Big Ten Basketball Bradley-Terry Projections: After Week 2


When last we checked the projected standings, the results were a bit alarming. With two weeks of conference play in the books, it's time for another look. Team rankings (all data through January 9):

  Pom Rank Pom WPct BT Rank BT WPct MABT Rank MABT WPct
Ohio St 2 0.9873 5 0.9878 2 0.9875
Purdue 4 0.9780 11 0.9611 4 0.9796
Wisconsin 9 0.9591 18 0.9380 15 0.9595
Illinois 16 0.9542 20 0.9333 13 0.9603
Michigan St 25 0.9347 30 0.9104 35 0.9114
Minnesota 54 0.8670 39 0.8912 45 0.8903
Michigan 61 0.8491 44 0.8774 43 0.8941
Northwestern 56 0.8640 59 0.8395 44 0.8914
Penn St 74 0.8083 79 0.7869 78 0.7960
Indiana 80 0.7888 131 0.5799 108 0.6867
Iowa 68 0.8323 141 0.5474 106 0.6981

 

There's a fairly clear top tier forming with OSU, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois. That's where the agreement ends, however:

  • Pomeroy (possibly impacted by preseason projections, although those are diminishing in significance in his updated system) views us as relatively close to the top tier and the other six as nearly indistinguishable.
  • The basic system (which ignores everything but your record and the opponents against which it was achieved; it's intended to be a more mathematically sound replacement for the RPI) sees a decent spread among the middle five with us slightly ahead, then a big drop to Indiana and Iowa.
  • Margin-aware (which applies the same method as the basic system except that teams are awarded fractional wins according to margin of victory on a logistic scale) views the middle four as nearly equal (although we are slightly ahead again), Indiana and Iowa way back again, and Penn State bridging the gap.

After the jump: Projected standings and this week's games. As a reminder, home court is ignored. Title chances are based on 10,000 season simulations.

Basic Bradley-Terry (W-L only)

Team WPct Current Average wins 18-0 15-3 or better 12-6 or better 9-9 or better 6-12 or worse 3-15 or worse 0-18 Outright title Share of title
Ohio St 0.9878 3-0 16.38 17.18% 93.45% 99.97% 1 - (1 in 9.54M) 1 in 10.3B 1 in 1.77e16 N/A 83.16% 92.46%
Purdue 0.9611 4-0 13.62 0.18% 28.91% 91.60% 99.94% 1 in 360k N/A N/A 5.80% 13.40%
Illinois 0.9333 3-0 12.00 1 in 15,100 5.79% 62.60% 98.36% 0.04% 1 in 38.6M N/A 1.09% 2.91%
Wisconsin 0.9380 2-1 11.32 N/A 1.90% 46.32% 95.90% 0.16% 1 in 1.96M N/A 0.34% 1.27%
Michigan St 0.9104 2-1 10.13 N/A 0.39% 21.05% 83.07% 1.55% 1 in 53,000 N/A 0.03% 0.24%
Michigan 0.8774 1-2 8.78 N/A 0.01% 4.93% 56.89% 8.46% 0.06% N/A 0.00% 0.04%
Minnesota 0.8912 1-3 8.67 N/A 1 in 32,500 3.81% 54.48% 9.15% 0.06% N/A 0.00% 0.00%
Northwestern 0.8395 1-3 7.40 N/A 1 in 556k 0.63% 25.21% 29.64% 0.72% N/A 0.00% 0.00%
Penn St 0.7869 2-2 5.84 N/A 1 in 26.8M 0.03% 4.57% 67.92% 5.33% N/A 0.00% 0.00%
Iowa 0.5474 0-3 2.53 N/A 1 in 33.3T 1 in 76.2M 1 in 14,900 99.59% 77.33% 5.01% 0.00% 0.00%
Indiana 0.5799 0-4 2.33 N/A N/A 1 in 1.22B 1 in 70,000 99.84% 82.88% 5.61% 0.00% 0.00%

 

Despite the loss to Penn State, we've leapfrogged Minnesota and Northwestern and have a projected lead of about 1 1/3 game for fifth place. Northwestern, meanwhile, seems to have adopted the North Side baseball team's motto: "Wait until next year". From the looks of this, the Big Ten has five teams who (if all goes according to the present ratings) should feel fairly comfortable on Selection Sunday, two more who are probably playing for their lives in the Big Ten tournament, and an eighth (Northwestern) who will need to end up a standard deviation above their projection to have a chance.

