NCAA Bracketology Update: A Familiar Face Returns

Wichita State is back in the mix thanks to a big winning streak. What other unranked teams are set to make a tournament appearance?

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.
54Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders9.1825.0-5.091.7%11
13Wichita State Shockers16.1225.3-4.791.7%12
43Virginia Commonwealth Rams10.2223.9-7.189.9%12
77Vermont Catamounts6.4224.4-5.689.6%13
87Monmouth Hawks5.5324.8-6.288.0%13
102Akron Zips4.6424.1-5.987.7%13
33Dayton Flyers11.7322.2-6.887.4%10
58North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks8.623.1-5.986.5%12
89Belmont Bruins5.2920.4-5.683.4%15
99New Mexico State Aggies4.7422.0-5.082.3%14
92Valparaiso Crusaders5.1623.0-7.077.7%13
66Nevada Wolf Pack7.5423.2-7.877.3%12
107North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs4.0220.9-8.176.9%14
47Arkansas Razorbacks9.9221.5-9.576.3%9
18Oklahoma State Cowboys1518.7-11.374.9%7
76Texas-Arlington Mavericks6.4820.8-8.274.2%12
65East Tennessee State Buccaneers7.7721.4-7.672.1%14
104Princeton Tigers4.6317.8-8.370.0%14
119Florida Gulf Coast Eagles2.8619.4-7.664.4%15
36Miami (FL) Hurricanes11.4919.2-10.863.9%8
95Bucknell Bison4.9822.1-8.963.2%15
50Illinois State Redbirds9.7423.1-5.962.1%
31Wake Forest Demon Deacons11.8116.9-13.160.3%9
53Seton Hall Pirates9.2618.4-11.759.4%9
39Texas Christian Horned Frogs11.0418.3-11.757.2%11

- The list is pretty much unchanged from last week's iteration, but two new teams made the cutoff that weren't there last week.

- The Wichita State Shockers (13th in nERD) are up to 91.7% to make the tournament after having won 9 straight games to get to 24-4. They grade out in the 97th percentile in offensive rating in the nation and in the 99th percentile on defense. Last week, they trounced Loyola (IL) (99th in nERD) 81-64 and Southern Illinois (163rd) 87-68. That's really no surprise, though, as they rank 16th in net rating and 3rd in margin of victory in this successful transition season.

- Our 47th-ranked team, Arkansas, is just 3-3 in their past six games but has followed up a two-game skid with two straight wins. Their losses in this stretch at Oklahoma State (18th in nERD), at Missouri (158th), and versus Vanderbilt (60th) have been combatted by wins against Alabama (61st), at LSU (164th), and at South Carolina (27th).