With the help of our TRACR model, we’ve calculated the probabilities of advancement for the NCAA Sweet 16. So if you’re looking for March Madness predictions, you’re in the right place.

What a wild first weekend for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Yeah, where to even begin with March Madness, which is so aptly named, of course.

How about No. 11 seed Duquesne starting off the upsets against 6-seed BYU last Thursday?

Or Dayton making a miraculous comeback against Nevada? In 2018, the Wolf Pack were on the right side of a miraculous comeback, but this time they went home early for the second consecutive year.

And then Kentucky fell in the first round yet again – as a No. 3 seed losing to 14-seed Oakland, similar to the way the Wildcats were second-seeded when they fell to 15-seed Saint Peter’s in the 2022 first round.

As Greg Kampe’s dynamic Oakland squad produced the biggest win in program history, guard Jack Gohlke drilled 10 3-pointers – one shy of the NCAA Tournament record. What was more amazing, that he got off 20 attempts from behind the arc or he did it all off the bench? His performance was so good he even secured NIL deals, one so quick that he did it in his team’s hotel.

And that was only Thursday.

Friday continued with the first-round upsets. Auburn collapsed late and was upset by Yale. Wisconsin never had a lead against James Madison. Grand Canyon, a school you can literally buy stock on, knocked off Saint Mary’s.

It’s probably safe to say there’s no perfect March Madness 2024 bracket remaining in the world.

With all of this, it is time to ask: How is your NCAA bracket heading into the Sweet 16?

If you used TRACR, our Team Rating Adjusted for Conference and Roster, you should be doing well. TRACR is a net efficiency metric that calculates a team’s points per possession on both sides of the ball, adjusted by the team it plays. The model rewards teams that do well against good teams and subtracts from those that do poorly against weaker squads.

We are simulating both the men’s and women’s NCAA college basketball tournaments live. TRACR’s top men’s teams – Houston, UConn, Purdue, and Iowa State – made it to the Sweet 16, which resumes Thursday night. Of TRACR’s top 11 teams, 10 are still alive (thanks for ruining that stat, Auburn!).


A good way to make March Madness predictions is by identifying how good each team’s conference was across the regular season and its postseason tournament.

The Big 12, for example, is TRACR’s top conference and had eight teams dancing. The Big East was not as strong as the Big 12 overall, but its top teams in UConn (second in TRACR), Creighton (16th) and Marquette (17th) have Final Four potential.

This year’s two-round results seem to be a mixed bag. From the Big 12, TRACR expected BYU (15th) and Texas Tech (22nd) to win games, and it was high on Baylor (13th). Those three teams managed only one win – Baylor beating Colgate before it fell to Clemson in the Round of 32.

The Big East still has all three teams remaining – something TRACR expected to happen.

So, yes, it can be hit or miss in a chaotic tournament.

The SEC has been the biggest disappointment by far, with Auburn (fifth), Kentucky (28th), Florida (39th) and South Carolina (63rd) falling in the first round. Sure, Florida had a wild game against Colorado that could have been a win on another day, but the other three teams lost as clear favorites. TRACR still likes Tennessee (eighth) over Creighton in the Sweet 16, but coach Rick Barnes has not made it past that round with the Volunteers.


The biggest surprise is the ACC and its four Sweet 16 qualifiers. TRACR was not a fan of Virginia (73rd) for most of the season, and the Cavaliers’ 25-point loss to Colorado State in the First Four showed why. However, the metric did not expect Duke (sixth), North Carolina (seventh), Clemson (21st) and NC State (48th) to all be remaining at this point.

Heading to Sweet 16: Best Records Among Major Conferences

  • Big East: 6-0
  • ACC: 8-1
  • Pac-12: 6-3
  • Big Ten : 6-4
  • Big 12: 7-6
  • SEC: 5-6

College basketball blue bloods Duke and North Carolina reaching the Sweet 16 should come as little surprise. Coach Jon Scheyer’s Blue Devils bumped up in TRACR after they shook off pesky Vermont (110th) and dominated James Madison (71st). While those opponents were only 13 and 12 seeds, respectively, it’s the way Duke won that impressed our model, which now gives the Blue Devils a 23.8% chance to make it to the Final Four even though they’re Sweet 16 underdogs to 1-seed Houston (first) in the South Region.

North Carolina, the top seed in the West Region, handled fellow NCAA tourney-veteran Michigan State (19th) in the second round en route to the Sweet 16.

Meanwhile, NC State needed overtime to beat Oakland (115th) in the second round. Could the Wolfpack, who counting the ACC Tournament are on a seven-game winning streak, be the next 11 seed to make it to the Final Four? Five teams have done it before, but TRACR doesn’t predict it this year, giving coach Kevin Keatts’ upstarts just a 7.1% chance.

