By Dylan Reffe
Capital News Service
COLLEGE PARK — Of the 20 colleges and universities whose men’s and women’s basketball programs advanced this week to play in the NCAA Tournament, Maryland has the fourth-best chance of having both teams make it to the Final Four, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight.com. It is a feat achieved by only six schools since the women’s tournament expanded in 1994 to 64 teams.
Maryland has the chance to do what only three schools in NCAA history have done: win both the men’s and women’s basketball championships in the same year. Connecticut pulled the double for a second time last spring.
Maryland is one of only three schools, along with Notre Dame and North Carolina, that has its men’s and women’s teams in the top 15 of the AP Poll. Yet the Terps only have the sixth best chance of advancing both teams to the second weekend of the tournament, because the men’s team could meet undefeated and prohibitive overall favorite Kentucky before then. The Wildcats’ perfect season is highly unlikely to end before then.
As each round progresses, the likelihood of survival for even the highest seeds like Kentucky, and even Maryland with a fourth seed, decreases. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, only 15 schools have greater than a one percent chance of advancing two teams to the Sweet 16.
Kentucky isn’t even most likely to see both of its teams make their Final Fours. Notre Dame has the best chance, though it is just 4.1 percent.
Although the Kentucky women’s team is a second seed, it is in the same region as Connecticut, the odds-on favorite to win it all. FiveThirtyEight.com estimated the Connecticut women have a 96 percent chance of making the Final Four. In other words, if this women’s tournament was played 25 different times, the Huskies should advance to the national semifinals 24 times.
Though Maryland’s chances of both teams making the Final Four are quite slim, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, their chances are the same as Kentucky’s — 0.74 percent.