The field of 68 is set. Bet Labs simulated the NCAA tournament 10,000 times to determine the most likely champion. Here are the Cinderellas, Sleepers and Busts you need to know about before filling out your bracket.
Does the glass slipper fit? These are Cinderella teams (double-digit seeds) with the best chance to reach the Sweet 16:
The Shockers might be the most under-seeded team in the tournament. Greg Marshall’s squad finished the year on a 15-game winning streak and easily won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. According to kenpom.com the Shockers are the 8th best team in the country and have a 38.0% chance to reach the Sweet 16 per the simulations. Don’t overlook Wichita State when filling out your bracket.
Other teams with a chance to wear the slipper: No. 11 Xavier (18.8%), No. 12 Middle Tennessee State (17.5%), No. 10 Oklahoma State (17.2%), No. 10 Marquette (14.0%), No. 11 Rhode Island (13.0%) and No. 10 VCU (9.6%)
If you are going to win your bracket pool you need to pick teams others are avoiding. Here are teams seeded fifth or worse with the best chance to reach the Final Four:
Defense wins championships. If that sports cliché holds true 5-seed Virginia has a chance to make a deep run in March Madness. The Hoos are tops in the NCAA in defensive efficiency allowing just 55.6 points per game. Virginia has a 13.8% chance of reaching the Final Four, the 10th best chance of any team in the tournament.
Other teams seeded fifth or worse with the best chances of making the Final Four include: No. 10 Wichita State (12.5%), No. 5 Iowa State (10.6%), No. 6 SMU (9.7%) and No. 7 Saint Mary’s (7.5%).
Watch out for these teams, seeded fourth or better, they could bust your bracket as they have the worst odds to reach the Final Four.
Butler earned its highest seed ever as a 4-seed in the South. The Bulldogs were rewarded for twice beating Villanova and going 14-5 against teams in the tournament. However, the selection committee didn’t do Butler any favors when they placed the team in the same region as North Carolina, Kentucky and UCLA. The Bulldogs have just an 8.0% chance of advancing out of the South.
Additional teams like Butler: No. 3 UCLA (9.0%), No. 2 Arizona (9.7%), No. 3 Florida State (10.4%), No. 4 Florida (11.9%) and No. 3 Baylor (12.1%)
1-seed to Avoid
Kansas lost in their first game of the Big 12 tournament and could be one of the first top seeds sent home. The Jayhawks have a 22.3% chance to make the Final Four, the worst of any No. 1 seed.
What teams did the committee leave out of the tournament that should have went dancing? These are the best teams according to kenpom’s adjusted efficiency rankings not in March Madness: Clemson (No. 35), TCU (No. 41), Indiana (No. 42), Texas Tech (No. 46), Utah (No. 47), Houston (No. 49) and Syracuse (No. 50, last year’s Final Four participant).
What was the committee thinking?
Did your favorite team get left on the bubble? Here are the squads that took their place. These are the worst at-large teams in tournament based on kenpom’s adjusted efficiency rankings: USC (No. 61 in kenpom’s adjusted efficiency rankings), No. 59 Providence, No. 53 Seton Hall, No. 52 VCU, No. 45 Maryland, No. 44 Virginia Tech and No. 43 Michigan State.
There are 32 Pro System picks for the First Round of the NCAA Tournament