2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions

Learn more about our 2013 Bracket Preview, including upset picks and first-round simulations

By Ryan Fowler - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: March 27, 2013

Update: Miami center Reggie Johnson will not be available for the Hurricanes' Sweet 16 game against Marquette after undergoing knee surgery to repair a meniscus issue. The 6-foot-10, 292-pound center earned nine starts in 26 games this year, averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Should the Hurricanes advance to the Elite Eight, Johnson will not be available for their game against the winner of Indiana versus Syracuse. He may be available for a Final Four appearance, however.

Using our college basketball simulation engine, we adjusted the Miami lineup for Johnson's absence and "played" the Hurricanes against Marquette 1,001 times. With Johnson, Miami was victorious 54.2 percent of the time. Without his services, the team won 52.0 percent of simulations.

Sweet 16 Re-Simulation - Miami (FL) vs. Marquette
MatchupWin %Avg. Score
Marquette Golden Eagles48.064.3
Miami (FL) Hurricanes52.065.3

We also simulated the Hurricanes against their likely Elite Eight opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers, who defeated Syracuse in 56.8 percent of our Sweet 16 simulations. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the squad is predicted to fall one win shy of the Final Four, losing to the Hoosiers 73.9 percent of the time.

Sweet 16 Re-Simulation - Miami (FL) vs. Indiana
MatchupWin %Avg. Score
Indiana Hoosiers73.972.3
Miami (FL) Hurricanes26.165.3

About Bracket Challenge

Tom Izzo said it best after his Michigan State Spartans lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament.

"I am really looking forward to playing somebody else," he said. "I think the other Big Ten teams are. We've really beaten the hell out of each other. I really believe the toughest teams, the ones who have been through the most, are going to benefit. I'm looking forward to playing anybody. I'd rather play the Lakers tomorrow instead of these teams we've played recently."

If you listened closely, you could hear his brethren belting out an "Amen, brother!"

Grueling regular season and conference tournament schedules have 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers clamoring for non-conference foes.

As was the case throughout the course of the regular season, the top ranking in all the land was hard to grasp. Name the team, Indiana, Duke, Michigan, and even overall No. 1 seed Louisville, the foursome struggled to hang on to the top spot.

According to our college basketball simulation engine, Rick Pitino's Cardinals face similar challenges as they run through the 2013 NCAA Tournament gauntlet.

WhatIfSports.com is here to help you with all the bracket pools, including Bracket Challenge on FOXSports.com, you signed up for this week. Our 2013 March Madness NCAA Bracket Preview is your No. 1 resource to gain the upper edge in your office or family bracket pool.

Using our highly sophisticated, college basketball simulation engine, we "played" the entire 2013 NCAA basketball tournament 1,001 times. Our simulation predictions are based on the statistical make-up of each team and are adjusted for roster trends including injuries, depth chart changes and each player's average minutes per game.

So, after 1,001 simulations of the 2013 NCAA basketball tournament, the computers selected the Kansas Jayhawks (18.2 percent chance of winning championship) as the favorite to cut down the nets in Atlanta. The computer simulations picked the Gonzaga Bulldogs to have the second-best chance of winning the title at 14.7 percent.

The Louisville Cardinals have the third-best shot at the title at 13.2 percent, while the Indiana Hoosiers boast a 10.5 percent chance. The No. 3 seed Florida Gators round out the top five simulation picks with a 6.5 percent chance of winning the national championship.

To the right you will find a handy WhatIfSports.com NCAA Basketball Tournament Widget. You can add this feature to any social networking site, including Facebook. In a concise, sleek design, this widget allows you to share WhatIfSports.com's predictions with all your friends.

2012 NCAA Tournament Upsets and Sleepers

Because the Whatifsports.com college basketball simulation engine removes the bias from predictions, its 2013 NCAA Tournament upset picks can be viewed as data-driven selections with no sense of favoritism. The statistical makeup of the teams remains the deciding factor in these NCAA Tournament predictions.

We begin in the Midwest Region, where the sim engine likes New Mexico State to upset the trendy sleeper Saint Louis, champions of the A-10 conference tournament. The rest of the region leaves that chalky aftertaste.

To the West Region, where the computer selected Belmont to pull the second-round upset for the second year in a row. This time the Bruins beat Arizona 52.9 percent of the time to advance to the Field of 32 where they upset the winner of the New Mexico/Harvard matchup 30 percent of the time to advance to the Sweet 16. To clarify, Belmont's 30 percent chance to reach the Sweet 16 is based on simulations against both New Mexico and Harvard.

In the South Region, Shaka Smart has elevated his VCU Rams from Cinderella story to Sweet 16 commoner. The Rams have a 37.5 percent chance of reaching the Sweet 16 this season. The most popular dark horse in the simulation engine is No. 11 seed Minnesota. The Gophers are heavy favorites to beat UCLA, who lost Jordan Adams for the season, and possess the eighth-best chance to cut down the nets in Atlanta at 3.5 percent. They are the only double-digit seed to receive better than a 1 percent chance to win it all.

Finally in the East Region, the computer picked the No. 6 Butler Bulldogs to reach the Sweet 16 again. They give the recent two-time national champion runner-up better than a 37 percent chance of advancing.

Dayton's First Round Simulations

Some NCAA bracket pool rules may force you to predict Tuesday's first-round games between Middle Tennessee and St. Mary's and North Carolina A&T and Liberty and Wednesday's LIU-Brooklyn vs. James Madison and La Salle vs. Boise State matchups. Because our 2013 Bracket Preview is formatted to simulate a 64-team field, we simulated these first round games 1,001 times and advanced the team our computer believed had the best chance to advance to the second round.

Despite the 15-20 black eye of a record entering the field of 68, the simulation engine believes the Liberty Flames will survive Dayton and advance to Lexington to face No. 1 seed Louisville. In the other bid to become the sweet No. 16 sacrificial lamb, the Blackbirds of LIU-Brooklyn beat James Madison 55 percent of the time.

2013 NCAA Tournament First Round Simulation - Dayton, Ohio
MatchupWin %Avg. Score
North Carolina A&T Aggies35.059.8
Liberty Flames65.064.3

2013 NCAA Tournament First Round Simulation - Dayton, Ohio
MatchupWin %Avg. Score
LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds55.568.5
James Madison Dukes44.567.1

A common theme among the remaining four teams competing in the "First Four" sideshow is that Middle Tennessee, St. Mary's, La Salle and Boise State all earned at-large bids over teams from power conferences. Tournament officials admitted they awarded this mid-major foursome for a tough schedule and their "upsets" over fellow tournament teams.

Check out our 2013 Bracket Preview

Print a Bracket

2013 NCAA Tournament First Round Simulation - Dayton, Ohio
MatchupWin %Avg. Score
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders39.568.3
Saint Mary's Gaels60.571.5

2013 NCAA Tournament First Round Simulation - Dayton, Ohio
MatchupWin %Avg. Score
Boise State Broncos58.673.4
La Salle Explorers41.471.2

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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