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The Kansas Jayhawks are a slight favorite to win the NCAA tournament, according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model.
Unlike last year, when undefeated Kentucky had an overwhelming 41% chance to win the tournament, this year’s tournament has much more parity. Kansas is given a 19.1% chance to win it all, followed by North Carolina at 15.0%.
Here are the favorites to make the Final Four according to Silver’s model:
- Kansas (No. 1 seed, South region) — 45.1% chance to make Final Four
- North Carolina (No. 1 seed, East) — 43.6% chance
- Michigan State (No. 2 seed, Midwest) — 33.9% chance
- Oklahoma (No. 2 seed, West) — 32.0% chance
Silver’s model rates each team using eight different systems, six computer models and two human-generated ratings. Each team’s overall rating is then adjusted for injuries and travel distance during the tournament.
Silver’s model has two minor upsets in the Final Four with two No. 2 seeds. In the Midwest region, No. 1 seed Virginia is just a slight underdog as they are being given a 30.4% chance to reach the semifinals. In the West, top-seeded Oregon is considered more of a long shot at a 22.6% probability of reaching the Final Four.
Meanwhile, Ken Pomeroy, a highly respected statistics-centric college basketball analyst, has Kansas as the top team, followed by Virginia and Michigan State.
Here’s the bracket, via CBS:
Here are the Vegas odds to win it all. Kansas, UNC, and Michigan State are equal favorites:
- Kansas, 5/1
- North Carolina, 5/1
- Michigan State, 5/1
- Kentucky, 12/1
- Virginia, 15/1
- Oregon, 18/1
- Villanova, 18/1
- Oklahoma, 20/1
- Xavier, 25/1
- Duke. 25/1
- West Virginia, 25/1
- Indiana, 30/1
- Maryland, 30/1
- Miami (FL), 30/1
- Purdue, 35/1
- California, 35/1
- Texas A&M, 40/1
- Arizona, 40/1
- Utah, 45/1
- Baylor, 50/1