Projecting the 2014 Big Ten Basketball Race: January 15

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

One quarter of the way through the Big Ten basketball season, who has the inside track for the title and the conference tournament byes?

With four conference games (for most) in the books, it's time to take a look at the Big Ten basketball race. As always, these projections are based on two variants of the Bradley-Terry method, with ratings here. Record probabilities are calculated from individual game probabilities, while conference title and tournament bye probabilities are based on 100,000 simulations.

(Note: The ratings posted on the site are only updated through games of January 12, but I ran the ratings again with all games finished as of 10:30 PM CST Tuesday to include Tuesday's Big Ten games. Ties for the last bye in season simulations are credited partially to each team in the tie.)

Basic Method

Team Avg wins 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 18-0 Outright Shared Top 4
Wisconsin 14.25 2.58% 7.89% 17.27% 26.22% 26.11% 15.26% 3.94% N/A 36.45% 56.19% 97.95%
Michigan State 14.24 2.70% 8.36% 17.88% 25.94% 24.66% 14.46% 4.66% 0.62% 35.20% 54.59% 97.74%
Iowa 11.67 21.12% 22.98% 17.88% 9.64% 3.39% 0.69% 0.06% N/A 3.29% 8.47% 69.04%
Ohio State 11.17 24.45% 22.45% 13.74% 5.25% 1.11% 0.09% N/A N/A 1.03% 3.80% 59.12%
Michigan 10.57 22.91% 16.42% 8.30% 2.92% 0.69% 0.10% 1 in 11,100 1 in 301k 0.90% 2.86% 42.30%
Indiana 8.99 11.74% 4.71% 1.24% 0.20% 0.02% 1 in 169k N/A N/A 0.05% 0.22% 13.30%
Minnesota 8.85 10.56% 4.07% 1.05% 0.17% 0.02% 1 in 175k N/A N/A 0.05% 0.23% 12.21%
Illinois 8.24 6.40% 2.13% 0.49% 0.07% 1 in 16,200 1 in 433k N/A N/A 0.02% 0.12% 7.27%
Purdue 6.55 0.77% 0.14% 0.02% 1 in 72,500 1 in 1.61M 1 in 84.5M N/A N/A <0.01% 0.01% 0.94%
Nebraska 5.23 0.06% 1 in 17,500 1 in 334k 1 in 15.3M N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.10%
Northwestern 4.76 0.01% 1 in 110k 1 in 2.43M 1 in 97.2M 1 in 9.42B N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.03%
Penn State 3.50 1 in 231k 1 in 6.36M 1 in 413M N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% <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
Wisconsin 14.25 N/A N/A N/A 1 in 153B 1 in 1.51B 1 in 34.5M 1 in 1.37M 1 in 84,400 0.01% 0.11% 0.61%
Michigan State 14.24 N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 11.2B 1 in 121M 1 in 3.05M 1 in 137k 0.01% 0.10% 0.61%
Iowa 11.67 N/A N/A N/A 1 in 3.67M 1 in 112k 0.01% 0.11% 0.63% 2.46% 6.90% 14.12%
Ohio State 11.17 N/A N/A 1 in 70.4M 1 in 1.33M 1 in 58,900 0.02% 0.18% 0.96% 3.64% 9.73% 18.38%
Michigan 10.57 N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 40,600 0.05% 0.47% 2.37% 7.47% 15.66% 22.61%
Indiana 8.99 N/A N/A 1 in 107k 0.02% 0.23% 1.33% 4.85% 11.85% 20.02% 23.81% 19.98%
Minnesota 8.85 N/A N/A 1 in 81,800 0.03% 0.29% 1.61% 5.62% 13.06% 20.97% 23.68% 18.88%
Illinois 8.24 N/A N/A 1 in 13,100 0.13% 0.94% 3.86% 10.18% 18.25% 23.04% 20.86% 13.63%
Purdue 6.55 N/A 0.03% 0.41% 2.38% 7.77% 16.19% 22.82% 22.54% 15.91% 8.08% 2.95%
Nebraska 5.23 0.06% 0.70% 3.52% 10.19% 18.93% 23.90% 21.13% 13.27% 5.94% 1.88% 0.41%
Northwestern 4.76 N/A 0.72% 4.95% 14.58% 24.27% 25.46% 17.80% 8.55% 2.87% 0.67% 0.11%
Penn State 3.50 1.16% 6.93% 17.74% 25.87% 24.06% 15.10% 6.59% 2.03% 0.44% 0.07% 1 in 14,900

Wisconsin against Michigan State for the title is very nearly a dead heat according to the basic method; the Badgers' easier schedule (no trips to OSU or MSU) is balanced by the fact that they have lost a game already. Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan are fighting for the remaining two byes, with Iowa having a slight advantage and about a 1-in-3 chance that someone else climbs to the top 4. Of the middle teams, Minnesota is probably the best bet to make the NCAA tournament; Indiana's a slight favorite to finish ahead but, like Iowa last year (and this year, for that matter), they have a large number of "RPI anchor" non-conference opponents, which will hurt them significantly in the eyes of the committee. Illinois and Indiana both probably have to beat their projections by a game or two to make the tournament. The Illini do at least have a lot of opportunities for big wins in conference (playing each of the top four twice); Indiana almost certainly needs at least 10 wins considering that their two road skips are Iowa and Ohio State.

