Select Page

Top seed outlook: Gonzaga is the best team in the West with a considerable margin, but the Zags, despite reaching the final two decades back, have performed well under the tournament’s lights. Still, Gonzaga has a 70 percent probability of reaching the Elite Eight, based on our model, as well as the third-best chances of any group to reach the national championship match (26 percent).
Should Gonzaga face Syracuse in the second round, the Bulldogs trouble could be given by the Orange’s zone defense. Here is the very best offense Mark Few has experienced Spokane, but it may be analyzed by some of those terrific defenses in the West: Four of the top 15 can be found within this region, including the top two in Texas Tech and Michigan.
Sneaky Final Four select: No. 4 Florida State. A fixture at the KenPom Top 20 for most of the season, the Seminoles are hoping to build on last season’s championship run, which saw them come inside a 4-point margin of creating the Final Four. FSU has a dominant defense (No. 9 in Pomeroy’s evaluations ) plus a balanced roster that saw four players accumulate at least 2.5 win stocks. This draw is not horrible, either: Vermont isn’t particularly tough as a first-round foe, and Marquette is very beatable (more on this below). No. 1 seeded Gonzaga probably looms then, and also we give FSU a 24 percent chance against the Zags — but the Seminoles would have a 48 percent probability of making the Final Four if they had been to pull off the upset.
Do not wager : No. 5 Marquette. Teams seeded fifth aren’t generally good bets to make it past the Sweet 16 anyhow, but Marquette might be an especially bad pick. According to the FiveThirtyEight energy evaluations, the Golden Eagles are by far the worst No. 5 seed in the area, and also a first-round date using breakout mid-major celebrity Ja Morant did not do them any favors. Marquette has a star power of its own in junior guard Markus Howard, who ranks sixth in the nation with an average of 25 points per game, but this team dropped five of its final six games and has a challenging tournament road ahead of it.
Cinderella see: No. 10 Florida. They are poised to do some damage now that they are here, although the Gators might have been one of the bubble teams to creep in the area of 68. They brought Nevada, a so-so No. 7 seed, in the very first round, and we provide Florida a 42 percent chance of pulling the upset that. Last year’s nationwide runner-up, Michigan, probably waits in Round two, and that is a tough matchup (23 percentage likelihood for Florida) — however when the Gators win, they’ve a 38 percent chance of earning the Elite Eight. Than the typical 10-seed, Florida appears better in a region with a number of good-but-flawed options.
Player to watch: Gonzaga, Brandon Clarke The Zags’ linchpin isn’t the consensus lottery selection, nor the two veteran guards that have together started 87 percent of the games of Gonzaga . It is Brandon Clarke, a move from San Jose State who’s in his first active season with the group. He’s possibly the most underappreciated player in the country.
On a team that comes with a 7-footer protecting the rim, it’s Clarke. Clarke has responded by setting a single-season blocks record and posting the highest block speed of any group under Few.
“If I feel like when I could get a good, fast jump first, I’ll pretty much leap with anybody,” Clarke told me. “I mean, I have seen Zion (Williamson) coming down through the lane before TV, and when I can’t jump at the ideal time, I probably wouldn’t jump , however… I do not really see myself not leaping with anybody.”
Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Baylor over No. 8 Syracuse (48 percent); No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Nevada (42 percent); No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette (32 percent)

Read more: