# Predicting the 2015 NCAA Tournament

Are you ready for some madness? Me too! So let’s break down the brackets. I’ll be using the Sagarin Predictor ratings to determine the probability each team has of advancing using a binary logistic model created with Minitab Statistical Software. You can find the details of how the probabilities are being calculated here.

Before we start, I’d also like to mention one other set of basketball ratings, called the Pomeroy Ratings. Both the Sagarin predictor ratings (from here on out referred to as the Sagarin ratings) and the Pomeroy ratings have shown to be pretty accurate in predicting college basketball games. But Ken Pomeroy always breaks down the tournament using his system. So instead of duplicating his numbers, I like to use the Sagarin ratings. But I’ll be sure to mention places where the two systems disagree, and you can select the one you want to go with!

Alright, enough with the small talk. Let’s get to the statistics!

# Midwest

The following table has the probabilities each team in the West Region has of advancing in each round (up to the Final Four). But I decided to add something new this year. When you’re entering your “for fun” office pools, sometimes you’re given more points for upsets. The standard is to take the difference in the seeds, and multiply it by the round. For example:

• In the first round you correctly pick a 12 seed over a 5, you get (12-5) x 1 = 7 points
• In the 2nd round you correctly pick a 7 seed over a 2, you get (7-2) x 2 = 10 points
• If in the Final Four you correctly pick a 5 seed over a 1, you get (5-1) x 5 = 20 points

In a bracket with no upset points, your optimal bracket would be choosing the teams with the highest probability of advancing. But with bonus points, it may be optimal to pick a team with a smaller probability because you’ll receive more points if they win. So first I’ll give each team’s probability of advancing, and then I’ll give each teams expected points in a pool that gives upset points.

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Kentucky 99.0% 93.7% 86.9% 76.5% (3) Notre Dame 91.6% 53.9% 30.7% 6.2% (2) Kansas 88.8% 54.2% 28.4% 5.8% (5) West Virginia 73.3% 48.2% 6.0% 2.7% (7) Wichita St 68.6% 33.4% 14.9% 2.5% (11) Texas 51.3% 23.9% 12.3% 2.1% (6) Butler 48.7% 21.2% 10.3% 1.6% (4) Maryland 71.6% 32.5% 3.1% 1.1% (9) Purdue 55.9% 3.8% 1.9% 0.6% (10) Indiana 31.4% 10.4% 3.0% 0.3% (8) Cincinnati 44.1% 2.3% 1.0% 0.3% (12) Buffalo 26.7% 11.7% 0.7% 0.2% (13) Valparaiso 28.4% 7.6% 0.4% < 0.1% (15) New Mexico St 11.2% 2.0% 0.3% < 0.1% (14) Northeastern 8.4% 1.0% 0.1% < 0.1% (16) Hampton/Manhattan 1% 0.1% < 0.1% < 0.1%

As if Kentucky needed any further help, they were placed in one of the easiest regions. Kansas is the weakest 2 seed in the tournament, and Maryland is the weakest 4 seed. In fact, other than Kentucky, no other team in this region is in the Sagarin top 10 (Kansas is the highest at 14). If you want to pick a team to upset Kentucky, I wouldn’t do it before the Final Four.

The team most likely to meet Kentucky in a potential Elite 8 games is Notre Dame, although Kansas’s probability isn’t much lower. But if you want to go crazy, 7th seeded Wichita State and 11th seeded Texas have the next highest probabilities of playing Kentucky in the Elite 8. And the Pomeroy Ratings actually have Wichita State rated even higher than Sagarin, so they’re chances are even better according to Pomeroy (21% of reaching the elite 8). Don’t sleep on the Shockers.

One team you can sleep on is Maryland. The terrapins are ranked #2 in Ken Pomeroy’s luck statistic, which means they are not as good as their record would indicate. While both Sagarin and Pomeroy have Maryland ranked similarly (32nd and 33rd), Pomeroy has Valparaiso ranked much higher (63rd as opposed to 72). So while the Sagarin ratings give Valparaiso about a 28% chance of winning (still not terrible for a 13 seed), Pomeroy likes their chances even more at 38%.  Maryland is going to be on upset alert from their opening game.

Of course, the most likely opening-round upset is Texas over Butler. The 11th seed is actually a slight favorite in both Sagarin and Pomeroy. So even if you don’t get bonus points for upsets you should definitely consider picking Texas. In fact, this region could go crazy with upsets. Other than Kentucky, no team has a higher than 54% of reaching the sweet 16. So even if you don’t get upset points, you should consider picking some in this region.

And if you do get upset points…

## Expected Points in a Pool with Upset Points

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Kentucky 0.99 2.86 6.34 12.46 (11) Texas 2.57 5.85 8.04 8.71 (7) Wichita St 0.69 3.50 4.69 5.11 (3) Notre Dame 0.92 1.99 3.22 3.71 (2) Kansas 0.89 1.97 3.11 3.57 (13) Valparaiso 2.56 3.34 3.43 3.46 (12) Buffalo 1.87 3.11 3.28 3.32 (10) Indiana 0.94 2.24 2.66 2.74 (6) Butler 0.49 1.62 2.42 2.66 (5) West Virginia 0.73 1.70 3.4 3.64 (15) New Mexico St 1.45 1.69 1.76 1.77 (4) Maryland 0.72 1.37 1.59 1.68 (9) Purdue 0.56 1.11 1.31 1.43 (14) Northeastern 0.92 1.03 1.07 1.07 (8) Cincinnati 0.44 0.72 0.81 0.85 (16) Hampton/Manhattan 0.14 0.17 0.17 0.17

To use these numbers, the first thing you want to look for is the highest value for picking a team to the Final Four. That of course, would be Kentucky, so you advance them to the final four. Then, out of the possible teams that might face them in the Elite 8, you want to find the highest values in the Elite 8 column. That would be Texas, so you advance them to the Elite 8. Then continue working backwards until you’ve filled out the bracket. The numbers in bold represent the teams you should select for the “optimal” bracket.

The reason you work backwards is to account for possible points after that round. For example, if you look at only the first round game between Indiana and Wichita State, you’ll see picking Indiana will get you 0.94 points on average, while picking Wichita State only gets you 0.69. However, Wichita State has a much better chance of beating Kansas in the 2nd round, so their expected points becomes higher when you factor that in.

As you can tell, if you’re in an upset pool, you have two jobs in this region.

1. Put Kentucky in the final four.
2. Go hog wild with upsets.

Seriously, put both Texas and Wichita State in the Sweet 16, and pick one for the Elite 8 (remember, Pomeroy liked Wichita State even more than Sagarin, so their numbers would be closer to Texas using Pomeroy). Definitely pick Buffalo and Valparaiso to win in the first round, and choose one to go to the Sweet 16. And if you really feel like going crazy, pick New Mexico State and Northeastern. Are they likely to win? No. But you’re picking Kansas and Notre Dame to lose their next game anyway, so the most you can gain by picking them is 2 points. And if one of them actually gets upset? All the bonus points!

# West

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Wisconsin 97.9% 87.6% 66.3% 43.5% (2) Arizona 98.9% 71.7% 53.8% 28.5% (4) UNC 91.2% 68.5% 24.5% 11.7% (3) Baylor 85.6% 58.1% 21.4% 7.0% (10) Ohio St 71.7% 23.8% 13.8% 4.8% (5) Arkansas 82.3% 27.1% 5.1% 1.4% (6) Xavier 55.8% 22.0% 5.5% 1.2% (9) Oklahoma St 60.6% 8.4% 2.9% 0.7% (11) BYU 44.2% 15.9% 3.5% 0.7% (7) VCU 28.3% 4.5% 1.5% 0.3% (8) Oregon 39.4% 3.6% 0.9% 0.2% (14) Georgia St 14.4% 4.0% 0.4% <0.1% (13) Harvard 8.8% 2.3% 0.2% <0.1% (12) Wofford 17.7% 2.1% 0.1% <0.1% (16) Coastal Carolina 2.1% 0.4% <0.1% <0.1% (15) Texas Southern 1.1% <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%

This region looks like it could be pretty chalky. Wisconsin, Arizona, and North Carolina all have pretty high percentages of reaching the Sweet 16. And the top 5 seeds all have a greater than 80% chance of winning their opening game. Ohio State could create some chaos, but we’ll get to them in a minute.

