2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions

Results of 2,001 NCAA tournament simulations

By Ryan Fowler - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: March 13, 2012

UPDATE: Well, that was quick.

Usually brackets aren’t busted until Saturday or Sunday, but Fab Melo has done the impossible, sending millions scrambling for an eraser less than 48 hours after the tournament field was announced. The much-maligned Syracuse center has been suspended due to an eligibility issue, leaving the Orange shorthanded and suddenly susceptible despite their No. 1 seed.

But is Jim Boeheim’s squad that vulnerable without their sophomore big man? It would certainly seem so, as Syracuse’s lone regular-season loss came with Melo on the sidelines tending to an academic issue. However, the WhatIfSports.com college basketball engine does not concur. While their winning percentages and championship chances decrease, the Orange are STILL projected to reach the title game in New Orleans.

Losing the Big East Defensive Player of the Year undoubtedly affects the defensive dexterity of Syracuse, but the club’s up-tempo offense offsets the seven-footer’s presence down low. As Melo’s unfortunate tale elaborates, one must always expect the unexpected in March.

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions

Say it with me: non-conference strength of schedule.

The early portion of team's 2011-12 schedules played a major role in the NCAA tournament committee's selection process. For instance, many college basketball pundits were thinking a 30-win Missouri team had a strong shot at a No. 1 seed, but it turned out, because of their non-conference schedule, the Tigers ranked as the last No. 2 seed.

Contrary to past Selection Sundays, there wasn't much griping over bubble teams with maybe the exceptions of Drexel and Washington. The conversation focused more on the questions of who was seeded where and why.

<a href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ce7cdead-4851-48cf-94a3-5aa7116cb6bc&src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='WhatIfSports: 2012 NCAA Simulation' >Video: WhatIfSports: 2012 NCAA Simulation</a>

The thought of Memphis as a No. 8 seed and Colorado as a No. 11 seed caused the most uproar as college basketball insiders and analysts believed the Tigers deserved a higher seed and the Buffaloes, who earned a NCAA automatic bid with their Pac-12 title, should have been lower. It may have just been me, but after Vanderbilt's win over Kentucky in the SEC Championship game, the Commodores, as a No. 5 seed, began to feel the Cinderella love from the nation.

All eyes are on the No. 1 seeds, Michigan State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Kentucky. The Wildcats have been the favorite to cut down the nets in New Orleans for most, if not the entire season.

WhatIfSports.com's college basketball simulation engine is quite fond of the Wildcats, too

We are here to help you with every bracket pool that you signed up for this week. Our 2012 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 2012 NCAA basketball tournament 2,001 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 2,001 simulations of the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament the computers selected the Kentucky Wildcats (20.2 percent chance of winning championship) as the favorite to win the NCAA college basketball national championship. The computer simulations thinks the Syracuse Orange have the second best chance of winning the title at 14.4 percent.

Kansas and North Carolina have the third-best odds of winning the tournament at 11.2 percent. The No. 2 seed Missouri Tigers round out the top five favorites with a 6.3 percent chance of cutting down the nets in New Orleans.

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 and Myspace. In a concise, sleek design, this widget allows you to share WhatIfSports.com's predictions with all your friends.

* Print WhatIfSports.com's Predictions Bracket

Dayton's First Round Simulations

Some NCAA bracket pool rules may force you to predict Wednesday's and Thursday's first round games between California and South Florida and BYU and Iona. Because our Bracket Preview is formatted to simulate a 64-team field, we simulated these first round games 2,001 times and advanced who our computer believed had the best chance of advancing to the second round.

2012 NCAA Tournament First Round Simulation - Dayton, Ohio
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Brigham Young Cougars50.578.2
Iona Gaels49.577.9

BYU advances to play Marquette.

Note: Iona has a 55.9 percent chance of beating Marquette.

2012 NCAA Tournament First Round Simulation - Dayton, Ohio
MatchupWin%Avg Score
California Golden Bears49.163.7
South Florida Bulls50.963.8

South Florida advances to play Temple.

Note: California has a 27.8 percent chance of beating Temple.


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

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