By Jonathan Chew
March 15, 2016

Bracket predictions for the NCAA Tournament might be as accurate as this year’s election polls, but that won’t stop some from trying.

That includes FiveThirtyEight, the data-loving website founded by statistician Nate Silver that uses an analysis of numbers to predict anything from the song of the summer to marijuana’s legalization chances on the ballot. So it’s no surprise that their forecasts for college basketball’s annual marque tournament this year is one that’s well-worth reading.

Kansas, the tournament’s number one overall seed, has been pegged as the team with the highest likelihood of being crowned champion. This doesn’t deviate from the picks of most experts at ESPN—the parent company of FiveThirtyEight—who have mostly chosen Kansas or Michigan State to win it all.

For those looking to score well on their brackets, the most noteworthy observations are the relative low odds for Oregon. According to 538, they are the number one seed with the lowest probability of winning the tournament. Meanwhile, Kentucky and Purdue’s have relatively positive chances, despite neither one earning a top-three seed.

Some might want to take this with a grain of salt, especially with Silver’s prediction last year that Republican candidate Donald Trump’s early poll numbers would fade. FiveThirtyEight also got last year’s winner wrong, with eventual champion Duke having only the sixth-highest odds, and missed on the previous year’s one as well. (Connecticut, the winners, were given a less than one-percent chance of triumphing.)


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