Both Sagarin and Pomeroy have Wisconsin and Arizona as the 2nd and 3rd best teams after Kentucky. Sagarin has Wisconsin as 2 and Arizona at 3 while Pomeroy has them switched. But no matter the order, it’s a bit of a shame that they have to face off in the same region. Wisconsin is favored here, but Arizona is actually the favored in Pomeroy (42% of going to the final four as opposed to Wisconsin’s 36% chance). Your best bet is selecting one of these two teams to reach the final four.

Arizona’s probability is lower than Wisconsin’s here thanks to the fact that they might have to face an insanely good 10 seed in Ohio State in the 2nd round. The Sagarin ratings have Ohio State ranked 11th. Eleventh! Now, the Pomeroy ratings have Ohio State ranked at a more reasonable 21st .  And despite the high ranking, the Sagarin ratings still only give the Buckeyes a 24% chance of reaching the Sweet 16. So don’t go thinking they’re a lock to pull the upset. But if you’re going to go with Wisconsin to win the region and want to pick chaos elsewhere, you could do worse than Ohio State in the Sweet 16.

A popular upset is always the 12 seed over the 5, and Arkansas is a 5 seed that normally would be ripe for the upset. The problem is that Wofford is an extremely weak 12 seed (ranked 114th in Sagarin and 90th in Pomeroy). Both Harvard and Georgia State would have had better chances of pulling the upset if they had gotten the 12 seed. But alas, Wofford got the 12 and Harvard and Georgia State are stuck with much harder opponents. So since this might be a popular upset pick with so many other brackets, perhaps it’s one for you to stay away from.

The best chance for a 1st round upset is the 6/11 game, as the 11 seed will be only a small underdog to Xavier (I used numbers for BYU as the 11 seed, but if Ole Miss wins they would be slightly bigger underdogs). But other than the 11 seed and Ohio State, this region looks like it could be pretty chalky.

But what about when you factor in upset points?

## Expected Points in a Pool with Upset Points

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (10) Ohio St 2.15 5.85 7.86 9.21 (1) Wisconsin 0.98 2.73 5.38 8.86 (2) Arizona 0.99 2.42 4.58 6.85 (4) UNC 0.91 2.28 4.16 5.10 (11) BYU 2.21 4.13 4.74 4.95 (3) Baylor 0.86 2.02 2.87 3.44 (9) Oklahoma St 0.61 1.79 2.16 2.30 (6) Xavier 0.56 1.64 2.10 2.26 (14) Georgia St 1.59 2.04 2.14 2.16 (5) Arkansas 0.82 1.36 2.02 2.15 (12) Wofford 1.24 1.47 1.49 1.50 (13) Harvard 0.79 1.04 1.09 1.09 (8) Oregon 0.39 0.83 0.92 0.94 (7) VCU 0.28 0.71 0.83 0.87 (16) Coastal Carolina 0.32 0.37 0.38 0.38 (15) Texas Southern 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15

When you factor in upset points, Ohio State becomes the best choice for the Final Four! But let’s pump the breaks for a second. Wisconsin’s expected points aren’t that much lower, and they’re much more likely to reach the final four. Plus we know the Pomeroy ratings like Arizona a little more and Ohio State a lot less. So if you’re in a smaller pool, I’d still go with either Wisconsin or Arizona (or North Carolina if you want a dark horse). If you take Ohio State and they lose early, you probably just eliminated yourself.

Now if you’re in a very large pool, Ohio State becomes worth the chance. Sure, if they lose early, you’re eliminated. But hundreds of other people will also pick Wisconsin and Arizona, so your chances of winning are still small even if you correctly pick one of the top seeds. To win large pools, you need to correctly pick the huge upsets, and Ohio State to the Final Four would be just that.

One interesting thing is that even with upset points, the statistics say you should pick North Carolina to the Sweet 16. So no matter what type of pool you’re in, I would go ahead and match them up against Wisconsin.

In the bottom half of the bracket, you should definitely choose Ohio State over VCU and the 11 seed over Xavier (especially if it’s BYU). After that it’s your decision if you want to have them going further. One strategy would be to split the difference. If you have Arizona in the elite 8 (or beyond) go ahead and put BYU in the Sweet 16. And if you have Ohio State knocking off Arizona, go with the more likely Baylor Bears.

