After taking a hiatus last year, it’s once again time to play around with the FiveThirtyEight predictions and have some fun with the numbers.
42.4% probability of a #1 seed winning the championship
21 champs have been #1 seeds - most since seeding began in 1979
20.0% probability of a #2 seed winning the championship
Seven champs have been #2 seeds - second most since seeding began
10.2% probability of a #3 seed winning the championship
Five champs have been #3 seeds
17.6% probability of a #4 seed winning the championship
The only #4 seed to win a title was Arizona in 1997.
9.9% probability of a #5 or lower seed winning the championship
Only four previous champions (#6 N.C. State 1983, #6 Kansas 1988, #7 Connecticut 2014, #8 Villanova 1985) were seeded 5th or lower.
36.4% probability of a first-time champion
Gonzaga, Baylor, West Virginia, Purdue, Butler, South Carolina, and Xavier would win their first title. The other 9 teams have a combined 33 championships.
61.5% probability of a first-time Final Four team
Gonzaga, Xavier, and South Carolina have never made the Final Four. The other 13 teams have a combined 94 appearances (not including vacated appearances).
34.5% probability of the champion emerging from the West Regional
Gonzaga (18.2% percent chance) gives the West the best shot at producing the champ. The West Regional has produced the champ 7 times since seeding began in 1979. 2004 champ UConn emerged from what was officially called the Phoenix Regional during the NCAA’s brief dalliance with non-directional region naming.
13.2% probability of the champion emerging from the East Regional
Losing the #1 and #2 seeds was costly to the chances the eventual champion will pass through Madison Square Garden this week.
8.3% probability of three #1 seeds in the Final Four
Three or more #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four five times since seeding began (last in 2015)
16.7% probability of no #1 seeds in the Final Four
A #1-free Final Four has happened three times since seeding began (last in 2011)
5.5% probability of no returning Elite 8 teams from 2016
65.7% probability of no returning Final Four teams from 2016
Kansas, North Carolina, and Oregon are the only 2016 Elite 8 teams remaining this year. Only UNC made the Final Four last year.
38.0% probability of no #4 seeds in the Final Four
0.1% probability of four #4 seeds in the Final Four
All four #4 seeds are in the Sweet 16 for only the third time since seeding began.
8.9% probability of a Gonzaga vs. Kansas championship game
The most likely championship game pairing
45.9% probability of a North Carolina vs. Kentucky South Regional final
This is the most likely regional final matchup this season
1.1% probability of a rematch of the 2006 UCLA/Florida championship game
3.5% probability of a rematch of the 1997 Arizona/Kentucky championship game
1.9% probability of a rematch of the 1948 Kentucky/Baylor championship game
These are the only championship game rematches still possible
21.0% probability of a Final Four rematch of the 2012 Kentucky/Kansas championship game
5.9% probability of a Final Four rematch of the 1993 UNC/Michigan championship game
2.7% probability of a Final Four rematch of the 1969 UCLA/Purdue championship game
2.5% probability of a Final Four rematch of the 1965 UCLA/Michigan championship game
18.2% probability of a Final Four rematch of the 1957 UNC/Kansas championship game
22.0% probability of a Elite 8 rematch of the 1968 UCLA/UNC championship game
While not as exciting as a rematch in the actual championship game, these rematches would bring back memories for those who remember the original. A UNC/Kansas rematch would be their record fifth Final Four meeting.
2.5% probability of three Big 12 teams in the Final Four
0.4% probability of three Pac 12 teams in the Final Four
Each conference has three teams remaining in different regions. The SEC and Big 10 each also have three teams but two in one region. The ACC has only one team remaining.