March Madness – Tournament Simulation

The following table provides each team’s percent chance of advancing to a given round, based on a simulation using our win probability models1. This allows us to view each team’s chances of making the Elite 8, Final 4, or any other round, and to compare that team to others in the field. For example, in the first row, our models give Arizona a 98.4% chance of advancing to the 2nd round, 51.0% chance of making the Final 4, 31.6% chance of making the title game, and 24.1% chance of winning it all.

Before you take out a loan and bet it all on Arizona to win it all, let me start by saying that last year, Michigan State would have been near the top of this list – likely with a 99.5% chance of beating Middle Tennessee in the first round…. On the bright side, Villanova would have been right there with them, and they were a far less popular choice. If you are using this to help fill out your bracket, it is worth considering how these numbers play along with popularity (e.g., if you pick UNC to win it all – and they win – there are likely plenty of others in your pool who also had UNC). This tool can help identify teams that may be less popular choices, but still have a decent shot at making a deep run.

These numbers also highlight the impact of the bracket layout (i.e., where teams are placed, and who is in their region). For example, if the 3 best teams are all on the left side of the bracket, in a simulation, those 3 teams will eat away at each other and decrease each of their chances of winning it all (even if they are the best teams). If the 4th best team is on the other side of the bracket all alone, you might be better of picking them. Check out our full bracket here.

TeamSeedRankRegion2nd RoundSweet 16Elite 8Final 4Champ GmChamp
arizona21West0.98800.80770.71350.46550.33890.1959
oregon32Midwest0.89400.66730.45480.37230.20060.1067
north-carolina13South0.98550.65730.53960.36150.20690.0911
duke24East0.83730.68600.56370.31160.13250.0835
michigan75Midwest0.93390.67670.32860.24030.13420.0712
west-virginia46West0.84490.58460.36810.19460.12450.0639
ucla37South0.89790.74060.40550.18150.09690.0457
villanova18East0.98630.68160.50410.26440.09980.0451
wichita-state109South0.93830.59670.33320.13050.06420.0355
arkansas810South0.89470.31970.21620.11190.06100.0334
wisconsin811East0.73870.26260.17420.10860.0540.0257
middle-tenn1212South0.84010.78010.20570.10110.04910.0242
notre-dame513West0.99460.36470.22810.08950.05070.0241
vermont1314Midwest0.70060.42250.30880.10010.04400.0166
kentucky215South0.88580.37140.15970.06750.03560.0146
virginia516East0.53710.35550.15710.11960.02410.0131
northwestern817West0.81480.38670.14450.05730.03030.0129
vcu1018West0.50790.10320.07830.04240.02180.0109
gonzaga119West0.78970.44830.18380.05990.02400.0100
creighton620Midwest0.76730.21830.08160.05400.02010.0079
nevada1221Midwest0.48790.20340.13940.04800.01710.0064
troy1522East0.16270.13030.07840.02780.01200.0063
saint-marys-ca723West0.49210.08780.06260.02530.01200.0051
nc-wilmington1224East0.46290.29850.08090.03870.01310.0048
cincinnati625South0.81950.15010.05860.02240.00980.0045
smu626East0.60530.43640.11850.03310.01100.0044
louisville227Midwest0.89400.25770.06480.03540.01020.0030
usc*1128East0.39470.28130.10280.02830.00850.0029
iowa-state529Midwest0.51210.22530.14930.02870.00840.0026
purdue430Midwest0.29940.14870.07450.02210.00700.0025
florida-gulf-coast1431West0.50090.27270.02930.01100.00570.0024
bucknell1332West0.15510.05040.03010.01080.00500.0023
kansas133Midwest0.74180.60350.22850.04320.00950.0019
florida434East0.61530.24690.03630.01860.00520.0017
rhode-island1135Midwest0.23270.06370.02960.01360.00440.0017
xavier1136West0.72530.31840.04330.01340.00490.0014
florida-state337West0.49910.31840.05600.01000.00440.0013
vanderbilt938West0.18520.07170.01960.00790.0030.0012
east-tennessee-st1339East0.38470.09910.02670.00930.00310.0011
south-dakota-st1640West0.21030.09330.02570.00830.00290.0011
iona1441Midwest0.10600.05070.02430.00940.00270.0010
kent-state1442South0.10210.05280.02200.00580.00270.0010
baylor343East0.73740.22260.04210.01240.00320.0008
virginia-tech944East0.26130.05450.02030.01130.00210.0007
minnesota545South0.15990.11110.01620.00450.00160.0006
kansas-state1146South0.18050.05650.01290.00380.00150.0006
jacksonville-state1547Midwest0.10600.03610.00910.00320.00150.0006
michigan-state948Midwest0.57230.13400.03390.00840.00170.0004
northern-kentucky1549South0.11420.02450.00740.00270.00110.0003
maryland650West0.27470.09050.01670.00410.0010.0003
winthrop1351South0.31640.02240.00610.00240.00090.0003
new-mexico-state1452East0.26260.05970.01180.00260.00080.0003
south-carolina753East0.70250.15010.07180.01250.00110.0002
seton-hall954South0.10530.01850.00680.00230.00060.0002
butler455South0.68360.08640.00810.00170.00060.0001
oklahoma-state1056Midwest0.06610.02950.00710.00260.00050.0001
texas-southern1657South0.01450.00450.00140.00040.00010.0001
miami-fl858Midwest0.42770.08250.01900.00230.00050
marquette1059East0.29750.03360.01090.00110.00020
dayton760South0.06170.00750.00070.000100
mount-st-marys1661East0.01370.00140.00030.000100
north-dakota1562West0.01200.00130.00030.000100
princeton1263West0.00540.00030000

 

1This table was populated using a simulation of 10,000 tournaments for each of our 6 probabilistic models (60,000 tournaments in total). For each tournament,¬†random numbers were generated for each game and compared with the given model’s win probability for that game (advancing either Team1 or Team2 depending on where the random number fell).¬†For example, consider tournament #1, model #1, and game #1. For this game, model #1’s win probability for Team1 is 90%. A random number between 0 and 1 is generated – if the number generated is greater than 0.90, we advance Team2 to the next round, and if it is 0.90 or less, we advance Team1 to the next round. This process is repeated for each game, tournament, and model. The results of each 10,000 tournament simulation were added together so that each model’s predictions have equal weighting.