A year after we were forced to console ourselves in virtual brackets, March Madness is (thankfully) back in 2021 – and so is our forecasting models for NCAA tournaments for men and women click here, to learn how the probabilities are generated, and read on to see which data points and trends popped out on the men’s side in our forecast

You have another day to prepare this year – the first round starts on Friday rather than the traditional Thursday tip – and with a bit of luck, the extra time you spend on your brace (and of course on our model) staring) will help you discover the Cinderella making your entry over the top

Relative probability of winning in the first round and chances of advancing in the men’s NCAA tournament on the FiveThirtyEight model

* Measures a team’s probability of winning in the first round (according to the FiveThirtyEight model) in relation to the winning percentage of its start in games of the first round (1985-2019)

The big picture: By several standards, the east is easily the weakest region of the 2021 bracket No 1 Seed Michigan is rightly the top team in our performance ratings – but only by a 07 point lead over No. 2 Alabama, what means the pair would be essentially evenly matched in a neutral square, and that’s not necessarily evidence of how dangerous the Crimson Tide is Our ratings assume Alabama is the worst of this year’s No. 1 is 2 seeds Michigan is easily the weakest of the No. 1 seeds, with a rating implying it would be at least a 4-point underdog against any of the other top regional seeds accordingly, the east has the lowest chance of any region ( 14 percent) to spawn the NCAA champion, but on the flip side, it could also mean a lot of intrigue on the way to the Final Four, as eight teams have at least a 5 percent chance of advancing as far as the top two seeds could almost instantly have serious obstacles on their way: Michigan with LSU (an unusually strong 8-seed) and Alabama with either No. 7 Connecticut or No. 10 Maryland – both of which would have at least a 36 percent chance of turning off the tide – partially waits in the second round This is why Texas (No. 3), State of Florida (No. 4), and Colorado (No. 5) all have the best Final Four odds on the field for their respective seeds And don’t forget how strong the Play-in-11 seeds (Michigan State and UCLA) look on paper Both are textbooks that can’t reach the main conference teams and could wreak havoc in March It all adds up to a potentially extremely chaotic region

First-round surprises: The most plausible problems in the east are Maryland UConn tumbling in a classic 10-over-7 win and the No. 11 seed play-in winners (Michigan State has a 54- percent chance of taking the place above UCLA) defeated poor BYU, whose misfortune at the draw earned him a first-round win that was 9 percentage points below the typical 6-seed story. Fans of deeper surprises should do that too keep an eye on glowing Georgetown, which just won the Big East in a landslide over Creighton and has a 30 percent chance of improving Colorado, and some advanced models that take into account similar games or complex statistical patterns have Abilene Christian as a potential 14- against-3 candidate against Texas, which certainly fits the pattern of the Longhorns in the early round (although caution: our model gives the wildcats n ur a 15 percent chance of what exactly is the norm for a 14 seed on the first round)

Relative probability of winning in the first round and chances of advancing in the men’s NCAA tournament on the FiveThirtyEight model

* Measures a team’s probability of winning in the first round (according to the FiveThirtyEight model) in relation to the winning percentage of its start in games of the first round (1985-2019)

The Big Big Picture: The West is home to Gonzaga, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and the favorite to win their first national basketball championship in school history, according to our model, the Bulldogs are more likely to make the Final Four (55 percent) than not – although they also have a 73 percent chance of not winning the title and missing their offer for men’s basketball’s first undefeated season since 19761 Within the region, the greatest danger of ending the Bulldogs quest is No. 2 Iowa who has a relatively manageable path to Elite Eight and has a 30 percent chance of knocking out Gonzaga if the teams meet, but the Zags will likely have to fight their way through the cream of the crop of this region no matter what compared to the historic ones Norms for their seeds, all other top teams in the west have a better than average chance of escaping the first round No 4 Virgin ia (assuming it can get past its COVID-19 issues) and Nr 5 Creighton are particularly dangerous, and the two teams could find themselves on a collision course in round two, both of which are in Ken Pomeroy’s top 20 – higher than No. 3-Seed Kansas – and both are with Gonzaga in the top half of the west bracket Kansas, Virginia and Creighton are among the top four teams on the field, so the one under No. 2.2 according to our Gonzaga ratings is so on the way have to face their obstacles to perfection – although the Zags are also strong enough that it probably doesn’t matter. In our historical Elo ratings, which date back to 1950, only 19 other teams were rated higher than the Bulldogs currently in an NCAA tournament

First-round surprises: Due to the strength of its top competitors, the West doesn’t offer many opportunities for early disruption Only two teams outside of the top 8 seeds – No. 9 Missouri (43 percent versus Oklahoma) and No. 10 VCU ( 38 percent versus Oregon) – even have a 30 percent chance of winning their games in the first round.Maybe no 11 Wichita State, with its low-turnover style and ability to hit the free-throw line, could theoretically pose problems for soaring Southern California if it beats Drake in the warm-up round … but probably not (According to our model, the Trojans would have a greater than 70 percent chance in this matchup) The real excitement is more likely to happen in the following round, as USC has a solid chance to beat the Jayhawks (44 Percent), and Creighton has very real potential to end the season in Virginia (46 percent)

Relative probability of winning in the first round and chances of advancing in the men’s NCAA tournament on the FiveThirtyEight model

* Measures a team’s probability of winning in the first round (according to the FiveThirtyEight model) in relation to the winning percentage of its start in games of the first round (1985-2019)

