Gonzaga is the top team in the AP poll. The Zags moved to No. 1 for the second time in school history and are the lone unbeaten team in Division I. We liked Mark Few’s squad last week, how does their ascension to the top impact their tournament outlook?
A question being asked, “Can the Zags, playing in the West Coast Conference, be a top seed in the NCAA tournament?” Not only could the Bulldogs be a one-seed, they could be the top overall seed and if the tournament started today would be our pick for the most likely national champion.
Gonzaga cuts down the nets 15.9% of the time in our simulations. Louisville (13.0%), Kentucky (10.3%), Villanova (8.7%) and West Virginia (7.5%) are the next most likely champions.
With Gonzaga leading the way, what other mid-majors could make some noise in the tourney? Saint Mary’s, No. 18 in the polls and a current six-seed, has a 48.6% chance of reaching the Sweet 16. Dayton (18.6%), Illinois State (18.4%), VCU (9.7%), Vermont (9.6%), Belmont (7%) and Middle Tennessee (5.3%) all have better than a 1-in-20 chance of making it past the first weekend of the tournament.
Though there are some mid-majors that could surprise, the tournament remains chalky. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, combine to win March Madness 64.1% of the time. However, we are always on the lookout for the madness in March. Here are a few teams that fit the bill as Cinderella’s, Sleepers and Busts.
Cinderella’s – the most likely double-digit seeds in Sweet 16: No. 11 Illinois State (18.4%), No. 10 Miami (17.0%), No. 10 VCU (9.7%), No. 12 Vermont (9.6%) and No. 10 Clemson (8.6%).
Sleepers – the most likely 5+ seeds to make Final Four: No. 5 Duke (13.3%), No. 6 Saint Mary’s (11.5%), No. 6 Creighton (7.7%), No. 5 Florida (7.0%), No. 6 South Carolina (6.0%).
Busts – the least likely 1-4 seeds to make Final Four: No. 3 Butler (5.4%), No. 4 UCLA (5.5%), No. 3 Florida State (6.9%), No. 2 Arizona (7.5%), No. 3 Oregon (7.5%)
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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||Champion|
|Saint Marys CA||6||48.6||11.5||1.6|
|Florida Gulf Coast||14||1.7||0||0|
|North Dakota State||15||1.1||0||0|
|Sam Houston State||16||0.2||0||0|
|Mount St Marys||16||0.1||0||0|
|New Mexico State||13||3.5||0.1||0|
|Middle Tenn St||11||5.3||0.4||0|