Although the NCAA tournament doesn't begin until next week, the country is already infected with March Madness thanks to the many conference tournament taking place this week.
In Cincinnati, fans of Xavier and the University of Cincinnati are excited to see if their teams will win their respective conference tournaments and get an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. Right now, experts are predicting that the Bearcats regular-season record will be just good enough to get them into the Big Dance regardless; the Musketeers, on the other hand, will likely need to win the Big East tournament to punch their ticket.
Having two major NCAA Division 1 men's basketball programs in the Queen City makes Cincinnati a damn fine place to live if you're a college hoops fan. And now WalletHub has the stats to prove it.
The personal finance website (which regularly does studies to determine what cities are the best in a variety of categories) crunched the numbers and determined that Cincinnati is the eighth-best large city in American for college basketball fans.
The study used factors like winning percentage (Cincinnati is 12th), conference championships (Cincy ranked fourth), number of Division I teams, stadium capacity and national titles — yeah, it's been a while, but UC's national championships many decades ago were apparently enough to put us at No. 10.
The only metric where Cincinnati didn't do so well? Social-media engagement — we came in 114th in that category.
Interestingly, in the Top 10 of the best large cities, Cincinnati was bookended by a pair of the UC Bearcats' division rivals. Houston, Texas came in at No. 7 and Tulsa came in at No. 9. This year the Bearcats shared the American Athletic Conference regular-season championship with the University of Houston Cougars and the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
In the ranking of all college basketball cities, Durham, North Carolina (also deemed the best midsize city) came in first, followed by Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which was ranked as the top small city for college hoops.
Cincinnati came in 34th on the overall list. Highland Heights, Kentucky — home of Horizon League conference tournament champion Northern Kentucky University Norse — came in at an impressive No. 47; Highland Heights was ranked 30th in the small cities rundown.
Check out the full detailed report here.