Ask Sports: What are the chances Wichita State and Kansas both reach the Final Four?

01/10/2014 2:04 PM

08/08/2014 10:15 AM

What are the chances Wichita State and Kansas are both in the Final Four? Or that they meet in the championship game?

Not very good, but certainly better than it was a week ago.

Stats maven Nate Silver of the New York Times gives Wichita State a 23.6-percent chance to reach the Final Four and KU surprisingly only a 23.3-percent chance with his statistical forecast.

The Shockers are the third-most likely team in their region to advance behind Ohio State and Arizona. The Jayhawks are the second-most likely team in the South behind the Florida Gators, who statistical analysis gives a whopping 58.2-percent chance to reach Atlanta.

Based on these percentages, the likelihood KU and WSU both reach the Final Four is 5.5 percent.

Silver has KU reaching the championship game 11.2 percent of the time and the Shockers 4.5 percent. To get the dream matchup of the Shockers and Jayhawks playing for the national title? That percentage drops to 0.5 percent, meaning that if the tournament were held 1,000 times from this point forward a WSU-KU championship should occur 5 times.

The Jayhawks are projected to win the title 4.5 percent of the time, while WSU wins 1.2 percent.

But we know statheads aren’t the only ones who try to predict outcomes. How do the oddsmakers see it?

The website Bovada lists KU as a 5-2 proposition to win the South and gives the Shockers 13-4 odds to win the West.

That equates to KU having a 28.6-percent chance to win its region while WSU has a 23.5-percent chance. Based on those numbers, the all-Sunflower Final Four creeps up to 6.7 percent.

The site does not list odds to reach the final, but it does list KU as 12-1 to win the title (7.7 percent) and WSU at 40-1 (2.4 percent).

How about something completely unscientific? For that we go to ESPN’s Sportsnation polls.

Its voters gave WSU a 10-percent chance to win its region and KU a 31-percent chance to win the South.

Combined, ESPN voters give a Kansas double a 3.1 percent chance of occurring — the worst of the models we’ve examined.

— Joshua Wood

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