# East

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Villanova 97.9% 83.3% 62.6% 36.0% (2) Virginia 97.4% 75.2% 53.4% 32.8% (3) Oklahoma 94.5% 71.5% 30.0% 13.5% (4) Louisville 89.2% 60.3% 22.1% 8.8% (7) Michigan St 69.6% 19.6% 9.1% 3.3% (5) N Iowa 81.9% 34.1% 8.5% 2.3% (8) NC State 60.4% 11.0% 4.5% 1.1% (6) Providence 60.2% 18.1% 4.2% 1.1% (11) BSU/Dayton 39.8% 9.5% 1.7% 0.4% (9) LSU 39.6% 5.5% 1.8% 0.3% (10) Georgia 30.4% 4.9% 1.5% 0.3% (12) Wyoming 18.1% 3.0% 0.2% < 0.1% (13) Irvine 10.8% 2.6% 0.2% < 0.1% (14) Albany 5.5% 0.9% < 0.1% < 0.1% (15) Belmont 2.6% 0.2% < 0.1% < 0.1% (16) Lafayette 2.1% 0.2% < 0.1% < 0.1%

Villanova and Virginia have nearly identical probabilities of reaching the Final Four, although Virginia comes with a caveat. For most of the season, they were ranked #2 right behind Kentucky. In fact, at one point in the Pomeroy ratings, Virginia’s Pythagorean rating was higher than 7 of the previous 13 #1 ranked teams!

However, one of Virginia’s best plays (Justin Anderson) was injured and missed 8 games towards the end of the season. During this span, Virginia did not play nearly as well. Their ranking slipped while they played without him, as they are now 4th in both Pomeroy and Sagarin. Anderson returned for the last two games, but clearly wasn’t 100%, as he had to play with a wrap on his shooting hand. Without a healthy Anderson, Virginia’s chances are probably even lower than shown here. But if he’s ready to go for the tournament, then their chances are better than shown here and they should be considered the favorites in the region. The problem is it’s hard to know which version of Anderson is going to show up!

Just like the West region, the top 5 seeds all have very high chances of avoiding a first-round upset. And even the 6, 7, and 8 seeds have over a 60% chance of winning!  Upsets could be hard to come by in the first round of this region. However, one to consider is UC Irvine over Louisville. The numbers here say Irvine only has an 11% chance, but they don’t tell the entire story. Louisville will be playing without starting point guard Chris Jones, and UC Irvine will be playing with 7’6” Mamadou Ndiaye (yes, that's 7 feet 6 inches), who missed most of the season with an injury. The Vegas spread is still 8.5, so Louisville is still a heavy favorite. But that line shows their chances of winning are closer to 80% than the 89% shown here.

In the 2nd round, an upset that is getting mentioned a lot is Michigan State over Virginia. However, the Sagarin ratings only give them about a 1 in 4 chance of beating Virginia. And that’s if they can get past Georgia. They have a 70% chance of winning their opening game here, but the Pomeroy ratings have their percentage at a much more loseable 62%. If you’re not getting points for upsets, it’s probably best to go with Virginia here.

One final note about Northern Iowa. The numbers like Louisville over Northern Iowa in a potential 2nd round game, but they also don’t know that Louisville is playing without Chris Jones. Additionally, the Pomeroy ratings like Northern Iowa a lot more than Sagarin (ranked 12th as opposed to 25th). So Northern Iowa’s chances of reaching the sweet 16 are greater than shown here.

## Expected Points in a Pool with Upset Points

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Villanova 0.98 2.65 5.15 8.04 (2) Virginia 0.97 2.48 4.62 7.24 (3) Oklahoma 0.95 2.38 3.57 4.66 (4) Louisville 0.89 2.10 3.74 4.44 (7) Michigan St 0.70 2.52 3.32 3.86 (11) BSU/Dayton 1.99 3.27 3.60 3.70 (8) NC State 0.60 2.00 2.45 2.64 (6) Providence 0.60 1.57 1.93 2.07 (10) Georgia 0.91 1.61 1.84 1.92 (5) Northern Iowa 0.82 1.50 2.32 2.54 (12) Wyoming 1.27 1.60 1.66 1.66 (9) LSU 0.40 1.17 1.40 1.47 (13) UC Irvine 0.98 1.26 1.31 1.32 (14) Albany 0.60 0.71 0.72 0.72 (15) Belmont 0.34 0.37 0.37 0.37 (16) Lafayette 0.31 0.35 0.35 0.35

Even in an upset pool, this region is pretty straightforward. You should put Villanova and Virginia in the regional finals, with the winner of that game being up to you. These numbers say to put Louisville in the Sweet 16, but remember, they’re overstating their chances. So you would be fine putting either Louisville or Northern Iowa in the Sweet 16. And whichever team you don’t select, pick them to lose their first round game.

In the bottom half of the bracket, definitely pick the 11 seed to upset Providence (Boise State and Dayton are about the same, so it doesn’t matter who wins the play in game). The numbers would say to pick them to beat Oklahoma too (especially if you’re putting Virginia in the Elite 8). But we saw previously that Oklahoma is a pretty heavy favorite to reach the sweet 16, so if you don't want to go upset heavy Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 is fine.

Your last decision in this region is what to do with Michigan State. If you don’t think Justin Anderson will be ready to go for Virginia, then I don’t think it would be a bad decision to put Michigan State in the Sweet 16 and Oklahoma in the Elite 8. But remember that Pomeroy gives Michigan State a smaller chance of winning their first round game than Sagarin. So the safer play would be to advance Virginia to the sweet 16 and pick Georgia to upset Michigan State in the opening round game.

# South

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Duke 96.9% 83.1% 55.6% 36.6% (2) Gonzaga 97.2% 72.9% 48.9% 24.2% (5) Utah 85.5% 65.8% 31.2% 18.5% (3) Iowa St 93.6% 69.2% 32.3% 12.1% (4) Georgetown 88.6% 27.6% 7.4% 2.7% (7) Iowa 59.2% 17.3% 7.4% 2.0% (6) SMU 63.0% 20.7% 6.0% 1.3% (8) San Diego St 58.0% 10.2% 3.2% 0.9% (10) Davidson 40.8% 9.6% 3.5% 0.8% (9) St. John’s 42.0% 6.1% 1.6% 0.4% (11) UCLA 37.0% 9.0% 1.9% 0.3% (12) SF Austin 14.5% 5.8% 1.0% 0.2% (14) UAB 6.4% 1.1% 0.1% 0.0% (13) E Washington 11.4% 0.8% 0.0% 0.0% (16) UNF/RBU 3.1% 0.5% 0.0% 0.0% (15) North Dakota St 2.8% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

If there is a region where the final four team isn’t a 1 or 2 seed, the South region is the most likely candidate. The top two seeds have a combined 60% chance of reaching the final four. That’s still pretty high, but it’s lower than the other 3 regions (East: 69%, West: 72%, Midwest: 82%). The most likely candidate to play spoiler is Utah. They are a 5 seed, but they are actually ranked 8th overall in both Pomeroy and Sagarin. And you should also know that the Pomeroy ratings have Gonzaga ranked above Duke, so they actually have Gonzaga has the favorite to win the region. But even then, the probability Pomeroy has them of getting to the final four is only 29%. What that really means is that this region is up for grabs, and you can’t go wrong picking any of the top 4 teams in the table above.

But one warning before you go putting Utah in your Final Four. They drew a very tough opening round game against Stephen F. Austin. Utah is still heavily favored, but this game could be close. And in the Pomeroy ratings, SF Austin is ranked 35th! That’s higher than some of the 8 and 9 seeds! Pomeroy actually gives SF Austin a 26 % chance of winning. That’s probably not high enough that you want to pick it, but just something to keep in mind.

One team to definitely avoid is Georgetown, as they have only a 27.6% chance of getting to the sweet 16. That’s lower than Maryland! The Hoyas should still win their first round game, but I wouldn’t be confident picking them to go much farther than that.

## Expected Points in a Pool with Upset Points

 Team 2nd Round Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final 4 (1) Duke 0.97 2.63 4.85 7.79 (2) Gonzaga 0.97 2.43 4.38 6.32 (5) Utah 0.85 2.17 3.49 5.27 (3) Iowa St 0.94 2.32 3.61 4.58 (11) UCLA 1.85 3.03 3.38 3.47 (10) Davidson 1.22 2.62 3.16 3.35 (7) Iowa 0.59 2.19 2.83 3.13 (6) SMU 0.63 1.73 2.24 2.41 (8) San Diego St 0.58 1.83 2.13 2.29 (4) Georgetown 0.89 1.44 1.97 2.18 (12) SF Austin 1.02 1.76 1.99 2.05 (9) St. John’s 0.42 1.26 1.45 1.53 (13) E Washington 1.03 1.11 1.12 1.12 (14) UAB 0.71 0.84 0.86 0.86 (16) UNF/RBU 0.46 0.54 0.55 0.55 (15) North Dakota St 0.37 0.40 0.40 0.40

