What are the Odds? Predictions for the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament

Posted by Holly Whitfield | March 20th 2013 2111 0

By now, you know that the Tigers are playing St. Mary's in their first game of the NCAA tournament tomorrow at 1:45 p.m. You've scheduled a long, late lunch or put the NCAA app on your phone and laid out your lucky game day socks (or earrings or whatever) with care.

You also know that the Tigers need this win. Never mind that they've won 30 games this season: what matters now is that the Tigers clench their first tournament win under Coach Josh Pastner.


But what are the odds? Here's what everyone from Coach P to President Obama thinks about their chances:

What the President thinks:
President Obama's bracket has us beating St. Mary's, then losing to Michigan State in the next round.

What the Statisticians Say:

The Wall Street Journal consulted a bunch of supposedly smart Harvard statisticians to predict the winners of the tournament, and they have zero faith in the Tigers:

"Memphis gets the winner of Tuesday's play-in game between Middle Tennessee State and St. Mary's. No matter what happens, Ezekowitz sees Memphis losing. Middle Tennessee would have a 60.8% shot of winning and St. Mary's chances would be 52.7%."

Speaking of statistics, legendary statistician / possible witch Nate Silver, a man who probably spent more time on his bracket than all of us combined,  gives Memphis a 58.8 percent chance of beating St. Mary's, but only a 22.3 percent chance of winning a Sweet 16 game.

What National Sports Media Says:

Grantland's Shane Ryan has a hilarious analysis of all 68 tournament teams that has the Tigers lumped into the "Annoying Buzzkills" category. He writes:

" Seriously, what do you do with Memphis? The Tigers lost every biggish game they played at the start of the season, ran through Conference USA like it didn't exist — and it barely does — and lost to Xavier when they happened to play a decent (but non-tournament) team from out of conference. They stink, but you can't really prove it."


CBS reporter Jeff Goodman tweeted this (and changed his avatar to a picture of the I Love Memphis mural):

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.17.30 PM

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has this downer prediction (note that he was right about St. Mary's):

The Tigers have won 30 times, but against whom? And have they shaken last year's non-stellar showing against Saint Louis? My sense is that Memphis simply hasn't had the kind of testing necessary to pass one at the NCAA tournament level. The Tigers are looking at an upset loss to either Middle Tennessee or Saint Mary's in the second round, and I'm betting on it being the Gaels.

What Local Sports Media Says:

The Flyer's Frank Murtaugh thinks the Tigers must win their first game, lest they deeply disappoint us all. If they do win and have to face Michigan State, though, he thinks we're going to lose, and we're going to lose big.

 – Commercial Appeal beat writer (and my pick to win the Best Basketball Reporter on Twitter brackets) Jason Smith straight up thinks they're going to win:

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.34.56 PM

What Tigers Head Coach Josh Pastner Says:

The same thing he's been saying all season. All together now: "Obviously it's not a birthright to be in the NCAA tournament."

What Vegas Says:

Vegasinsider.com has Memphis' odds of winning the whole tournament at 100/1.

What do you think?

Show Comments


  1. Deby says:

    Where is that Basketball Tiger? It's AWESOME!!

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