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Projecting the 2015 Big Ten Basketball Race: January 13

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The title race gets a little more interesting, and Rutgers climbs out of the basement.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week's Games

Bold indicates an upset (based on last week's win probability projections), italic indicates a road win.

January 7-8

(January 6 got included in last week's post.)

Wisconsin 62, Purdue 55 (97.8% probability according to last week's projections)
Illinois 64, Maryland 57 (35%)
Michigan State 75, Iowa 61 (33%)
Nebraska 65, Rutgers 49 (83%)

January 10-11

Indiana 69, Ohio State 66 (65%)
Michigan 62, Minnesota 57 (46%)
Maryland 69, Purdue 60 (71%)
Michigan State 84, Northwestern 77 (OT) (93.5%)
Rutgers 67, Wisconsin 62 (7.5%)
Nebraska 53, Illinois 43 (64%)

The odds were always against Wisconsin running the table in conference play. But I don't think anyone expected Rutgers to be the one to trip them up - even with Frank Kaminsky sitting out with concussion-like symptoms. And now Traevon Jackson is out for six weeks with a broken foot. (As always, injuries aren't factored into the projections; you'd need far more detailed tracking of 350 teams than I'm willing to do to even attempt it.)

Conference Projections

Projections are based on ratings through Sunday's games. Margin-aware ratings with preseason adjustment are available here; other versions of the ratings, without considering margin and/or without any previous-season bias, are also available. The preseason adjustment has very little impact on major-conference teams at this point; it's mostly significant for very low-end Division 1 teams who have played a significant number of non-D1 opponents (which are not counted in the ratings at all). Differences from last week are also included. Conference titles and tiered finishes are based on 100,000 simulations of the remainder of the season; records are based on individual game projections.

Team Avg wins Outright Shared Top 4 Middle 6 Bottom 4
Wisconsin 14.14 (-1.67)
37.73% (-30.28%)
58.68% (-24.71%)
97.69% (-2.20%)
2.31% (+2.20%)
<0.01% (=)
Maryland 13.87 (-0.33)
29.68% (+14.71%)
49.71% (+20.48%)
96.28% (-0.93%)
3.72% (+0.93%)
<0.01% (=)
Michigan State (+1)
12.25 (+1.58)
4.74% (+4.63%)
12.68% (+12.10%)
79.25% (+35.48%)
20.70% (-34.42%)
0.06% (-1.06%)
Ohio State (-1)
11.41 (-0.14)
1.93% (+1.22%)
6.22% (+3.68%)
60.18% (-4.68%)
39.40% (+4.57%)
0.42% (+0.10%)
Indiana (+1)
10.34 (+0.04)
0.45% (+0.38%)
1.80% (+1.40%)
32.16% (-3.52%)
66.10% (+3.56%)
1.75% (-0.03%)
Iowa (-1)
9.51 (-0.90)
0.21% (=)
0.87% (=)
17.28% (-20.61%)
76.81% (+16.54%)
5.91% (+4.07%)
Illinois (+1)
8.67 (+0.51)
<0.01% (=)
0.06% (+0.05%)
6.13% (+0.90%)
82.93% (+5.16%)
10.94% (-6.06%)
Michigan (+2)
8.59 (+1.22)
0.02% (+0.02%)
0.10% (+0.10%)
6.55% (+4.56%)
81.90% (+14.12%)
11.55% (-18.68%)
Minnesota (-2)
7.91 (-0.86)
<0.01% (=)
0.01% (-0.01%)
2.21% (-6.40%)
76.76% (-5.99%)
21.03% (+12.38%)
Purdue (-1)
7.45 (-0.45)
<0.01% (=)
0.01% (=)
1.90% (-2.58%)
65.49% (-9.20%)
32.61% (+11.77%)
Nebraska (+2)
6.13 (+0.81)
<0.01% (=)
<0.01% (=)
0.21% (+0.12%)
33.53% (+11.97%)
66.26% (-12.09%)
Northwestern (-1)
5.43 (-0.16)
<0.01% (=)
<0.01% (=)
0.09% (-0.08%)
20.20% (-6.55%)
79.71% (+6.63%)
Rutgers (+1)
5.28 (+0.83)
<0.01% (=)
<0.01% (=)
0.05% (+0.03%)
16.20% (+7.19%)
83.75% (-7.22%)
Penn State (-2)
5.02 (-0.48)
<0.01% (=)
<0.01% (=)
0.03% (-0.08%)
13.97% (-10.09%)
86.00% (+10.17%)

The Wisconsin loss at Rutgers brings them crashing back to the pack; they're still the favorite but Maryland isn't far behind and the chances for Michigan State and Ohio State improved significantly. While everyone outside the top 2 moved at least one spot, nobody moved out of the top 4 or bottom 4, although probabilities shifted substantially in some cases (most notably for Michigan State ending in the top 4, largely at the expense of Iowa after the road win). Down at the bottom, Rutgers's upset victory pulls them out of last place for the moment; taking their place is Penn State.