Margin-Aware Method

Team Avg wins 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 18-0 Outright Shared Top 4
Michigan State 14.43 1.17% 5.50% 16.08% 28.26% 28.53% 15.61% 4.24% 0.45% 31.00% 52.83% 98.20%
Wisconsin 14.39 1.59% 6.07% 15.79% 27.06% 28.71% 16.62% 3.83% N/A 30.79% 52.85% 97.77%
Iowa 13.03 10.40% 19.68% 25.76% 22.54% 12.38% 3.75% 0.45% N/A 8.23% 19.78% 86.86%
Ohio State 12.22 18.50% 27.64% 25.61% 13.59% 3.56% 0.35% N/A N/A 1.78% 6.78% 76.51%
Michigan 10.56 24.97% 16.66% 7.28% 2.04% 0.35% 0.04% 1 in 50,300 1 in 2.22M 0.33% 1.41% 27.02%
Minnesota 9.06 11.77% 4.02% 0.83% 0.10% 1 in 17,100 1 in 723k N/A N/A 0.01% 0.08% 6.97%
Indiana 8.92 10.47% 3.42% 0.68% 0.07% 1 in 25,300 1 in 1.29M N/A N/A <0.01% 0.05% 5.83%
Illinois 7.21 1.44% 0.27% 0.03% 1 in 42,500 1 in 1.08M 1 in 66.0M N/A N/A <0.01% 0.01% 0.81%
Nebraska 5.27 0.03% 1 in 59,300 1 in 1.76M 1 in 142M N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.02%
Purdue 5.24 0.03% 1 in 52,000 1 in 1.09M 1 in 39.4M 1 in 2.69B 1 in 461B N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% 0.02%
Northwestern 3.88 1 in 807k 1 in 30.2M 1 in 2.02B 1 in 266B 1 in 89.8T N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% <0.01%
Penn State 3.79 1 in 496k 1 in 21.1M 1 in 2.33B N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A <0.01% <0.01% <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 State 14.43 N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 3.99T 1 in 17.1B 1 in 185M 1 in 3.78M 1 in 131k 0.01% 0.16%
Wisconsin 14.39 N/A N/A N/A 1 in 14.9T 1 in 60.7B 1 in 670M 1 in 14.6M 1 in 543k 1 in 31,600 0.04% 0.29%
Iowa 13.03 N/A N/A N/A 1 in 3.71B 1 in 40.5M 1 in 1.11M 1 in 55,400 0.02% 0.18% 1.00% 3.85%
Ohio State 12.22 N/A N/A 1 in 215B 1 in 1.21B 1 in 17.6M 1 in 493k 1 in 24,000 0.05% 0.43% 2.28% 8.00%
Michigan 10.56 N/A N/A N/A N/A 1 in 242k 0.02% 0.22% 1.58% 6.42% 15.80% 24.63%
Minnesota 9.06 N/A N/A 1 in 917k 1 in 20,200 0.08% 0.71% 3.47% 10.54% 20.54% 26.14% 21.79%
Indiana 8.92 N/A N/A 1 in 454k 1 in 12,000 0.12% 0.95% 4.28% 12.01% 21.74% 25.89% 20.36%
Illinois 7.21 N/A N/A 0.02% 0.38% 2.75% 9.74% 19.85% 25.57% 21.92% 12.84% 5.19%
Nebraska 5.27 0.02% 0.37% 2.47% 8.86% 19.00% 25.81% 22.94% 13.54% 5.33% 1.39% 0.24%
Purdue 5.24 N/A 0.17% 2.05% 8.98% 20.19% 26.84% 22.72% 12.74% 4.82% 1.24% 0.22%
Northwestern 3.88 N/A 2.24% 11.90% 25.78% 29.59% 19.81% 8.15% 2.13% 0.36% 0.04% 1 in 35,900
Penn State 3.79 0.40% 3.71% 13.47% 25.25% 27.53% 18.64% 8.15% 2.35% 0.45% 0.06% 1 in 22,800

Still a virtual dead heat between Michigan State and Wisconsin, but here MSU has the slight edge. Iowa and Ohio State are a clearer second tier here ahead of Michigan, only 1.5-2 games behind the top two instead of 2.5-3. Illinois looks like a longer shot to make the tournament, and Northwestern is keeping Penn State company in the basement.

Michigan State's Remaining Games

In schedule order (basic win % / margin-aware win % / projected margin):

@ Northwestern: 86% / 92% / +12.5
@ Illinois: 64% / 70% / +4
Indiana: 88% / 94% / +14
Michigan: 84% / 90% / +11.5
@ Iowa: 47% / 32% / -4
Penn State: 95% / 98% / +18.5
@ Wisconsin: 28% / 23% / -6
Northwestern: 96% / 98.9% / +22.5
Nebraska: 94% / 97% / +18.5
@ Purdue: 76% / 86% / +9
@ Michigan: 58% / 57% / +1.5
Illinois: 87% / 94% / +14
Iowa: 76% / 77% / +6
@ Ohio State: 47% / 33% / -3.5

Margin-aware has us double-digit favorites in seven of the remaining 14 games (@ Northwestern and all the home games except Iowa), moderate favorites in three more (Iowa, @ Illinois, @ Purdue), one toss-up/slight favorite (@ Michigan), and three games as slight-to-moderate underdogs (@ Ohio State, @ Iowa, @ Wisconsin). A record of 15-3 will probably be enough to win the conference; that can be achieved by winning all of the "easy" games, going 3-1 in the home game against Iowa and the three mid-level road games, and stealing one of the big three on the road.

In This Article

Topics
Teams
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Only Colors

You must be a member of The Only Colors to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Only Colors. You should read them.

Join The Only Colors

You must be a member of The Only Colors to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Only Colors. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker