Bracket Analysis (3/9/17)
We use Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology to construct the bracket as of March 8, 2017.
It has already been a wild 2016-17 season. We saw three of the top four teams in the AP Poll lose in the same Tuesday night in late January and just last weekend, six top ten teams went down in action. In a season that has been as unpredictable as this one, how wide open is the NCAA tournament going to be?
To answer that question we looked back at the last seven tournaments on PredictionMachine.com (2010 to 2016) we simulated and averaged the probability for each of the top ten teams to cut down the nets. Then we compared that average to the ten most likely 2017 champions as of right now.
How much of a difference is there heading into March Madness?
|Title Chances Rank||Average 2010-2016||2017 Simulations|
That's not as eerily similar as this exercise earlier in the season, but it's still pretty close. There are still ten teams with at least a 3% chance to win the championship and that top ten is roughly 80% likely to do so. The difference that we are seeing now is fairly common when looking at one season instead of an aggregate of many seasons. Tiers are pretty evident.
Whereas, Gonzaga was in a class unto itself for a month, there are two other teams - Villanova and UNC (last year's championship game participants) - that can join Gonzaga in a tier of true tournament favorites.
The next pretty clearly defined tier includes five teams this week - Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, West Virginia and Baylor - including some of the most high profile programs in the country. They are also some of the best defensive teams in the country and you know what "they" say about defense and championships.
After another drop-off, Duke, SMU, Oregon, Florida, Purdue and UCLA form the next tier of non-dominant teams that still have a realistic chance to win it all. And lastly, the final tier of teams that still have around a 1% chance at a title includes Virginia, Florida State, Wichita State, Arizona, Saint Mary's Iowa State, Cincinnati and Butler. If looking for non-traditional powers that can make a Final Four run, this is your group.
Most Likely Final Four team: UNC (38.9%)
Final Four Sleeper: West Virginia (18.5%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Syracuse (19.9% to make Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 30.3%
First Round Upset: #9 Arkansas over #8 Dayton (52.4%) and #11 Syracuse over #6 Minnesota (54.2%)
Closest First Round Game: In addition to above, #7 Creighton over #10 Michigan State (65.9%)
Most Likely Final Four team: Gonzaga (38.7%)
Final Four Sleeper: SMU (14.0%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Marquette (17.3% to make to Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 22.2%
First Round Upset: #10 Marquette over #7 South Carolina (50.6%) and #9 Northwestern over #8 Virginia Tech (52.5%)
Closest First Round Game: In addition to above, #6 Iowa State vs winner of #11 Wake Forest/Illinois State (69.9%)
Most Likely Final Four team: Villanova (42.0%)
Final Four Sleeper: Florida (13.7%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Seton Hall (7.8% to make Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 26.1%
First Round Upset: #9 Michigan over #8 MIami (FL) (65.7%)
Closest First Round Game: #7 Maryland over #10 Seton Hall (55.4%)
Most Likely Final Four team: Louisville (27.1%)
Final Four Sleeper: Purdue (11.7%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Vanderbilt (7.5% likely to make Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 21.4%
First Round Upset: None -
Closest First Round Game: #7 Oklahoma State over #10 Providence (65.5%)