NCAA Bracketology Update: Clemson Climbs the Ranks
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.
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.
|55||Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||9.15||25.1-4.9||91.38%||12|
|24||Southern Methodist Mustangs||13.98||24.3-6.7||90.35%||9|
|88||New Mexico State Aggies||5.66||23.3-3.7||90.13%||12|
|42||Illinois State Redbirds||10.66||22.6-6.4||89.28%||11|
|59||North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks||8.61||23.0-6.0||88.82%||12|
|47||Virginia Commonwealth Rams||10.1||22.5-8.5||82.06%||12|
|68||Nevada Wolf Pack||7.18||23.0-8.0||74.89%||12|
|60||East Tennessee State Buccaneers||8.2||21.2-7.8||68.66%||14|
|23||Oklahoma State Cowboys||14.22||17.7-12.3||62.08%||8|
|117||Florida Gulf Coast Eagles||3.16||19.1-7.9||61.51%||15|
|34||Wake Forest Demon Deacons||11.45||17.0-13.0||57.55%||9|
|33||Texas Christian Horned Frogs||11.49||18.3-11.7||54.32%||9|
- Two teams made the cutoff this week that were absent one week ago. The first is the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, who rank 47th in the nation by nERD and 46th per KenPom.com. They grade out in the 91st percentile defensively, per our algorithm and in the 71st offensively. They won both of their games last week, tilts against the Dayton Flyers (36th in nERD) and the Richmond Spiders (109th).
- The Clemson Tigers also join the list and rank 31st in the nation in nERD despite never being a top-25 team in the AP poll. We project them for an 8 seed and a 58.12% chance to reach the tournament. They rank just outside the top 85th percentile in offense, by our metrics, and 28th in the nation in adjusted offense, per KenPom.com.
- Three teams to make the cut last week increased their tournament odds by at least 10 percentage points this week: the Belmont Bruins (78th in nERD, 82.36% to make the tournament), the Valparaiso Crusaders (84th, 80.44%), and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (23rd, 62.08%).
- Northwestern (29th in nERD) is no longer on the list -- only because they finally joined the top 25 -- and the Marquette Golden Eagles (35th in nERD) suffered two losses last week after being 65.35% likely to make the tournament a week ago. They fell to the Providence Friars (64th in nERD) and the St. John's (NY) Red Storm (100th). Their odds now sit at just 12.40%.