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Tournament Predictions

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On the eve of this BIG DANCE tipping off tomorrow afternoon (I do not really count these “First Four” games) let’s examine odds for winning both the championship & each region.

I have played out the NCAA Tournament 1,000 times using my SBPI Ratings (SportsBoss Power Index) and here are the results, first looking at winning the championship:

SBPI Forecast - NCAA Tournament
TEAM WIN TITLE % REGION SEED SBPI RANK ODDS
ARIZONA 22.6% WEST 1 2 8/1
FLORIDA 17.5% SOUTH 1 1 5/1
VILLANOVA 11.2% EAST 2 3 35/1
DUKE 6.5% SOUTH 3 4 18/1
LOUISVILLE 5.3% MIDWEST 4 9 8/1
VIRGINIA 5.2% EAST 1 7 18/1
TENNESSEE 4.4% MIDWEST 11 6 115/1
VCU 3.2% SOUTH 5 11 90/1
MICHIGAN 2.1% MIDWEST 2 13 30/1
KANSAS 1.6% SOUTH 2 17 10/1
BAYLOR 1.1% WEST 6 16 75/1
SYRACUSE 0.9% SOUTH 3 15 18/1
UCLA 0.2% SOUTH 4 23 45/1
MEMPHIS 0.2% EAST 8 34 125/1
PROVIDENCE 0.2% EAST 11 20 225/1
OKLAHOMA 0.2% WEST 5 27 75/1
KENTUCKY 0.2% MIDWEST 8 21 50/1
GONZAGA 0.1% WEST 8 55 125/1
CREIGHTON 0.1% WEST 3 30 35/1
OREGON 0.1% WEST 7 25 100/1
BYU 0.1% WEST 10 51 500/1


The SBPI gave us 21 possible winners of the upcoming NCAA Tournament, and the matrix above is sorted by winning %. Here is how those 21 teams break down by region:

EAST (4), SOUTH (6), WEST (7), MIDWEST (4)

Although the West has the most teams FOUR of those SEVEN are projected to win the championship just once out of 1,000 simulations, and another projected to win twice (Oklahoma). Two of the top four teams are from the South region in Florida & Duke. And only Arizona, Florida & Villanova were projected to win at least 100 of 1,000 simulations – making that trio the favorites using this analysis.

Next let’s take a look at each region, once again sorted by winning % - first up EAST:

SBPI Forecast - East Regional
TEAM WIN % SEED ODDS
VILLANOVA 43.2% 2 4/1
VIRGINIA 24.7% 1 3/1
MICHIGAN STATE 12.8% 4 5/2
CINCINNATI 6.1% 5 18/1
IOWA STATE 4.5% 3 6/1
PROVIDENCE 3.7% 11 33/1
NORTH CAROLINA 2.8% 6 14/1
UCONN 1.0% 7 16/1
MEMPHIS 0.6% 8 25/1
GEORGE WASHINGTON 0.4% 9 50/1
HARVARD 0.1% 12 50/1
ST. JOSEPHS 0.1% 10 50/1
COASTAL CAROLINA 0.0% 16 5000/1
DELAWARE 0.0% 13 500/1
UNC CENTRAL 0.0% 14 1000/1
MILWAUKEE 0.0% 15 10001


Villanova is projected to win the East region 432 of the 1,000 simulations, and considering they are the third favorite odds wise (behind Virginia & Michigan State) they may hold some value. Also considering if they were to reach the Regionals in NYC at MSG they would have a certain home-court advantage of sorts. Cincinnati ranks ahead of Iowa State, while Providence at 33/1 seems to also have value. Of the 16 teams in the region just 4 were not projected to win it at least one simulation.

