NCAA Tournament Probabilities (March 12, 2017)

Less than an hour until the selection show begins and we’ve run the model one last time. With Rhode Island taking care of business and winning the A-10 title (and avoiding Dayton in the process), the picture has become a bit more clear.


At the start of the day, the field was more or less set. Our model showed three teams up for one final at-large spot. Wake Forest and USC have probably done enough to make the field. That left Rhode Island, Illinois State, and Kansas State alive for the last team in. Rhode Island removed themselves from that conversation by grabbing the autobid from the A-10.

The last four in according to our model are:


Wake Forest (76.2%)

USC (63.5%)

Providence (58.6%)

Kansas St. (53.2%)



That leaves out Illinois State. For what it’s worth, we still give Illinois State a 39% chance of making the field, but it’s a bit of a long shot from our perspective.


I’ve seen some talk of Syracuse being in play for one of the last spots in the field. I just don’t see that happening. The Orange (currently 84th) would have an RPI 17 spots worse that the previous lowest-ranked RPI to receive an at-large bid (67th – USC in 2011). Despite Syracuse’s 6 top-50 wins (all of which came at home), they went 2-11 away from home with the only wins coming against Clemson and NC State and picked up bad losses to Boston College, Georgetown, and St. John’s (the latter two coming at home) along the way. Our model gives Cuse a 2.8% of making the tournament, so there is a very small chance that the committee may surprise us this year and break from their past tendencies in selecting the field, but I wouldn’t count on it.


Our model is built on data from past tournaments and, therefore, the percentages in this table reflect the likelihood that a team will receive an at-large bid given their resume based on historical trends in the selection of at-large teams. Our model ranks teams by the probability of receiving an at-large bid in the case that a team doesn’t receive an automatic bid..


We’ll see how it all shakes out soon, but enjoy the selection show!


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