Bracket Analysis (03/09/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
A look at what the men's college basketball tournament could look like through 50,000 simulations of Bracketology.




Bracket Odds, Predictalated Bracket, Bracket Analysis

See: How it Works, a Tournament Summary and Regional Previews: South, West, East and Midwest.

How it Works

The Predictalator uses current rosters and strength-of-schedule and pace-adjusted team and player stats (weighted slightly more toward recent games), to play, one possession at a time, every game 50,000 times before it's actually played. For this analysis, we are tracking how likely a team is to make it to any level of the NCAA Tournament. Each tournament is played individually, with the team that wins the game in that instance advancing. See the Bracket Odds and Predictalated Bracket.

Tournament Summary

Happy Championship Week!

In a few days the field of 68 will be set and you can begin filling out your bracket. Before that happens, we take one final look at what the men's college basketball tournament could look like through 50,000 simulations of Joe Lunardi's Bracketology.

The cream is rising to the top. In a season that has seen consistent turnover in the standings, the best teams in college basketball are beginning to separate themselves from the pack.

Over the last month, the three most likely champions in our bracket simulations have seen their combined share of tournament win percentages increase steadily.

Simulation 02/17/16 02/24/16 03/02/16 03/09/16
Top 3 Win% 35.6 37.8 41.9 47.9

Kansas, Michigan State and Virginia, No. 1-3 in our Power Rankings, win nearly 50 percent of all the simulated tournaments. The Jayhawks are the most likely champions with almost a one-in-five chance of cutting down the nets.

Below are a few teams that might surprise and others that might exit the tournament early.

Cinderella's – the most likely double-digit seeds in Sweet 16: No. 10 VCU (26.8%), No. 13 Stephen F. Austin (19.4%), No. 12 Arkansas Little Rock (19.2%), No. 10 Pittsburgh (12.7%), No. 10 USC (12.3%) and No. 11 San Diego State (11.7%).

Sleepers – the most likely 5+ seeds to make Final Four: No. 6 Baylor (13.0%), No. 5 Maryland (7.9%), No. 8 Wichita State (7.4%), No. 5 Iowa State (6.7%) and No. 5 Cal (4.0%)

Busts – the least likely 1-4 seeds to make Elite Eight: No. 4 Texas A&M (19.6%), No. 3 Utah (22.8%), No. 4 Purdue (26.5%), No. 2 Oregon (26.9%) and No. 4 Kentucky (28.9%).

South Region

Most Likely Final Four team: Virginia (42.3%)

Final Four Sleeper: Baylor (13.0%)

Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): VCU (26.8% to make Sweet 16)

Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 22.8%

First Round Upset: #9 Cincinnati over #8 South Carolina (72.6%)

Closest First Round Game: In addition to the game above, #10 VCU over #7 Notre Dame (73.8%)

West Region

Most Likely Final Four team: West Virginia (31.3%)

Final Four Sleeper: Maryland (7.9%)

Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Pittsburgh (12.7% to make to Sweet 16)

Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 20.0%

First Round Upset: #9 Colorado over #8 Providence (59.6%)

Closest First Round Game: In addition to the game above, #7 Seton Hall over #10 Pittsburgh (60.9%)

East Region

Most Likely Final Four team: Michigan State (37.9%)

Final Four Sleeper: California (4.0%)

Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): St. Joe's (8.6% to make Sweet 16)

Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 30.8%

First Round Upset: #9 Vanderbilt over #8 Saint Mary's (53.1%)

Closest First Round Game: #10 St. Joe's over #7 Texas Tech (53.9%)

Midwest Region

Most Likely Final Four team: Kansas (48.1%)

Final Four Sleeper: Wichita State (7.4%)

Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Stephen F. Austin (19.4% likely to make Sweet 16)

Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 26.7%

First Round Upset: None

Closest First Round Game: #7 Dayton over #10 USC (56.0%)