Next up let’s examine the SOUTH:

SBPI Forecast - South Regional
FLORIDA 41.9% 1 3/2
OHIO STATE 18.3% 6 14/1
VCU 13.8% 5 9/1
KANSAS 10.4% 2 4/1
PITT 6.2% 9 14/1
SYRACUSE 6.0% 3 11/2
UCLA 1.9% 4 10/1
COLORADO 0.7% 8 50/1
STANFORD 0.7% 10 40/1
NEW MEXICO 0.1% 7 12/1
ALBANY 0.0% 16 1000/1
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 0.0% 12 150/1
TULSA 0.0% 13 300/1
DAYTON 0.0% 11 75/1
WESTERN MICHIGAN 0.0% 14 1000/1
EASTERN KENTUCKY 0.0% 15 1000/1


This region is projected to be even more wide open than the East as Florida is the favorite but the Gators are not projected to win as often as Villanova; in addition this region has three other schools projected to win the region at least 10% of the time, and just below them are Syracuse & Pitt who are both certainly not going to be an easy out. There is a ton of value in this region if you believe Florida will lose prior to reaching the Final Four. This region also has just ten of the sixteen teams projected to win the region at least once in 1,000 simulations.

Third we will examine the WEST:

SBPI Forecast - West Regional
ARIZONA 48.5% 1 7/5
WISCONSIN 21.1% 2 9/2
SAN DIEGO STATE 14.1% 4 10/1
BAYLOR 7.2% 6 14/1
CREIGHTON 3.7% 3 9/2
OREGON 1.9% 7 14/1
OKLAHOMA 1.7% 5 16/1
OKLAHOMA STATE 0.9% 9 12/1
BYU 0.4% 10 66/1
GONZAGA 0.3% 8 18/1
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 0.1% 12 50/1
NEBRASKA 0.1% 11 40/1
WEBER ST 0.0% 16 50001
NEW MEXICO STATE 0.0% 13 200/1
UL LAFAYETTE 0.0% 14 300/1
AMERICAN 0.0% 15 1000/1


Arizona is the clear cut favorite in this region projected to advance to the Final Four nearly 50% of the simulations. There seems to be some value on San Diego State & Baylor, while Creighton is tied for the 2nd most likely school to win the West according to Vegas but according to my simulations they are projected to win just 37 of 1,000 – 5th best in the region. Somewhat surprising may be the fact Oklahoma State is projected to win just 9 simulations – no value at all on the Cowboys.

Last up here is the breakdown of the MIDWEST:

SBPI Forecast - Midwest Regional
DUKE 27.6% 3 7/2
LOUISVILLE 26.2% 4 3/2
MICHIGAN 16.0% 2 11/2
TENNESSEE 15.6% 11 25/1
KENTUCKY 5.3% 8 12/1
WICHITA STATE 3.7% 1 4/1
SAINT LOUIS 1.9% 5 20/1
KANSAS STATE 1.6% 9 33/1
ARIZONA STATE 0.8% 10 50/1
UMASS 0.5% 6 40/1
TEXAS 0.5% 7 33/1
NC STATE 0.3% 12 35/1
CAL POLY 0.0% 16 5000/1
MANHATTAN 0.0% 13 500/1
MERCER 0.0% 14 1000/1
WOFFORD 0.0% 15 2000/1


Both of Wednesday's “First Four” games take place in this region thus I have advanced the higher rated team in each game according to the SBPI. Of course anyone that follows college basketball has heard how Wichita State was done no favors by the committee who seemingly stacked their region – and my simulation further supports that point. Look no further than the #1 seed Shockers are just the 6th favorite to advance to the Final Four from this region – wow, much lower than the other three #1 seeds. What’s more Duke won the most simulations, which is somewhat surprising considering many are boasting about Louisville’s chances at reaching another Final Four.

What you really want to search for here and in other probability analyses that are posted around the internet is value – big variances in projected winning % compared to a school’s odds. For example, going back to the last matrix on the Midwest, Wichita State is listed at 4/1 to reach the Final Four from this region; but my simulation shows they are the 6th most likely team to do such, meaning there doesn’t seem to be a lot of value on the Shockers. And the same is true for teams in a vice-versa situation such as Ohio State, who is the 2nd most likely team to advance to the Final Four from the South region according to our simulation, yet they are listed as long 14/1 odds to do so.

  
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