2024 NCAA Tournament Champ Contenders – Model Results

Houston’s an even more heavy model favorite than last year, but this year they’re coming from the best basketball conference in the land. Maybe the have what it takes to win 6 in a row this time??

The Models


  • All 4 models have the same Top 3 most likely champ, in the same order
  • KenPom, of course, loves Auburn as the 4th most likely champ
  • No love for 4th 1-seed UNC – especially from ESPN!
  • Creighton’s the only 3-seed in the Top 10 most likely champs
  • Interesting, isn’t it? How quickly the probabilities fall off a cliff as we go down the list

4 responses to “2024 NCAA Tournament Champ Contenders – Model Results”

  1. Batto Avatar

    I enjoy reading your work, and I wanted to share some thoughts. All four 1 seeds in the FF are extremely rare. None of the 1 seeds in the FF is as or more rare than all 1 seeds in the FF. It seems like a good strategy is to pick two 1 seeds in the FF, followed by one 2 seed, and finally a 3 seed or lower.

    Examples of FFs that are not chalk, without being too out of space:
    UCONN, Houston, Creighton, Arizona
    UCONN, Marquette, Purdue, St. Mary’s
    Illinois, Houston, Purdue, Arizona

    1. BracketNinja Avatar

      Thanks, Joe! You’re spot on, man! Do you follow me on Twitter? I’ve said similar things. You’re right. An “average” Final Four would be about 2 1-seeds, a 2-seed, and a 3+ seed. Over the last 10 yrs, the distribution has shifted to having almost 2 3+ seeds
      All-time averages:
      1-seed: 1.6
      2-seed: 0.8
      3+ seed: 1.6

      Last 10-yr averages:
      1-seed: 1.4
      2-seed: 0.7
      3+ seed: 1.9

      1. Batto Avatar

        I do follow your posts on Twitter.

        Something I have noticed is that every year the day before the tournament, there is a team that half of the pool you play in is going to pick, and that team will not win. Yes, you have to pick the right team to win your pool, but you also have to go against the grain.
        I think half the teams in my pool will choose UConn because a lot of brackets gravitate to defending champs, overall top seeds, and AP#1s.
        That leaves me choosing between Houston and Purdue.
        I cheer for Houston but there are a lot of warning signs — undersized, no superstar NBA draft pick, can’t score at will. I get nervous when I want a team to win, but there are so many red flags, I can’t get comfortable yet picking Houston.
        Then there is Purdue, and they’re like the things in life you have to do but don’t want to do. They have the tools to win, but it’s Purdue, it’s a Big10 team. You don’t pick Big10 teams if you want to pick the correct winner. And yet, like Virginia in 2019, they’re motivated after a humiliating 2018. If their uniforms said Kentucky or Villanova, I would not feel so weird about picking them.

        Finally, last year was an extremely chaotic tournament, you had a great post about that. I noticed in your data that after each chaotic tournament, the following tournament was a regression. I am going to keep my final four seed sum right around 10-11 or even less this tournament (after 23! last year).

        1. BracketNinja Avatar

          Great comment!! Thanks, Joe. Great explanation of your thought process and it all makes sense. Great point on regression after an extra crazy tournament. I expect the same. The one thing I wonder about is how the new NIL and transfer portal rules have changed college basketball and the tournament. Was last year an indication of increased chaos every year? Has NIL/transfers changed the landscape of the tournament that much? For now, I’m assuming not.