Projecting the Big Ten Basketball Race: The Home Stretch


With two weeks left in conference play, it's time to once again revisit the race for the Big Ten title. Previous projections: halfway, 1/4 season. Full rankings are here; of particular note is that we're the highest-ranked Big Ten team in both versions now (8th nationally in the basic rankings, 2nd in the margin-aware).

Title and first-round-bye odds are based on 100,000 simulations.

The Title Race

Four teams are realistically alive (Indiana and Purdue could, in theory, share the title, but the odds of MSU and OSU both losing three straight heading into the Breslin showdown and Michigan losing three of four without playing any of the top five are, to say the least, not good). The remaining schedules (with no-margin W%, margin-aware W%, and predicted margin - home court works out to about 4.5 points):

Michigan State

@ Minnesota: 67% / 81% / +7.5
Nebraska: 94% / 98% / +21
@ Indiana: 47% / 57% / +1.5
Ohio St: 70% / 75% / +6

Ohio State

Illinois: 87% / 95% / +15.5
Wisconsin: 75% / 84% / +8.5
@ Northwestern: 58% / 69% / +4
@ Michigan St: 30% / 25% / -6

Michigan

@ Northwestern: 50% / 45% / -1
Purdue: 79% / 82% / +8
@ Illinois: 55% / 56% / +1
@ Penn St: 72% / 76% / +6

Wisconsin

@ Iowa: 67% / 74% / +5.5
@ Ohio St: 25% / 16% / -8.5
Minnesota: 82% / 89% / +11
Illinois: 81% / 89% / +11.5

Win Distribution and Title Odds

Top number in each cell is the chance by the no-margin system, bottom is by margin-aware. We have clinched a bye thanks to tiebreakers (head-to-head sweep of Purdue; should we end up tied with Indiana for 4th we would have the same split against Michigan and Ohio State but a sweep of Wisconsin while Indiana lost to them).

Team Outright Share Bye 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3
Michigan St 58.53%
68.98%
84.24%
89.78%
100% 0.34%
0.04%
6.72%
2.34%
28.80%
18.06%
43.70%
45.58%
20.44%
33.98%
Ohio St 7.99%
6.46%
24.58%
20.85%
98.31%
99.35%
0.96%
0.20%
10.98%
5.21%
36.42%
30.71%
40.25%
50.52%
11.40%
13.36%
Michigan 4.83%
2.08%
23.59%
15.45%
97.81%
98.10%
1.29%
1.05%
11.18%
10.37%
32.98%
33.24%
38.82%
39.82%
15.74%
15.52%
Wisconsin 0.18%
0.05%
3.58%
1.64%
89.67%
93.77%
0.85%
0.27%
9.50%
5.12%
34.77%
30.52%
43.82%
54.53%
11.07%
9.56%

The rest of the league after the jump.

Game-by-Game Odds

Indiana

@ Minnesota: 54% / 57% / +1.5
Michigan St: 53% / 43% / -1.5
Purdue: 78% / 84% / +9

Purdue

Nebraska: 82% / 88% / +11
@ Michigan: 21% / 18% / -8
Penn St: 84% / 89% / +11.5
@ Indiana: 22% / 16% / -9

Northwestern

Michigan: 50% / 55% / +1
@ Penn St: 57% / 62% / +2.5
Ohio St: 42% / 31% / -4
@ Iowa: 52% / 54% / +1

Iowa

Wisconsin: 33% / 26% / -5.5
@ Illinois: 22% / 19% / -7.5
@ Nebraska: 34% / 35% / -3.5
Northwestern: 48% / 46% / -1

Minnesota

Michigan St: 33% / 19% / -7.5
Indiana: 46% / 43% / -1.5
@ Wisconsin: 18% / 11% / -11
Nebraska: 78% / 85% / +9

Illinois

@ Ohio St: 13% / 5% / -15.5
Iowa: 78% / 81% / +7.5
Michigan: 45% / 44% / -1
@ Wisconsin: 19% / 11% / -11.5

Nebraska

@ Purdue: 18% / 12% / -11
@ Michigan St: 6% / 2% / -21
Iowa: 66% / 65% / +3.5
@ Minnesota: 22% / 15% / -9

Penn State

Northwestern: 43% / 38% / -2.5
@ Purdue: 16% / 11% / -11.5
Michigan: 28% / 24% / -6

Bye Chance and Win Distribution

Team Bye 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7
Indiana
11.21%
7.09%

4.61%
3.79%
27.47%
28.47%
45.22%
46.91%
22.70%
20.83%
Purdue 2.67%
1.51%
1.73%
0.87%
18.25%
14.18%
52.54%
60.41%
24.38%
22.38%
3.10%
2.16%
Northwestern 0.25%
0.13%
6.07%
5.35%
24.92%
24.09%
37.80%
38.79%
25.08%
25.96%
6.13%
5.82%
Iowa 0.11%
0.04%
17.73%
21.20%
39.56%
41.57%
31.18%
28.40%
10.33%
8.03%
1.21%
0.79%
Minnesota 0.01%
<0.01%
6.48%
6.19%
33.39%
41.63%
40.88%
40.60%
17.12%
10.78%
2.13%
0.80%
Illinois <0.01% 8.37%
8.99%
40.27%
46.81%
39.58%
38.40%
10.90%
5.61%
0.88%
0.20%
Nebraska 0 20.75%
25.52%
51.13%
56.49%
24.16%
16.56%
3.80%
1.42%
0.16%
0.02%
Penn St
0 34.74%
41.75%
46.03%
44.22%
17.37%
13.03%
1.86%
1.00%
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