Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas, the blue bloods of college basketball, are the favorites to cut down the nets in San Antonio. Which team will be the last standing at the end of March Madness?
Using Joe Lunardi’s preseason Bracketology, Joey Brackets has been exceptionally accurate at projecting the field over the years, we ran 10,000 simulations of the NCAA tournament. Then, to find value, we compared our projections to the current odds for each team to win the NCAA championship at Bookmaker.
For example, Duke is the favorite at +395, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Blue Devils they would need to win it all 20.2% (which is 100/(395+100)) of the time. Coach K and Grayson Allen are projected to win the Big Dance 8.1% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at +395 odds. Don’t get tripped up by the Dukies.
A few notes, this analysis is not fluff. Our 2016-17 preseason projections highlighted North Carolina as a team with value. The Tar Heels made us look good by winning the title and our readers were able to jump on UNC at a tasty +2000. Also, the field is wide open. Last year, the five most likely teams to win the tournament before the first game of the season had a 61.5% chance to cut down the nets, before games tip on Friday the top five have just a 47.3% chance. No one team dominates, which leads to a few longshots having value.
Current odds: +1852, Implied Probability: 5.1%
Nova wins the tournament 12.8% of the time
Not Duke, not Michigan State, not Kentucky but Villanova is the favorite, according to our simulations, to win the tournament. There is a 12.8% chance that Jay Wright wins a second title in three years. Nova is projected to be 2nd in the country in offensive efficiency and 6th in defensive efficiency via Ken Pom. The Wildcats boast preseason Big East Player of the Year Jalen Brunson and have more depth than a season ago with Phil Booth returning from injury and big man Omari Spellman eligible to return after sitting out last year because of academics.
Current odds: +5500, Implied Probability: 1.8%
WVU wins the tournament 5.5% of the time
‘Press Virginia’ is a turnover machine. Bob Huggins team has been in the top two in defensive turnover rate each of the last three seasons. The stifling defense keeps the Mountaineers in every game, the only question is can the offense score enough points. Guard Jevon Carter returns for his senior year after leading the team in scoring. WVU went to the Sweet 16 last season, the loss of Esa Ahmad for the first half of the season for failing to meet NCAA requirements hurts but a Final Four is still possible.
Current odds: +1453, Implied Probability: 6.4%
KU wins the tournament 9.3% of the time
The Jayhawks will look different without Frank Mason leading the way but expectations are still high in Lawrence. Bill Self’s team ranks in the top-five of the preseason polls for a fifth straight year. A 14th consecutive Big 12 title would get KU a No. 1 seed in the tournament and with Devonte’ Graham, one of the best players in the country, leading the attack, a deep tournament run is possible.
Current odds: +2379, Implied Probability: 4.0%
Shockers win the tournament 6.5% of the time
New conference, same Shockers. Gregg Marshall’s squad that won 31 games a year ago is making the move to the AAC. Wichita State returns all five starters and its top eight scorers from last season. A step-up in competition could lead to a better seed and an easier path to the title in the Big Dance.
Current odds: +6500, Implied Probability: 1.5%
Cincy wins the tournament 3.8% of the time
Cincinnati is also one of Sports Action analyst Jordan Majewski value picks. Majewski had this to say about the Bearcats, “Mick Cronin’s teams are known for defense but the addition of transfer Cane Broome from Sacred Heart, sat out last year, gives the offense another dimension.” Cincy has went dancing in seven straight years but only made it past the first weekend once, that changes in 2018.
Below is each team with at least a 1-in-1000 chance of cutting down the nets according to our simulations.
|Team||Odds (Bookmaker)||Projected Chance (%)|
|Saint Marys CA||+8500||1.1|