Cinderellas/Sleepers/Busts (03/12/17)

By Paul Bessire
Cinderellas, Sleepers and Busts: everything you need to know before filling out your bracket.



PredictionMachine.com ran 50,000 simulations of the NCAA Tournament bracket Sunday night. Utilizing our Bracket Analysis, here are teams to watch and avoid in the Big Dance.

CINDERELLAS

Double-digit seeds with the best chance to reach the Sweet 16:

Wichita State, the South's No. 10 seed, has a 26% chance of reaching the Sweet 16. Gregg Marshall, who evaluates in our numbers as one of the three best coaches in the country, leads what is sure to be another tough out. The Shockers once made the Final Four as a double-digit and have a chance to make some noise, ranking in the Top 20 of our Power Rankings overall and in the Top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Teams with the fewest weaknesses generally succeed in March.

Other teams with similar chances include No. 12 Middle Tennessee State (21%), No. 11 Rhode Island (18%) and No. 11 Xavier (17%).

SLEEPERS

Teams seeded fifth or worse with the best chance to reach the Final Four:

Three teams that made their conference championship games stand out with Iowa State, SMU and Notre Dame each having more of a chance to make the Final Four than better seeds like Florida State, Butler, Baylor and Florida.

Those three teams are eerily similar in that the both rank in the Top 15 in our Power Rankings and are Top 15 teams in offensive efficiency, yet all three rank outside the Top 40 in defensive efficiency. If they stay hot offensively, the Cyclones, Mustangs and Irish can all make a deep run.

Other teams seeded fifth or worse with the best chances of making the Final Four include: No. 5 Virginia (8%), No. 6 Cincinnati (5%) and No. 7 Michigan (5%)

BUSTS

Teams seeded fourth or better with the worst chance of reaching the Elite Eight:

Head coach Mike White is great for Florida, but this isn't a great team. The Gators have the 33rd ranked offense in the country, ranking outside the Top 100 in 3 point and 2 point field goal percentage. They have also lost three of their last four and are just 6-8 this seasona against teams that made the tournament. Florida is 11% likely to make the Elite 8.

Additional teams like Florida: No. 3 Baylor (15%), No. 4 Butler (19%) and No. 3 UCLA (21%).

FIRST 1 SEED OUT

Kansas is just 29% likely to make the Final Four, the lowest probability of any top seed. However, Gonzaga is just 81% likely to reach the Sweet 16. The Zags, a shaky one-seed, could be the first sent home.

BIGGEST BEEF

Best at-large teams not in the tournament: Indiana (No. 33 in Final Power Rankings), Clemson (No. 40), Syracuse (No. 41), Alabama (No. 48), TCU (No. 49) and Cal (No. 50). Illinois State ranks No. 51in our Power Rankings.

LEAST DESERVING

Worst at-large teams included in tournament: USC (No. 61 in our Final Power Rankings), Providence (No. 58) and Wake Forest (No. 56). No other team made it in with an overall ranking worse than 50. The bubble was not too contraversial this season (last year, No. 100, Temple, made it in and nine different teams got in with a rank of 50 or worse).

That being said, here are teams that made it in as at-large participants who rank outside the Top 100 in offense or defense: Oklahoma State (#104 Defense), South Carolina (#148 Offense), Marquette (#150 Defense), Virginia Tech (#118 Defense), Arkansas (#103 Defense), Wake Forest (#166 Defense) and Providence (#116 Offense).

WELL BALANCED

While the teams above will likely run into matchup problems along the way (they may also create matchup problems, but are too volatile to count on making a deep run), these teams rank in the Top 25 nationally in both offensive and defensive efficiency by our strength-of-schedule-adjusted metrics: Villanova, Arizona, Gonzaga, Kentucky and Wichita State.

BEST REGION

The loaded East has the best chance to win it all. The region has a combined 35.5% chance to win the championship. It also has the top two teams in our Power Rankings and five of Top 14 overall teams.