Projecting the 2013 Big Ten Basketball Race: February 5

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana may be in the lead in the standings, but they're not the favorite to win the conference.

A week ago, Michigan was #1 in the polls and projected to finish an average of two games ahead of the pack. Losing at Indiana brought them back to the pack, but in the ratings, they're still #1 in the no-margin method and #2 (behind Florida) in margin-aware. With no major surprises elsewhere in the week, there's not a whole lot of movement in the projected standings. As usual, championship and bye odds are computed from 100,000 simulations of the remainder of the season.

Basic Method

Team Avg wins 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 Outright Shared Top 4
Michigan 14.11 1.44% 6.85% 19.64% 32.82% 28.93% 10.12% N/A 35.39% 59.04% 97.20%
Indiana 13.87 2.41% 10.53% 24.49% 31.33% 21.98% 7.86% 1.10% 25.48% 47.34% 95.57%
Michigan State 12.65 13.56% 25.71% 29.27% 19.09% 6.36% 0.80% N/A 6.87% 18.35% 80.09%
Ohio State 11.98 22.32% 29.17% 22.72% 10.01% 2.22% 0.19% N/A 2.66% 8.87% 64.05%
Wisconsin 11.02 30.26% 23.46% 9.95% 2.11% 0.17% N/A N/A 0.27% 1.73% 33.92%
Minnesota 10.81 29.96% 21.38% 7.89% 1.15% N/A N/A N/A 0.10% 0.97% 28.72%
Iowa 7.62 1.08% 0.06% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.28%
Northwestern 7.13 0.28% 0.01% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.13%
Purdue 6.26 0.06% 1 in 32,300 1 in 1.47M N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.02%
Illinois 6.23 0.01% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.01%
Nebraska 4.49 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0 <0.01% <0.01%
Penn State 1.85 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0 0 <0.01%

Team Avg wins 0-18 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8
Michigan 14.11 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 16.0M 1 in 208k 0.01% 0.18%
Indiana 13.87 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 334k 0.01% 0.28%
Michigan State 12.65 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 30,700 0.08% 0.81% 4.33%
Ohio State 11.98 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.02% 0.38% 2.72% 10.25%
Wisconsin 11.02 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.01% 0.27% 2.21% 9.35% 22.21%
Minnesota 10.81 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 74,800 0.05% 0.55% 3.34% 11.59% 24.09%
Iowa 7.62 N/A N/A N/A 0.06% 0.81% 4.66% 14.38% 26.06% 28.34% 18.14% 6.41%
Northwestern 7.13 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.91% 7.84% 22.52% 31.47% 24.11% 10.41% 2.45%
Purdue 6.26 N/A N/A N/A N/A 5.87% 21.86% 32.25% 24.94% 11.32% 3.16% 0.55%
Illinois 6.23 N/A N/A 0.05% 0.91% 6.36% 20.39% 31.67% 25.93% 11.58% 2.78% 0.33%
Nebraska 4.49 N/A N/A 2.69% 16.73% 32.73% 29.30% 14.08% 3.84% 0.59% 0.05% 1 in 76,200
Penn State 1.85 10.37% 29.90% 33.31% 18.99% 6.13% 1.16% 0.13% 1 in 12,600 1 in 409k 1 in 35.6M N/A

Why is Michigan still the favorite even though they're a game back of Indiana? Two reasons:

1) Their strength of schedule to this point is significantly higher (aided by three road games against the top half of the Big Ten so far compared to Indiana's none), resulting in a higher rating.
2) Their remaining schedule is considerably easier (two remaining road games against the top half compared to Indiana's four).

Across the rest of the conference, the stratification between the top half and bottom half has increased - Minnesota (projected 6th) has a three-game lead on 7th-place Iowa, and the chances of one of the bottom six moving up to the top four are about 1 in 200. Penn State is officially out of the conference title race (with so many games left among MSU, OSU, Michigan, and Indiana, it's mathematically impossible for all of them to finish 9-9). Michigan State and Ohio State are favorites to get byes into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, with Minnesota and Wisconsin both having plausible chances as well.

On the bubble, Illinois is about a 1 in 7 chance to reach 8-10, which would almost certainly get them into the tournament thanks to their strong non-conference results. At 7-11 (another 1 in 4 chance), it's still possible - two teams have made the tournament as at-large selections at four games below .500 in conference in the past (Iowa State in 1992 and Florida State in 1998, according to Andy Glockner), and those were both prior to the expansion to 68. Iowa is about 1 in 4 to get to 9-9, which probably isn't good enough for them (two bad losses so far and an atrocious non-conference schedule), and 1 in 13 to get to 10-8 or better (which probably is good enough).

