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FiveThirtyEight’s math adds up nicely for Gonzaga

UPDATED: Sun., March 12, 2017

Players on the Gonzaga bench react during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in San Diego. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
Players on the Gonzaga bench react during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in San Diego. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

If Nate Silver has anything to say about it, Gonzaga has a legitimate shot at NCAA gold.

Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog mapped out the probable paths – mathematically – for each team in the tournament, and ranks Gonzaga’s likelihood of winning every game at 14 percent, second only to the top seed in the East, Villanova, at 15 percent.

Gonzaga, No. 1 in the West, is followed by Midwest top seed Kansas at 10 percent, Kentucky at 8 percent and North Carolina – No. 1 in the South – and Duke each at 7 percent.

According to the blog, forecasts will update in real time as games are played. If a No. 2 seed is losing to a No. 15 seed, you’ll be able to track the affect it will have on the bracket even before the game ends.

The blog predicts Saint Mary’s has a 2 percent chance to win every game, while giving South Dakota State, the Zags’ first-round opponent, a less than 1 percent shot. The blog puts Gonzaga’s chances at beating the Jackrabbits on Thursday at 98 percent.

The latest Las Vegas odds aren’t as kind to the Zags, however.

According to ESPN, the Westgate SuperBook has Gonzaga listed as a 10-to-1 favorite, trailing favorite Duke at 5-to-1, North Carolina at 6-to-1, and Kentucky, Villanova and Kansas, all at 8-to-1. Duke, the No. 2 seed in the East, grabbed momentum by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in impressive fashion.

William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook has North Carolina listed as its favorite, at 13-to-2, while Kansas (6-to-1) is the favorite at MGM’s sportsbook.

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