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Data Deep Dive: Simulating 2023 Nationals

Now that regionals competition has wrapped up, we have run another 10,000 simulations of our postseason model, this time featuring only the eight teams that have punched their tickets to nationals, in order to get updated probabilities for each to bring home the title. For background on the model methodology and to view the pre-regionals results, see our article on the 2023 postseason simulator. As in our initial runs, we lowered the impact of injured athletes and counted more recent scores (i.e., March and regionals scores) more than scores from earlier in the season.


Semifinal Team Finalist Top 3 Top 2 Champion

Based on the numbers above, each semifinal features a dominant team with over an 80% chance of becoming a finalist — Florida with an 84% chance in the first semifinal, and Oklahoma with an 89% chance in the second. Having upset then-No. 2 Florida to win the Pittsburgh regional final, California (69%) is also favored to advance from the afternoon session. LSU (30%) is expected to be the Golden Bears’ biggest competition, though Denver (16%) proved in its regional final that it is capable of beating the odds to advance. For the evening session, the simulation predicts a closer race for the second qualifying position, between long-time rivals Utah (60%) and UCLA (45%). While the Utes have defeated the Bruins in all three head-to-head competitions this year, a 15% difference in odds is relatively small—less than half the difference in odds between California and LSU—so the Utes will look to be on their A game. Finally, our simulation gave Kentucky the lowest chance of qualifying to the final at 5%, but the Wildcats are coming off a record-breaking season and an upset in their regional final, and will be ready to pounce should other teams falter.

In terms of championship predictions, reigning champion Oklahoma is the heavy favorite, coming out on top in close to 60% of simulations. As the Sooners showed this weekend, they can reach the 198 mark even when counting a fall, so any team looking to upset them will have to go lights out. The results suggest Florida is the most likely contender, with the Gators pulling off the win about 20% of the time. If Trinity Thomas is able to compete, these odds could improve; we had given her scores less weight in our simulations following confirmation of her injury this past weekend. Aside from the top two seeds, our results gave Utah the best shot at the title, at 11%. No other team secured the win in over 10% of our simulations.

Want to try this simulation yourself?

You're in luck! Adjust the settings and click the simulate button below, and a bracket will appear showing the results of both semifinals and Four on the Floor! We've also added in individual event winners this year using the scores from the teams and individual qualifiers. Click the button again to run a new simulation. Counts of wins will show up under the "Win Count" header. Be sure to share your results on social media!



Win Counts

READ THIS NEXT: Data Deep Dive: Does Starting Event Matter for Postseason Success?

Simulation script and data by Jenna King; article by Dara Tan and Jenna King; on-page simulation by Izzi Baskin

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