NCAA Bracketology Update: Miami Makes a Move

The Hurricanes won two games last week and moved their tournament odds above 50 percent. What other unranked teams are destined to dance?

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.
57Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders8.7824.5-5.589.39%10
46Illinois State Redbirds10.1422.4-6.688.17%11
72Belmont Bruins6.8621.0-5.087.51%14
58North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks8.7423.3-5.787.42%10
48Virginia Commonwealth Rams9.9723.3-7.787.17%12
91New Mexico State Aggies5.2622.7-4.386.81%13
78Vermont Catamounts6.1323.8-6.286.34%14
35Dayton Flyers11.5521.5-7.583.97%11
95Monmouth Hawks5.1223.8-7.282.03%12
107Akron Zips4.1323.2-6.880.66%13
66Nevada Wolf Pack7.6423.3-7.777.41%12
89Valparaiso Crusaders5.422.9-7.175.81%13
111North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs3.5820.6-8.472.26%14
79Texas-Arlington Mavericks6.1220.1-8.969.92%13
91Bucknell Bison5.2622.5-8.568.11%15
64East Tennessee State Buccaneers7.7720.8-8.267.59%14
31Texas Christian Horned Frogs11.6719.1-10.966.77%7
21Oklahoma State Cowboys14.6817.9-12.164.11%8
38Miami (FL) Hurricanes11.2519.1-10.962.37%8
93Princeton Tigers5.217.3-8.862.26%15
52Seton Hall Pirates9.3918.4-11.660.44%9
118Florida Gulf Coast Eagles2.8918.9-8.157.61%15
34Wake Forest Demon Deacons11.617.0-13.057.41%8

- This week features four teams that weren't on the list last week: the North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs, Seton Hall Pirates, Princeton Tigers, and Miami (FL) Hurricanes.

- UNC-Asheville (111th in nERD) has won six straight games and 11 of their past 12. Last week, they bested the High Point Panthers (254th) 74-71 and the Winthrop Eagles (125th) 104-101 in double overtime. A week ago, Winthrop owned a 61.52% chance to reach the tournament, but that dropped to just 24.11%. The Bulldogs took over as the most-likely team from the Big South to reach the Big Dance as a result.

- Seton Hall (52nd in nERD) is just 3-5 in their past eight games, but their schedule isn't exactly easy. Last week, though, they beat Georgetown (56th) on the road 68-66 in overtime as well as Providence (63rd) at home 72-70 in overtime.

- Princeton (93rd in nERD) was projected for a 15 seed last week but had just a 42.61% chance to secure a tournament spot. They've improved their odds to 62.26%. They've reeled off nine straight wins, and their three games last week were all road tilts. They beat Dartmouth (314th) 69-64, Harvard (133rd) 57-56, and Penn (181st) 64-49.

- Miami (38th in nERD) won both of their games last week, a road game against North Carolina State (83rd) 84-79 and a homestand against the Virginia Tech Hokies (55th) 74-68.

- Along with Winthrop, three teams left the list who made the cut last week. Clemson's chances dropped from 58.12% to 45.04% after an 0-2 week. Arkansas also dropped two games last week and saw their odds plummet from 76.05% to a scant 22.49%. Southern Methodist no longer made the cut but only because they climbed into the top 25 this past week. Their odds sit at 93.62%.