Can Villanova Reprise Role of Cinderella at the Big Dance 30 Years Later?

Monday we filled in the brackets for the East, West, Midwest and South complete with ratings for each player and each team. That leaves the Final Four, where we have Villanova beating Gonzaga and Kentucky beating Wisconsin.

Could Villanova then repeat the 1985 magical win over dominant Georgetown by beating uber-favorite Kentucky?

So, as Jim Carrey said, I am saying Villanova has a chance even though we have Kentucky as champion in our bracket. Villanova has the highest rating on the right side of the bracket at 95. That leaves them far behind not only Kentucky (105), but Arizona and Wisconsin (both 99) as well. So, there is a good chance that even if they live up to our bracket and get to the title game, their chances of beating any of those three is no higher than 35%.

The harder part is that we only give Nova about a 10% chance of making it to the title game even though we believe they are a favorite in every match-up until then. How can we “predict” Nova in the championship when we believe their is a 90% chance we are wrong? Simply because that is the best chance on the right side of the bracket. Assuming Villanova beats 16-seed Lafayette (56 rating even though they are a hot team), it gets tough from there looking at the table below of our rankings for the top teams if our bracket were to play out.

NC State (77 rating) has been a hot team, and they have guys who are more likely to play at the next level. Anthony Barber (No. 12) could be drafted, and Trevor Lacey (1), BeeJay Anya (21), and Cody Martin (15) are probably each more likely to make the jump than any of Nova’s players. Sometimes the NBA-level talent takes over in the tournament. So, we give Villanova a 62 percent chance of a win even though they were clearly the better team this season.

Louisville (88 rating) has a BPI eight points lower than Villanova, but the Cardinals have two almost surefire NBA-level players in Montrezl Harrell (24) and Terry Rozier (0). Nova barely escaped the toughest duo in the Big East when they narrowly defeated Providence, and these two are at a higher level. We give Nova a 58 percent chance of beating Louisville.

Virginia (89 rating) have actually been one point better than Villanova this year in BPI. We give Nova the slight edge because UVa loses four points in the ratings all related to Justin Anderson being injured (-2 for not being at full-strength, -1 for not being hot partly due to him being out, and -1 for the top 3 not being as good since he has been out) and not being near 100 percent since his return. Anderson had hit half of his three-pointers (46 of 92) before the Louisville game in which he was injured. He then missed eight games and since returning has missed all six of his shots from anywhere on the court in two games. We give Nova a 56% chance of beating UVa with Anderson still struggling, but if he gets back to full strength by then Virginia would be the favorite.

Gonzaga (94 rating) is virtually even with Villanova. We simply give Nova a 52% chance of the win.

So while Nova has the best chance of coming out of the right side of the bracket, when you add the percent chance of each win (62% x 58% x 56% x 52%) Nova has a 10% chance of making it to the title game.

So, as tough as Kentucky would be in the final, the harder part is getting there. Beating five teams in a row is always tougher than beating one incredible team on one night. If Nova does follow our bracket all the way to the title game, maybe they can come out and hit 13 of 18 first half shots like the 1985 squad did against Georgetown. And maybe just maybe another Nova player will yell out something like Ed Pinckney did in this ESPN account of the 1985 shocker, “Look at the scoreboard, just look at it!” Pinckney screams, his eyes red and teary. “Everybody said Georgetown would win. Everybody! But it’s us!”

Here are the ratings for the top teams. You can find all teams and all players on the story on each region.

R Se Team BPI Inj Hot NBA Sr.Gu Coa Top3 Total
M 1 Kentucky 95 0 0 7 0 3 105
W 2 Arizona 91 0 0 4 4 99
W 1 Wisconsin 92 2 1 2 1 1 99
E 1 Villanova 90 0 1 0 3 2 (1) 95
S 2 Gonzaga 90 -1 0 1 4 94
S 1 Duke 88 0 0 3 1 1 93
M 7 Wichita St. 83 0 0 1 2 2 2 90
M 3 Notre Dame 84 0 1 2 2 1 90
W 4 North Carolina 84 -1 1 3 2 1 90
S 5 Utah 83 0 -1 2 3 2 89
E 2 Virginia 91 -2 -1 1 1 (1) 89
E 4 Louisville 82 0 0 2 1 2 1 88
E 7 Michigan St. 81 -1 1 1 3 3 88
E 3 Oklahoma 84 0 1 1 1 87
M 2 Kansas 86 -2 -1 3 0 1 (1) 86
S 6 SMU 79 3 1 0 2 1 86
E 5 Northern Iowa 83 0 1 0 1 85
W 10 Ohio St. 82 0 -2 1 2 1 84
W 3 Baylor 81 0 -1 0 3 1 84
S 3 Iowa St. 83 0 1 0 0 (1) 83
W 5 Arkansas 80 1 1 1 83
M 4 Maryland 78 1 2 1 82
S 10 Davidson 77 1 2 2 82
E 6 Providence 77 2 1 2 82
S 4 Georgetown 80 1 81
E 8 North Carolina St. 75 1 1 77
E 16 Lafayette 55 1 56
R Se Team BPI Inj Hot NBA Sr.Gu Coa Top3 Total

 


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