The big picture: Illinois has the No. earns 1 seed in the Midwest as one of the hottest teams in the country during the season – only Georgetown added more to its Elo rating last month – and concluded with a thrilling Big Ten championship win over the state of Ohio with theirs Exceptional balance (No. 7 in KenPom Offense and No. 5 on Defense), the Fighting Illinois have the second best national title probability of any team in our model and are only behind Gonzaga3.But they are far from the only quality team in the No2 Houston region is the fifth best Land in our performance rating, rated higher than a No. 1 seed (Michigan) AAC Champion Cougars, who put together his best season since Phi Slama Jama, would have a legitimate chance to beat Illinois in a hypothetical elite eight match at 38 Percent Off No. 3 West Virginia has made itself an offensive contender, while No. 5 Tennessee has def initiv Sweet 16 potential (and the same goes for No. 6 San Diego State, assuming he can survive his first-round date with Syracuse) Further down the seed list, # 8 Loyola from Chicago – do you remember her? – is miserably undersized; Pomeroy ranks it as the ninth best team in the country The Ramblers’ opening game with ACC champ Georgia Tech should be one of the best round one of the tournament’s games from a competitive standpoint, and last but not least, Rutgers and Syracuse (# 10 and # 11) are two by our performance ratings of the top three double-digit teams in the field4 While Illinois is the clear favorite, the Midwest is a deep region that has no shortage of candidates to upset a chalky bracket

First-round surprises: No 10 Rutgers over No. 7 Clemson (58 percent probability) is the most likely opening fault not just in the Midwest but throughout this year’s bracket.The Scarlet Knights are eight places ahead of the Tigers in Pomeroy’s ratings and provide better efficiency on both offense and defense aside from that relatively simple call, Georgia Tech (45 percent) is a decent surprise against Loyola in an 8-9 game, and No. 11 Syracuse looks in the state despite a strong opponent San Diego Solid Out (39 percent) And for a true long-shot selection, some systems see Liberty (versus Oklahoma State) with better excitement potential than the typical 13-seeds from history, which traditionally beat the 4-seeds just 207 percent of time

Relative probability of winning in the first round and chances of advancing in the men’s NCAA tournament on the FiveThirtyEight model

* Measures a team’s probability of winning in the first round (according to the FiveThirtyEight model) in relation to the winning percentage of its start in games of the first round (1985-2019)

The big picture: After setting a 17-0 record at the start of the season, Baylor had a COVID-19 hiatus and lost two of his last six games before the tournament (including a tough loss to Oklahoma State in the semifinals von) the Big 12 tournament) But the Bears are still one of the best teams in the field – they ranked third in our performance rating, only behind Gonzaga and Illinois – and they are still the favorites despite a stacked line-up of regional opponents, Emerging from the South Tests will be early with Baylor facing either North Carolina or Wisconsin emerging from the 8-9 matchup, both of which are among the least-seeded teams in the tournament, and the winner could do the bears a lot cause more problems than you’d expect for a top seed in the second round5 And watch out for Nr 4 Purdue or Nr 5 Villanova if they are also doing the first round experience; Both are ranked among KenPom’s 13 best teams in the country, though the latter faltered after losing second best scorer Collin Gillespie this season, meanwhile no 2 Ohio State overcame a losing streak in the late season to impress in the Big Ten tournament, and brought eventual conference champions Illinois into overtime for the title game. But half of the Buckeyes in the south bracket contain a number of potentially tough opponents – from Texas Tech, the field’s top 6-seed, to Arkansas (No. 18 in KenPom) and even Colgate, a surprisingly dangerous Cinderella contestant due to the many pitfalls, the two best seeds of the south have a less than 25 percent chance of competing in the Elite Eight with a Final Four appearance on the line

First-round surprises: As mentioned above, Wisconsin was No. 1 severely understaffed 9 and therefore has the best chance of winning the first round (55 percent) of all sowing underdogs in the south. Amongst the underdogs in both our model and in terms of sowing, the best odds are at # 10 Virginia Tech over Florida – 42 Percent, slightly better than the long-term average for 10 seeds against No. 7s (39 percent) And of course, fans of really angry candidates should take a long look at No. 14 Colgate: The Patriot League champions have only once in the entire season lost (admittedly, in 15 games), and many statistical systems give them a much better chance of beating Arkansas than the historical average for 14v3 matchups6. If Colgate causes the surprise, it would even have intriguing statistical opportunities against Texas Tech and the state of Ohio, so the Raiders should at least be considered secret Cinderellas this year

To be fair, even Kentucky in 2015 – the strongest pre-tournament favorite we’ve ever projected into our model – had a 59 percent chance of not winning (and in fact, did not win in the end) They call it March Madness for a reason!

There is an 11 percent chance we will get an Illinois Gonzaga Championship This is the best rate for any combination of teams in the group

Our model gives Baylor a 73 percent chance of beating the 8-9 winner The historical success rate for 1-seed in the second round is 86 percent

The long-term success rate for 14 seeds in the first round is only 15 percent.Our model gives Colgate a 24 percent chance, and that’s when compared to other approaches like play-by-play simulation, adjusted scoring margins, and decision tree analysis rather low

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World News – USA – The favorites and Cinderellas of the men’s NCAA tournament

Source: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-favorites-and-cinderellas-of-the-mens-ncaa-tournament/