Here are Nate Silver's Final Four picks

The Villanova Wildcats are a slight favourite to win the NCAA tournament, according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model.

This year’s tournament appears to be wide open. Two years ago, undefeated Kentucky entered the tournament with a 41% chance to win it all. Last year, Kansas had about a 1-in-5 shot to win it all, at 19.1%. This year, no team is above 15% and there are seven teams with at least a 5% shot to cut down the nets in Glendale.

If we look at chances to reach the Final Four, things are a little different. Gonzaga is actually the team most likely to win their region. Silver’s model also has one minor upset, with Kentucky just a slight favourite over North Carolina to win the South regional.

Here are the favourites to make the Final Four, according to Silver’s model:

  • Gonzaga (No. 1 seed, West region) — 41% chance to make Final Four
  • Villanova (No. 1 seed, East) — 40% chance
  • Kansas (No. 1 seed, Midwest) — 38% chance
  • Kentucky (No. 2 seed, South) — 30% 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.

Meanwhile, Ken Pomeroy, a highly respected statistics-centric, college-basketball analyst, has Gonzaga as the top-rated team, followed by Villanova, North Carolina, and Louisville as the best teams in each of the other regions.

Here’s the bracket, from CBS (click here for a printable bracket):

Here are the Vegas odds to win it all. Duke is a slight betting favourite over UNC:

  • Duke, 6/1
  • North Carolina, 13/2
  • Kansas, 17/2
  • Kentucky, 17/2
  • Villanova, 17/2
  • Arizona, 10/1
  • Gonzaga, 10/1
  • UCLA, 12/1
  • Louisville, 14/1
  • Oregon, 25/1
  • Florida, 30/1
  • Florida State, 30/1
  • Purdue, 30/1
  • SMU, 30/1
  • West Virginia, 35/1
  • Virginia, 40/1
  • Baylor, 50/1

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