March Madness Projection

Nova PG

College football is over, the NFL Playoffs are winding down, and the focus of the American sports fan is about to turn to their bracket pool.  But let’s jump ahead and search for some college basketball teams that could turn into Cinderella come March.

I can’t take full credit for this projection, as I needed the help of some outside sources.  The first help comes from Joe Lunardi of ESPN and his projected bracket.  Lunardi will continue to update his bracket as the season progresses and the corresponding odds for each team will change.  The second help comes from Ken Pomeroy with his forward-looking ratings he provides for 351 college basketball teams.

With the ratings and projected bracket in hand, I was able to assign a projected score and therefore a win percentage for each possible game that could come up.  I simulated the entire bracket 10,000 times and here are the results of who won the tournament:

TeamWin %Moneyline
Kansas14.5%588
Villanova12.2%720
Oklahoma11.2%793
Michigan St.9.0%1014
North Carolina5.8%1621
Duke5.5%1721
Virginia4.7%2037
Louisville4.4%2152
West Virginia4.4%2173
Xavier4.3%2215
Miami FL3.6%2670
Maryland2.8%3510
Iowa2.7%3550
Purdue2.7%3604
Kentucky1.4%6893
Arizona1.3%7774
Texas A&M0.9%11665
Saint Mary's0.8%12095
Iowa St.0.8%13233
South Carolina0.7%14606
Pittsburgh0.5%18768
Valparaiso0.5%19508
Indiana0.5%20733
USC0.4%23156
Florida0.4%23156
Wichita St.0.4%26216
California0.4%28471
Michigan0.3%30203
Baylor0.3%32158
Butler0.3%35614
Providence0.3%38362
Oregon0.3%39900
Gonzaga0.2%41567
Cincinnati0.2%45355
Texas Tech0.2%49900
Notre Dame0.2%52532
VCU0.2%58724
Dayton0.1%76823
Connecticut0.1%90809
Utah0.1%124900
Arkansas Little Rock0.1%124900
Hawaii0.1%124900
Houston0.1%199900
Colorado0.1%199900
Akron0.1%199900

You can compare these odds to the futures your book is providing to see if there are some bets that are offering some value.  For example, here were some that I offered via twitter (click here to follow) last night.

Now there are some inherent issues with this method.  For one thing, there are many teams that are not projected to make the tournament now, but could improve during conference play and get in the tournament.  Those teams have a non-zero chance of winning the tournament which is not displayed in the table above.  Also, the brackets can be uneven and you may find a team you bet on end up in a “region of death” or other position where the selection committee did them a disservice.  While it’s not perfect, it is a great starting point to find teams that you can start rooting for on Selection Sunday.

©2016 Sports Insights Inc.

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