Margin-Aware Method

Team Avg wins 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 Outright Shared Top 4
Michigan 14.87 0.10% 1.09% 6.81% 23.38% 40.71% 27.91% N/A 49.00% 73.28% 99.52%
Indiana 14.35 0.56% 4.47% 17.04% 32.18% 30.40% 13.32% 2.00% 23.43% 46.33% 98.05%
Ohio State 12.19 19.83% 31.55% 26.94% 11.41% 1.99% 0.12% N/A 1.11% 4.61% 67.89%
Michigan State 11.76 25.96% 30.84% 19.93% 6.69% 1.03% 0.05% N/A 0.66% 3.33% 54.60%
Minnesota 11.37 30.39% 29.72% 14.45% 2.71% N/A N/A N/A 0.04% 0.68% 42.37%
Wisconsin 11.24 32.32% 27.57% 11.59% 2.27% 0.16% N/A N/A 0.09% 0.86% 37.05%
Iowa 8.38 2.47% 0.10% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.48%
Northwestern 6.95 0.10% 1 in 33,200 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.04%
Purdue 6.14 0.01% 1 in 205k 1 in 18.5M N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.01%
Illinois 5.82 1 in 177k N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% <0.01%
Nebraska 3.83 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0 <0.01% <0.01%
Penn State 1.11 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0 0 <0.01%

Team Avg wins 0-18 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8
Michigan 14.87 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 23.2B 1 in 69.9M 1 in 796k 1 in 20,500
Indiana 14.35 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 24.7M 1 in 166k 0.03%
Ohio State 12.19 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 30,000 0.11% 1.24% 6.82%
Michigan State 11.76 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.02% 0.38% 3.04% 12.07%
Minnesota 11.37 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 3.71M 1 in 34,100 0.08% 0.85% 5.08% 16.73%
Wisconsin 11.24 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 59,900 0.06% 0.89% 5.84% 19.30%
Iowa 8.38 N/A N/A N/A 1 in 41,700 0.07% 0.81% 4.87% 16.35% 30.74% 30.53% 14.06%
Northwestern 6.95 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0.61% 8.75% 26.51% 33.82% 21.66% 7.29% 1.26%
Purdue 6.14 N/A N/A N/A N/A 5.61% 23.45% 35.37% 24.48% 8.98% 1.87% 0.23%
Illinois 5.82 N/A N/A 0.02% 0.77% 7.95% 30.25% 36.63% 19.03% 4.74% 0.57% 0.03%
Nebraska 3.83 N/A N/A 5.30% 33.92% 38.59% 17.64% 4.02% 0.49% 0.03% 1 in 109k 1 in 12.5M
Penn State 1.11 27.68% 42.14% 23.07% 6.16% 0.88% 0.07% 1 in 35,900 1 in 1.82M 1 in 216M 1 in 83.3B N/A

Michigan's slightly more of a favorite here, with Indiana more firmly entrenched in second. The race for the other two byes is a little tighter, but Ohio State and Michigan State are still the favorites, with again about a 1 in 200 chance of someone outside the top six moving up (mostly Iowa). Iowa has gotten some distance from the rest of the bottom half; they're about 50-50 to get to 9-9 and 1 in 5 to reach 10-8. However, Illinois's chances look considerably more bleak: about 1 in 19 to get to 8-10, and another 1 in 5 to get to 7-11. Penn State's chances of avoiding 0-18 have actually improved slightly due to a closer-than-expected loss at Iowa and the recent poor results from a few other bottom teams.

Michigan State's Remaining Games

From the previous projection:

Illinois: won by 5 (projected 79% to win by basic system, 84% by margin-aware, +8.5 margin)

Remaining games, in schedule order:

Minnesota: 69% / 57% / +1.5 (was 70% / 58% / +1.5)
@ Purdue: 78% / 72% / +5 (was 73% / 66% / +3.5)
Michigan: 51% / 32% / -4 (was 45% / 29% / -4.5)
@ Nebraska: 76% / 79% / +7 (was 71% / 77% / +6.5)
Indiana: 58% / 40% / -2 (was 62% / 49% / -0.5)
@ Ohio State: 40% / 23% / -6.5 (was 41% / 23% / -6.5)
@ Michigan: 23% / 8% / -13 (was 19% / 7% / -14)
Wisconsin: 80% / 76% / +6 (was 80% / 78% / +6.5)
Northwestern: 90% / 90% / +12 (was 89% / 91% / +12.5)

No really big shifts here, which is hardly surprising when there were few surprises on the court in the past week.

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