So now that Nebraska has toppled Michigan State and Creighton sits atop the Big East, you’re probably wondering: What are the chances that both the Bluejays and Huskers make the NCAA’s Final Four?
Well, if you’re a realist, you’re not considering that, but on the heels of one of the biggest college hoops days in our state’s history, we thought we’d dare to dream.
The Huskers, winners of three straight, have some work to do, while TeamRankings.com projects Creighton as a No. 2 seed.
So, just for fun, here are some odds of a CU-NU Final Four matchup:
According to TeamRankings.com’s “thousands of computer simulations,” Creighton is a sure thing — 100-percent likely — to make the NCAA tournament. The Jays have a 63-percent chance of making the Sweet 16, a 20.5-percent chance of reaching the Final Four, and in 5.5-percent of simulations, Doug McDermott and the Jays are your national champs.
As for NU, it has a 17.1-percent chance of making the tournament, the website predicts. If that were to happen, the Huskers most likely would be a No. 12 seed. Should they make the field, the Huskers have a 0.9-percent shot at making the Sweet 16 and a zero-percent likelihood of reaching the Final Four.
But there’s a reason that we’re told “never say never.” Math can get fuzzy when zeroes are involved.
Enter UNO Associate Professor of Mathematics Andrew Swift, a man with no bias when it comes to NU and CU.
Swift helped us derive a set of numbers by looking at past performances of No. 12 seeds. We’re assuming in this model that Creighton and Nebraska would not be paired in the same regional, but that they would meet in a national semifinal.
So, should the Huskers make the field as a 12, Swift helped us arrive at these remote possibilities:
» Nebraska, with its 17.1-percent chance of reaching the Big Dance, would have a .0398-percent chance of making the Final Four.
» Given that, there is a 0.008159353-percent chance of Creighton and a specific No. 12 seed (in this case Nebraska) reaching the same Final Four.
» Using this model, there is only a 0.00407967672-percent chance of Creighton and Nebraska playing each other in the same Final Four.
Put another way, the Jays and Huskers would meet in the national semis once every 24,512 tournaments.
With only 29 tourneys in the books since the field expanded in 1985, we wouldn’t suggest you get your hopes up, but it could happen.
We’ll let you debate the only question this leaves unanswered: Who would win?