Projections by record:

Team 0-18 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10
Wisconsin 1 in 2.10 T 1 in 13.2 B 1 in 197 M 1 in 5.31 M 1 in 229,000 1 in 15,000
Maryland 1 in 574 B 1 in 3.96 B 1 in 64.2 M 1 in 1.86 M 1 in 87,200 0.02%
Michigan State 1 in 288 M 1 in 4.47 M 1 in 161,000 1 in 10,300 0.10% 0.63%
Ohio State 1 in 180 M 1 in 3.06 M 1 in 120,000 0.01% 0.11% 0.66% 2.73%
Indiana 1 in 6.42 M 1 in 156,000 0.01% 0.11% 0.71% 3.00% 8.60%
Iowa 1 in 437,000 1 in 13,600 0.10% 0.67% 2.89% 8.17% 15.96%
Illinois 1 in 2.18 M 1 in 57,800 0.03% 0.26% 1.49% 5.63% 14.12% 23.54%
Michigan 0.01% 0.20% 1.57% 6.47% 15.78% 24.29%
Minnesota 1 in 7.93 M 1 in 170,000 0.01% 0.13% 0.91% 4.03% 11.66% 21.98% 26.68%
Purdue 0.03% 0.38% 2.35% 8.03% 17.07% 24.00% 23.01%
Nebraska 0.27% 2.75% 10.48% 21.21% 26.20% 21.24% 11.78%
Northwestern 0.24% 2.12% 8.09% 17.69% 24.64% 23.03% 14.85% 6.69%
Rutgers 1.50% 8.56% 20.44% 27.23% 22.79% 12.78% 4.99%
Penn State 0.05% 0.70% 3.84% 11.55% 21.28% 25.44% 20.38% 11.17% 4.24%

Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 18-0
Wisconsin 0.07% 0.50% 2.46% 8.34% 19.06% 28.37% 25.84% 12.79% 2.57%
Maryland 0.15% 0.91% 3.88% 11.22% 21.86% 27.96% 22.26% 9.90% 1.86%
Michigan State 2.79% 8.53% 17.93% 25.60% 24.17% 14.38% 4.97% 0.86% 0.06%
Ohio State 7.94% 16.30% 23.59% 23.73% 16.10% 6.95% 1.69% 0.17%
Indiana 17.14% 23.84% 22.97% 15.06% 6.51% 1.75% 0.27% 0.02% 1 in 156,000
Iowa 22.11% 22.06% 15.92% 8.25% 3.01% 0.74% 0.12% 1 in 10,100 1 in 314,000
Illinois 25.82% 18.33% 8.19% 2.21% 0.34% 0.03% 1 in 150,000
Michigan 24.54% 16.63% 7.61% 2.35% 0.48% 0.06% 1 in 19,600 1 in 445,000 1 in 24.3 M
Minnesota 20.74% 10.19% 3.08% 0.54% 0.05% 1 in 64,000
Purdue 15.28% 7.05% 2.24% 0.48% 0.07% 1 in 16,400 1 in 332,000 1 in 15.9 M
Nebraska 4.57% 1.24% 0.24% 0.03% 1 in 37,500 1 in 708,000 1 in 24.6 M 1 in 2.10 B
Northwestern 2.11% 0.47% 0.07% 1 in 13,800 1 in 210,000 1 in 5.35 M 1 in 263 M 1 in 33.3 B
Rutgers 1.39% 0.28% 0.04% 1 in 25,100 1 in 366,000 1 in 8.30 M 1 in 331 M 1 in 31.4 B
Penn State 1.12% 0.20% 0.03% 1 in 47,200 1 in 905,000 1 in 30.8 M 1 in 2.46 B

Probabilities of 10+ conference wins:

Wisconsin: 1300-to-1 favorite (down from 127,000-to-1)
Maryland: 580-to-1 favorite (unchanged)
Michigan State: 96.5% (+19.8%)
Ohio State: 88.5% (-0.7%)
Indiana: 70.4% (+1.3%)
Iowa: 50.1% (-19.9%)
Illinois: 29.1% (+8.5%)
Michigan: 27.1% (+18.3%)
Minnesota: 13.9% (-17.8%)
Purdue: 9.8% (-6.8%)
Nebraska: 1.5% (+1.0%)
Northwestern: 180-to-1 underdog (down from 125-to-1)
Rutgers: 310-to-1 underdog (up from 1100-to-1)
Penn State: 430-to-1 underdog (down from 170-to-1)

At this point, Wisconsin and Maryland are near locks to make the tournament, Michigan State is in excellent shape, Ohio State is likely to make it, and Indiana and Iowa are probably on the positive side of the bubble for the moment. Illinois and Michigan are not completely out of the running but probably need to do better than expected over the next couple months.

This Week's Games

All times ET.

Tuesday, January 13

Penn State at Indiana (7:00, BTN): Indiana 87% (+10.5 projected margin)
Michigan at Ohio State (7:00, ESPN): Ohio State 90.0% (+12)
Iowa at Minnesota (9:00, BTN): Minnesota 74% (+5.5)

Wednesday, January 14

Rutgers at Maryland (7:00, BTN): Maryland 96.9% (+18.5)
Illinois at Northwestern (9:00, BTN): Illinois 50.7% (<1 point)

Thursday, January 15

Nebraska at Wisconsin (9:00, ESPN2): Wisconsin 96.6% (+18)

Midweek byes: Michigan State, Purdue

Saturday, January 17

Rutgers at Minnesota (Noon, BTN): Minnesota 90.7% (+12.5)
Purdue at Penn State (1:00, ESPNU): Penn State 70% (+4.5)
Ohio State at Iowa (2:00, ESPN): Iowa 58% (+2)
Michigan State at Maryland (4:00, CBS): Maryland 80% (+7.5)
Northwestern at Michigan (8:15, BTN): Michigan 84% (+9)

Sunday, January 18

Indiana at Illinois (1:00, BTN): Illinois 66% (+3.5)

Weekend byes: Wisconsin, Nebraska