NCAA Bracketology: Which Unranked Teams Will Get In?

Which non-ranked teams have a great chance to go dancing in March? Find out what our algorithm thinks.

One of the best parts of March Madness is the build up, the road to get in. Even if some schools get slotted into an ill-fated 16 seed, an NCAA Tournament berth can be historic for programs with a lacking track record.

Of course, some schools -- power conference teams and teams firmly in the AP Top 25 -- are pretty much shoo-ins to lock up a spot even before guaranteed bids are earned or conference tournaments start.

Which teams never ranked in the AP top 25 this season are looking likely to get a chance to dance, based on our bracketology projections?

These are the schools without an AP rank during the season with at least a 50% chance shot to make the tournament, per our algorithm. nERD indicates expected point differential compared to an average team.

nF RankSchoolnERDProj.
45North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks10.0524.5-4.593.44%11
26Southern Methodist Mustangs13.5324.1-6.988.70%9
52Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders9.0724.4-5.688.23%12
85New Mexico State Aggies5.5422.8-4.287.28%12
34Dayton Flyers11.6621.2-7.883.64%11
40Illinois State Redbirds10.7022.0-7.083.15%12
30Northwestern Wildcats12.6623.4-9.679.57%7
65Nevada Wolf Pack7.7123.4-7.678.56%12
89Akron Zips5.4022.7-7.377.78%13
74Vermont Catamounts6.5322.5-7.576.49%14
41Arkansas Razorbacks10.6821.9-9.175.97%11
86Monmouth Hawks5.5122.6-8.473.42%13
80Valparaiso Crusaders5.8022.2-7.869.32%13
123Winthrop Eagles2.7720.4-6.669.24%14
77Texas-Arlington Mavericks6.1220.0-9.069.14%13
96Belmont Bruins4.7919.3-6.768.52%14
31Marquette Golden Eagles12.5519.6-10.465.35%10
60East Tennessee State Buccaneers8.5020.6-8.460.66%14
95Bucknell Bison4.8222.1-8.960.62%15
33Texas Christian Horned Frogs11.8418.4-11.660.14%9
37Wake Forest Demon Deacons11.4617.1-12.958.83%8
124Florida Gulf Coast Eagles2.6918.7-8.355.03%15
25Oklahoma State Cowboys13.6316.7-13.352.04%10

- The North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks are 20-2 and 45th by our nERD rating (and 44th per With the College of Charleston Cougars ranking 100th by nERD, UNC Wilmington has a massive lead over the second-best team in the Colonial Athletic Conference in terms of efficiency.

- The Southern Methodist Mustangs rank 26th by nERD, second in the American Athletic Conference behind the Cincinnati Bearcats (18th). We project SMU for a 9 seed this year. They're the fifth-slowest team in the nation, per our metrics.

- The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are 8-0 in Conference USA play and 18-3 overall. They rank 52nd by nERD and 48th according to KenPom. They're looking to build on their performance last year, when they defeated Michigan State as a 15 seed.

- In the WAC, the New Mexico State Aggies are 6-0 and 19-2 overall. They do rank just 85th by nERD, but that's a massive jump on the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners, the second-best team in the conference, who rank 134th by nERD.

- The Dayton Flyers rank 30th according to our metrics and have an 83.64% chance to go dancing, which they've done three years in a row.