationship with fans.
Overall, Villanova's graphic stands alone in terms of presentation and content.
Winner: Villanova over New Orleans
8) Wisconsin vs. 9) Virginia Tech
For its post, Wisconsin went with the classic team huddle "all-in" look, and did pretty well executing. Wording was fairly straightforward and to-the-point; I would've loved to see some more enthusiasm!
The Hokies' digital team produced a beautiful graphic in the form of a game poster, and it looks SHARP. The design is bold, conveys the message, and makes the Tech color scheme pop. Really nice creative work to go along with the 'Keep Digging' motto. I would've liked to see more info about the matchup, but the graphic is stunning standalone - enough to come out with the victory.
Winner: Virginia Tech
5) Virginia vs. 12) UNC Wilmington
Both Virginia and UNC Wilmington went with simple matchup graphics for their Selection Sunday posts. Similar in execution and concept, they serve to announce the two teams meeting on Thursday, with UVA's showing the section of the East region in more detail. In the end, the Hoos' navy color palette looks richer, while containing the program's logo on the graphic. A toss-up goes to the Cavaliers.
4) Florida vs. 13) East Tennessee
I really like Florida's design for the '4' seed - it's creative, bold but simple in its message, and of course, blue and orange. Even without too much information, the creative does the trick. A simple post of the matchup is more than enough paired with the design.
ETSU takes a screen capture of the CBS Selection Show, with the team celebrating on camera and the region's matchups highlighted on the side. It's a simple, but effective strategy to get all of the information together, with the team celebrating, and recognizing the national TV attention for the program.
Ultimately, the Gators' creative content plays better than the TV grab and moves on.
6) SMU vs. 11) Providence / USC
This 6-11 matchup was fairly strong, with SMU, Providence, and USC all pushing great content on social.
Although I love the Friars' 'Everybody Dance Now' video, it isn't specific to the matchup which costs them the play-in matchup vs. USC. I love the idea and execution, especially with the players dancing. USC's ticket idea is tried and true as a graphic, but it looks fantastic in its presentation. The color scheme screams Trojans, and the ticket itself looks very presentable and authentic. I really like how all of the information is displayed in its layout.
The Mustangs went with the bold approach, and it paid off for them. The graphic design looks great visually as a poster, and does well to incorporate the players, fans, and information. The big wording works well with the color scheme and 'dance' color and lights background. It's hard incorporating two opponents into one design, but the SMU team makes it more really well. However, USC moves on in the slightest of margins.
Winner: USC over SMU
3) Baylor vs. 14) New Mexico State
Baylor's bright green has become somewhat of a staple in recent years, and using it as the background color in a graphic is ambitious but cool. Credit to the Bears for owning it. The design is simple enough, but having that unconventional palette serve as a disruption on a timeline is huge for catching the attention of fans. The hands together in the huddle is a nice touch.
New Mexico State went with a simple bracket image with the two logos as their graphic. Simple, but efficient. It gets the message across and highlights the matchup, perhaps the most important job of a selection design.
7) South Carolina vs. 10) Marquette
South Carolina's 'Let's Dance' design is on the simpler side, with a bracket overlay on the traditional huddle-hands. It looks cool, but there is something that leaves a little to be desired, in terms of matchup information and customization. A solid effort regardless from the Gamecocks.
The Golden Eagles chose not to highlight the matchup either, but the graphic looks sharp and the blue and yellow has a distinct look to it. I like how the design incorporates program history into the graphic, conveying to fans that more history is to be made.
In the slimmest of margins, Marquette pulls off the upset and advances.
2) Duke vs. 15) Troy
Duke has one of the most talented digital teams in the nation, and they were working in full force during the ACC Tournament and Selection Sunday. The account constantly puts out high-quality graphics and video content, and this was no different. The design is sharp, bold, and really cool to look at. It is Duke blue as always and conveys all of the necessary information. The post is short but powerful in its message.
The Trojans took a screenshot of the CBS bracket where their matchup was announced, and it's cool to validate the national attention that the program will receive. A simple strategy, but a solid plan nonetheless. Intricate designs aren't EVERYTHING, as shown by Troy, but the Blue Devils' performance is too strong to take away from.
Throughout March Madness, Parth will be taking a look at the social matchups of each round. Be sure to stay tuned all tournament long!