Perhaps the most-impressive ACC team has been Clemson. Many (myself included) predicted a first-round upset loss to 11-seed New Mexico in their brackets, but the Tigers crushed the Lobos. They followed up in the second round with an upset over Baylor, helping the ACC improve to 11-3 against the Big 12 this season.

Credit to Brad Brownell, Clemson’s winningest coach, for handling adversity through the regular season and making it to the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend. This was a squad that lost three straight games by double digits in January and went just 5-5 in Quad 2 games this season.

Will the ACC continue its run in the second weekend? The conference has a 74.0% chance of advancing at least one team to the Final Four, per TRACR.

We have seen lots of chaos in the NCAA Tournament over the last few years. Believe it or not, this has been a chalkier tournament than usual.

This is the first time all No. 1 and 2 seeds made it to the Sweet 16 since 2019. That was when Virginia won the national championship one year after becoming the first team to lose to a 16 seed.

Purdue (third) is looking to write a similar script. After losing to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson last year, the Boilermakers are one-third of the way through their goal, having cruised to this year’s Sweet 16 via a 28-point win over Grambling State (305th) and a 39-point blowout of Utah State (60th). They are the first team to win each of its first two NCAA Tournament games by 25 or more since Louisville in 2013 (that Cardinals team went on to win it all that year, but their championship was later vacated, due to NCAA sanctions).

Center Zach Edey has been the main reason for the Midwest Region top seed’s dominance, averaging 26.5 points and 17.5 rebounds in the two games. Of the previous four players to do that in his team’s first two NCAA Tournament games, three are now in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

50+ Points/35+ Rebounds in Team’s First Two NCAA GamesMost Recent

  • Zach Edey, 2024 Purdue – 53 Points and 35 Rebounds
  • Antonio McDyess, 1995 Alabama – 61 and 36
  • Artis Gilmore, 1970 Jacksonville – 60 and 36
  • Lew Alcindor, 1968 UCLA – 50 and 41
  • Elvin Hayes, 1968 Houston – 84 and 51

Purdue, which TRACR gives a 61.6% chance to beat Gonzaga (ninth) in the Sweet 16, has not been the only dominant team. UConn was up 52-19 at halftime against overmatched Stetson (236th) and won by 39. The defending NCAA champion Huskies also had no problem handling Boo Buie and Northwestern (50th).

UConn is seeking to capture back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles, which only Florida has accomplished in more than 30 years.

Coach Dan Hurley’s squad was the most popular pick to win it all in March Madness, and the Huskies have the highest chance at 18.1%, per TRACR.

In the Sweet 16, the 1 or 2 seed is favored by our TRACR-powered supercomputer in each matchup. UConn has the highest chance of making the Elite Eight – 76.3% heading into its East Region game against San Diego State (20th).

Marquette (17th) is next-highest with a 66.3% chance to beat NC State, just ahead of Arizona (10th) with a 66.1% chance to beat Clemson.

Opta Analyst’s Sweet 16 Projections (Win Probability)

  • No. 1 UConn over No. 5 San Diego State (76.3%)
  • No. 2 Iowa State over No. 3 Illinois (59.2%)
  • No. 1 North Carolina over No. 4 Alabama (56.4%)
  • No. 2 Arizona over No. 6 Clemson (66.1%)
  • No. 1 Houston over No. 4 Duke (62.6%)
  • No. 2 Marquette over No. 11 NC State (66.3%)
  • No. 1 Purdue over No. 5 Gonzaga (61.6%)
  • No. 2 Tennessee over No. 3 Creighton (57.6%)

Arizona also has a 32.7% chance to reach the Final Four, which the Wildcats have not done since 2001 (they have lost five consecutive Elite Eight games, most recently in 2015 to Wisconsin). Guard Caleb Love may have a shot to face his former team, North Carolina, in the Elite Eight, but the closest Sweet 16 game comes out of the Tar Heels’ West Region matchup with Alabama (14th).

North Carolina has only a 56.4% chance to beat the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide. It’s a bit of rematch from early last season, when the Tide slipped past the Tar Heels 103-101 in four overtimes. Expect another close, high-scoring game in this one.

Other teams favored by TRACR in the Sweet 16: 1-seed Houston, which survived Texas A&M in overtime in the second round, 62.6% over 4-seed Duke; 2-seed Iowa State (fourth), 59.2% over 3-seed Illinois (11th); and 2-seed Tennessee, 57.6% over 3-seed Creighton.

Survive and advance, for sure. That’s all a team can ask for on the Road to the Final Four, April 6-8 in Glendale, Arizona.

Make sure to stay up to date with our live March Madness predictions for both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

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