Midweek game projections:

Wisconsin (59.8%) @ MSU
Illinois (79.1%) @ Penn State
Ohio State (91.9%) @ Michigan
Northwestern (81.2%) @ Iowa
Purdue (75.1%) @ Minnesota

Expect these to be a little closer since the neutral-court favorites are all on the road. Even without that factored in, we should expect at least one of the home teams to take the upset. Here's hoping it's us.

Weekend game projections:

Northwestern @ MSU (66.0%)
Illinois @ Wisconsin (51.9%)
Penn State @ Ohio State (95.7%)
Michigan (83.8%) @ Indiana
Purdue (74.5%) @ West Virginia
Iowa @ Minnesota (87.1%)

Illinois-Wisconsin is a solid candidate for game of the weekend (along with Purdue-West Virginia); the other non-MSU games look like probable blowouts.

Margin-Aware Bradley-Terry

Team WPct Current Average wins 18-0 15-3 or better 12-6 or better 9-9 or better 6-12 or worse 3-15 or worse 0-18 Outright title Share of title
Ohio St 0.9875 3-0 15.67 6.83% 81.59% 99.75% 1 - (1 in 446k) 1 in 255M 1 in 149T N/A 56.57% 73.61%
Purdue 0.9796 4-0 14.57 1.14% 53.71% 97.98% 1 - (1 in 22,600) 1 in 9.81M N/A N/A 21.02% 36.10%
Illinois 0.9603 3-0 12.75 0.04% 13.11% 79.00% 99.57% 1 in 17,100 1 in 458M N/A 2.93% 8.15%
Wisconsin 0.9595 2-1 11.69 N/A 3.23% 55.67% 97.66% 0.07% 1 in 6.04M N/A 0.83% 2.63%
Michigan St 0.9114 2-1 9.07 N/A 0.05% 7.36% 63.02% 6.16% 0.02% N/A 0.03% 0.09%
Michigan 0.8941 1-2 8.49 N/A 1 in 13,200 3.66% 49.96% 12.10% 0.13% N/A 0.00% 0.02%
Northwestern 0.8914 1-3 8.00 N/A 1 in 105k 1.68% 38.47% 18.53% 0.30% N/A 0.00% 0.00%
Minnesota 0.8903 1-3 7.74 N/A 1 in 359k 0.94% 32.33% 22.37% 0.41% N/A 0.01% 0.01%
Penn St 0.7960 2-2 5.24 N/A 1 in 283M 1 in 21,200 1.75% 80.85% 11.13% N/A 0.00% 0.00%
Iowa 0.6981 0-3 3.33 N/A 1 in 272B 1 in 2.01M 0.08% 97.70% 56.44% 1.74% 0.00% 0.00%
Indiana 0.6867 0-4 2.43 N/A N/A 1 in 532M 1 in 37,800 99.75% 79.98% 5.33% 0.00% 0.00%

 

This set of projections isn't quite so optimistic for us, although we are still in fifth place. Iowa and Indiana loom as slightly larger dangers to the middle tier, and Wisconsin, Purdue, and Illinois look even more formidable. A win over Wisconsin would go a long way toward averting the unthinkable.

Midweek game projections:

Wisconsin (69.8%, -4.5) @ MSU
Illinois (86.1%, -10.5) @ Penn State
Ohio State (90.3%, -12.5) @ Michigan
Northwestern (78.0%, -7) @ Iowa
Purdue (85.6%, -10) @ Minnesota

Weekend game projections:

Northwestern @ MSU (55.6%, -1.5)
Illinois (50.5%, even) @ Wisconsin
Penn State @ Ohio State (95.3%, -17)
Michigan (79.4%, -7.5) @ Indiana
Purdue (81.0%, -8) @ West Virginia
Iowa @ Minnesota (77.8%, -7)

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