The New York Times' Nate Silver is known for his statistical analysis of politics on FiveThirtyEight. He also analyzes statistics for the NCAA basketball tournament, and he has odds for all of the teams in the field. Not only are there odds for all of the second round matchups set to take place today and tomorrow, but there are also odds for how far each team could advance in the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Michigan State is the only local team favored in the second round in FiveThirtyEight's NCAA tournament forecast. The Spartans, despite being a lower seed than UCLA, are a 67 percent favorite. Amazingly, they are the fourth-most likely team to advance to the third round in the Southeast Region. Only the top three seeds have better odds to make it to the round of 32 teams.
Michigan State's odds to make it to the Final Four for the third consecutive year are 5.3 percent. MSU has a 0.6 percent chance of winning the national championship and a 1.9 percent chance of being one of the final two teams. The Spartans' odds are 23.7 percent to advance to the Sweet 16 and 13.0 percent to advance to the Elite Eight.
The NCAA tournament odds for Michigan aren't nearly as good. The Wolverines have a 43.1 percent chance of beating Tennessee, which is only good for 11th-best in the West Region (remember, Michigan is the No. 8 seed). After that, a Michigan win is much less likely. The Wolverines have a 3.5 percent chance of advancing to the Sweet 16, a 1.2 percent chance of making it to the Elite Eight and a 0.3 percent chance of going to the Final Four. The chances of Michigan winning a national semifinal game or the whole tournament are less than 0.1 percent (ouch).
Unsurprisingly, Oakland's chances of beating Texas are only 15.5 percent (the Golden Grizzlies are a 13 seed, after all). What's amazing is that the chances of Oakland picking up a win in the third round are 5.9 percent. By comparison, Michigan has only a 3.5 percent chance of winning a third-round game, as the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils would likely be its opponent. Oakland's chances of going to the Elite Eight are 0.7 percent, and the chances of a Final Four run are 0.2 percent. Like Michigan, Oakland has less than a 0.1 percent chance of winning a national semifinal game or the national title.