Duke still comes out on top in upset pools, but they do have the smallest expected point of any 1 seed in the tournament. Plus, that number would be even lower if you used Pomeroy. So honestly, I think taking Gonzaga, Utah, or Iowa State would be fine selections. Then fill out the rest of the region based on that decision. For example, if you have Iowa State going to the Elite 8, go ahead and pick Davidson or Iowa to beat Gonzaga (Davidson would get you more upset points, but Iowa is more likely to pull the upset). Or if you have Gonzaga in the Elite 8, go ahead and put UCLA in the Sweet 16. They’re not likely to get there, but if they do that could net you 21 points! (Remember Dayton last year?) And since you have Gonzaga advancing anyway, you’re not losing many points if UCLA loses early. And at the very least, make sure you pick UCLA to beat SMU.

On the top of the bracket, your best bet is having Duke and Utah meet up. But if you have Duke winning that game, you might want to have SF Austin winning a game or two. And if you’re not advancing Georgetown far (and you probably shouldn’t), take a flyer and pick Eastern Washington.

Remember, crazy things can happen in this tournament. And especially in early rounds, when you’re not giving up many points if you’re wrong, make sure you go for those upset points!

# Final Four

 Team Final Four Semifinal Champion (1) Kentucky 76.5% 54.2% 40.7% (1) Wisconsin 43.5% 19.8% 12.0% (1) Duke 36.6% 20.8% 8.2% (2) Virginia 32.8% 18.8% 7.9% (1) Villanova 36.0% 19.1% 7.2% (2) Arizona 28.5% 12.1% 6.9% (2) Gonzaga 24.2% 12.5% 4.3% (5) Utah 18.5% 9.2% 3.0% (4) North Carolina 11.7% 3.5% 1.5% (3) Oklahoma 13.5% 5.4% 1.5% (3) Iowa St 12.1% 4.7% 1.2% (4) Louisville 8.8% 3.0% 0.7% (4) Baylor 7.0% 1.8% 0.6% (3) Notre Dame 6.2% 1.9% 0.6% (2) Kansas 5.8% 1.8% 0.6% (5) West Virginia 2.7% 0.6% 0.2%

The Sagarin ratings give Kentucky approximately a 41% chance of winning the championship (Pomeroy has them a little lower at 34%). Both systems say there is a better chance Kentucky doesn’t win the championship. So don’t think Kentucky winning it all is a forgone conclusion.

In fact, Kentucky’s biggest challenger could come before they even reach the title game. Wisconsin has the 2nd highest odds here, and they would face Kentucky in the national semifinal game.  And Wisconsin has the size to match up with Kentucky. That game would be a great rematch of last year’s semifinal, which Kentucky won by a single point. And if Wisconsin doesn’t face Kentucky in the final four, it’ll most likely be Arizona (which the Pomeroy ratings actually have as the next highest favorite after Kentucky). And remember that Arizona was the 3rd ranked team in Sagarin. So although their probability takes a hit here thanks to potentially drawing Ohio State in the 2nd round, they are also a legitimate threat to Kentucky.

After Wisconsin, there are 4 more teams with similar probabilities. Out of those 4 the one that stands out the most is Virginia. If you have them getting to the final four, you’re probably thinking Anderson has returned and is playing at the same level as before the injury. And with a healthy Anderson, Virginia was playing at a level that wasn’t too far behind Kentucky. If that’s the case (and I know it’s a big if), I think their chances are even better than shown here, and they would be most likely to reach the finals to potentially face Kentucky.

You’ll notice that the teams with the best probabilities are all 1 and 2 seeds. Because of this, you shouldn’t worry about bonus points too much at this stage. Instead just pick the team you think has the best chance of winning. After all, if you did take somebody like Ohio State to get to the final four and you were correct, you’ll most likely already be in 1st place in your pool. So at this point you want to try and pick the same teams everybody else did so they don’t have a chance at catching you.

So there you have it, the 2015 bracket broken down. May your upset picks be correct and your final four teams survive and advance. And above all else, enjoy the madness!