NCAA Tournament favorite? ESPN’s BPI probability rankings say so.

ESPN says Wichita State has a 26 percent chance to reach the Final Four


Matt Crow

A Wichita State fan cheers during the Shockers win over Northern Iowa. (Feb. 18, 2017)

The predictions continue to pour in.

While the Associated Press published their preseason college basketball rankings early Wednesday — which ranked the Shockers No. 7 in their top 25 poll, the highest preseason ranking for Wichita State in 36 years — ESPN started looking at the NCAA’s postseason.

ESPN’s BPI revealed postseason probability and odds, and Gregg Marshall’s Shockers were tabbed with high credentials.

WSU was given a 26 percent probability odds to reach the Final Four and an 11 percent chance to cut down the nets — each the highest odds of any of the 351 teams in Division I college basketball.

The Villanova Wildcats finished with the second-highest odds to make the Final Four, at 25 percent. The University of Kansas finished third with 24 percent probability odds. American Athletic Conference foe, Cincinnati, who is projected to win the conference, is listed with a 9.4 percent probability odds — the sixth best in the country — to reach the Final Four.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is a predictive model for team strength based on performance factors. WSU, who returns all starters and the top eight scorers this season, fits the system well. In July, ESPN placed WSU at the top of their BPI rankings.

The Shockers will take the court for an exhibition game against Henderson State on Saturday, and a charity exhibition against Newman University on Monday. They officially open their season against the University of Missouri-Kansas City on Nov. 10.