Villanova is the top overall seed in the 2017 NCAA tournament. Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga are the other No. 1 seeds. We know who is in but which team will cut down the nets in Phoenix?
To find out we simulated the NCAA tournament 10,000 times. The Bracket Simulator combines our historical database along with data from Ken Pomeroy, ESPN and Jeff Sagarin to run the simulations.
A perfect season would have been a great story but Gonzaga lost to BYU in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs bounced back by winning the West Coast Conference tournament and earning another No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. The Zags have a chance to finish the season with just one loss.
After 10,000 simulations, Gonzaga is the most likely champion. Mark Few’s team is projected to reach its first Final Four 47.1% of the time and win the national championship 20.6% of the time.
The other contenders with legitimate chances of winning March Madness are North Carolina (10.5%), Villanova (9.4%), Kentucky (6.0%), Louisville (5.5%), West Virginia (5.4%) and Kansas (5.3%).
The most likely Final Four consists of No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 1 North Carolina, No. 1 Villanova and No. 1 Kansas. That would be just the second time (the first was in 2008) all four top seeds reached the final weekend.
The tournament is projected to be chalky. Of the teams seeded 1-4, nine have at least a 15% chance or better of making the Final Four. Combined the No. 1 seeds win it all 45.8% of the time.
This doesn’t mean there won’t be upsets. In the play-in games and first round, there are ten games in which the higher seeded team wins 60% of the time or less making for potential upset watches.
The defending champions are a top seed for the third time in school history. The selection committee didn’t do Nova any favors. The Wildcats are one of five teams (Duke, Baylor, Virginia and Florida) in the region that rank in kenpom’s top 13.
Most Likely Final Four team: Villanova (26.6%)
Final Four Sleeper: Virginia (13.8%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Marquette (14.0% to make Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 25.5%
First Round Upset: None
Closest First Round Game: No. 7 South Carolina over No. 10 Marquette (50.4%)
Gonzaga and Arizona are the top two seeds in the region. It is the first time in 26 years that the top two teams in the West are actually from the Western part of the country. The Zags are the most likely tournament winner but will have to get past Arizona, the Pac-12 tournament winner, and West Virginia, the Big 12 tournament runner-up.
Most Likely Final Four team: Gonzaga (47.1%)
Final Four Sleeper: Saint Mary’s (7.5%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Xavier (18.8% to make to Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 31.7%
First Round Upset: No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland (50.2%)
Closest First Round Game: No. 8 Northwestern over No. 9 Vanderbilt (50.0%)
The most likely winner isn’t expected to come from the Midwest. Combined the teams in this region win it all a tournament worst 19.6% of the time. Five teams have at least a ten percent chance of reaching the Final Four from this region. What is most interesting perhaps is that while Kansas is the most likely team to win the region, Louisville has a better chance of winning the entire tournament.
Most Likely Final Four team: Kansas (22.3%)
Final Four Sleeper: Purdue (10.6%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Oklahoma State (17.2% to make Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 19.6%
First Round Upset: None
Closest First Round Game: No. 7 Michigan over No. 10 Oklahoma State (50.2%)
The blue bloods of college basketball (North Carolina, Kentucky and UCLA) will battle it out in the South. The Tar Heels, ACC regular season champions, are the most likely team to emerge from what could be the most watched region. Just because they are favorites doesn’t mean UNC will roll to the Final Four. There are 8 teams in the top 30 of kenpom’s rankings.
Most Likely Final Four team: North Carolina (36.3%)
Final Four Sleeper: Wichita State (12.5%)
Cinderella (double-digit seeds going deep): Middle Tennessee State (17.5% likely to make Sweet 16)
Chance NCAA Champion is from Region: 23.5%
First Round Upsets: No. 10 Wichita State over No. 7 Dayton (74.8%)
Closest First Round Game: No. 8 Arkansas over No. 9 Seton Hall (50.4%)
There are 32 Pro System picks for the First Round of the NCAA Tournament
Below are each team’s chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, Final Four and win the national championship.
|Team||Seed||Sweet 16||Final Four||Championship|
|Saint Marys CA||7||37.1||7.5||1.4|
|E Tennessee St||13||3.2||0.1||0|
|New Mexico State||14||2.2||0||0|
|Mount Saint Marys||16||0||0||0|
|Middle Tenn St||12||17.5||0.9||0|
|Florida Gulf Coast||14||1.8||0||0|
|South Dakota St||16||0||0||0|