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Projecting the 2015 Big Ten Basketball Race: February 10

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And you thought the race for second was chaotic last week.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week's Games

Bold indicates an upset (meaning less than 50% chance of winning based on ratings through the previous Sunday); italic indicates a road win.

February 3-5

Wisconsin 92, Indiana 78 (92.7%)
Nebraska 76, Northwestern 60 (78%)
Illinois 66, Rutgers 54 (89%)
Purdue 60, Ohio State 58 (44%)
Maryland 64, Penn State 58 (90.5%)
Iowa 72, Michigan 54 (41%)

February 7-8

Illinois 59, Michigan State 54 (14%)
Minnesota 62, Purdue 58 (75%)
Penn State 56, Nebraska 43 (71%)
Wisconsin 65, Northwestern 50 (98.2%)
Indiana 70, Michigan 67 (82%)
Iowa 71, Maryland 55 (53%)
Ohio State 79, Rutgers 60 (83%)

Two marginal upsets in tossup games, one major surprise, and three expected road losses, and all of the teams that sat at three losses last week now have four - and Iowa joins the group by winning twice. Tiebreakers are going to be crazy at this rate.

Conference Projections

Projections are based on ratings through Sunday's games. Margin-aware ratings are available here; no-margin ratings are here. Differences from last week's projections are included. Conference titles and tiered finishes are based on 100,000 simulations of the remainder of the season (ties for the various tiers are given split credit to each team rather than breaking the tie); records are based on individual game projections.

Team Current Avg wins Outright Shared Top 4 Middle 6 Bottom 4 10+ Wins BUBBLECON
Wisconsin 9-1 15.58 (+0.25) 94.57% (+10.00%) 99.00% (+4.07%) 99.94% (+0.15%) 0.06% (-0.15%) <0.01% 8.41 M-to-1 fav 5
Maryland 7-4 11.91 (-0.57) 0.35% (-1.97%) 2.59% (-6.00%) 70.43% (-10.82%) 29.56% (+10.82%) 0.01% (=) 98.25% (-0.72%) 5
Ohio State 7-4 11.84 (-0.31) 0.27% (-1.05%) 2.16% (-3.68%) 67.61% (-5.12%) 32.39% (+5.13%) 0.01% (=) 98.28% (+0.16%) 5
Iowa (+3) 6-4 11.53 (+1.50) 0.09% (+0.08%) 0.91% (+0.74%) 56.63% (+40.39%) 43.34% (-38.97%) 0.03% (-1.42%) 95.39% (+30.44%) 4 (+1)
Indiana 7-4 11.36 (+0.04) 0.08% (-0.17%) 0.74% (-0.66%) 50.77% (+2.10%) 49.20% (-2.06%) 0.04% (-0.02%) 93.63% (+1.40%) 4
Purdue 7-4 10.59 (+0.39) 0.01% (-0.01%) 0.10% (-0.05%) 23.99% (+6.46%) 75.93% (-6.12%) 0.08% (-0.34%) 85.36% (+13.63%) 3 (+1)
Michigan State (-3) 6-4 10.38 (-1.19) 0.02% (-0.44%) 0.22% (-2.10%) 22.99% (-33.16%) 76.66% (+32.85%) 0.35% (+0.31%) 76.41% (-18.15%) 3 (-1)
Illinois (+1) 6-5 9.63 (+1.20) <0.01% 0.01% (+0.01%) 6.76% (+5.55%) 92.43% (+0.24%) 0.81% (-5.80%) 55.72% (+38.09%) 3 (+1)
Michigan (-1) 6-6 8.45 (-0.86) <0.01% <0.01% 0.88% (-5.49%) 94.71% (+2.46%) 4.41% (+3.03%) 15.53% (-27.41%) 2 (-1)
Minnesota (+1) 4-7 6.78 (+0.23) <0.01% <0.01% 0.01% (=) 55.42% (+7.38%) 44.57% (-7.38%) 1 in 200 1
Nebraska (-1) 5-6 6.51 (-0.12) <0.01% <0.01% 0.01% (-0.04%) 40.57% (-9.38%) 59.42% (+9.41%) 1 in 250 1
Penn State 3-8 5.08 (+0.25) <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 8.99% (+0.07%) 91.01% (-0.07%) 1 in 15,300 1
Northwestern 1-9 3.28 (-0.45) <0.01% <0.01% 0.63% (-1.74%)
99.37% (+1.74%)
1
Rutgers 2-10 3.08 (-0.37) <0.01% 0.10% (-0.54%) 99.90% (+0.54%) 1

It's Wisconsin and a massive battle for second. Maryland and Ohio State, by virtue of reasonably solid non-conference resumes (Ohio State lacks for great wins but they have plenty of vaguely decent ones that won't drag the RPI down), seem like pretty safe bets to make the tournament as well. Iowa and Indiana are close but the case for them sliding out seems a little more plausible; I'd put them in the 90-95% range rather than the 99% for Maryland and OSU.

Of the three true bubble teams, I do think MSU has the best chance of the three - Purdue dug a massive hole in non-conference, and Illinois didn't really do much of note either. I'd put MSU's chances around 70%, with the magic number being five more wins (whether that's an 11-7 conference finish, 10-8 avoiding a disaster in the Thursday round, or 9-9 and making a run to the semifinals; the last of those is a little bit tenuous). Purdue and Illinois are both around 50-50. Michigan took a huge hit to their chances with two losses this week; I'd guess their chances are in the 5-10% range.

Projections by record, now split into groups:

Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1
Wisconsin 1 in 8.41 M 1 in 125,000 0.02% 0.31% 2.48% 11.42% 29.17% 37.67% 18.92%

Team 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4
Maryland 1 in 17,800 0.15% 1.59% 8.40% 23.69% 35.12% 24.87% 6.16%
Ohio State 1 in 26,100 0.13% 1.59% 9.18% 25.75% 35.53% 22.55% 5.26%
Iowa 1 in 96,700 0.04% 0.59% 3.98% 14.26% 28.52% 31.42% 17.47% 3.71%
Indiana 0.07% 0.92% 5.38% 16.82% 29.97% 29.83% 14.64% 2.37%
Purdue 0.11% 2.10% 12.43% 31.40% 35.19% 15.67% 2.91% 0.19%
Michigan State 0.06% 0.94% 5.56% 17.03% 29.29% 28.49% 14.87% 3.54% 0.22%
Illinois 0.11% 1.86% 11.47% 30.84% 35.71% 16.93% 2.97% 0.11%
Michigan 1.81% 16.50% 35.05% 31.12% 12.95% 2.42% 0.16%

Team 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6
Minnesota 0.56% 8.14% 32.37% 36.19% 17.91% 4.33% 0.48% 0.02%
Nebraska 16.59% 36.33% 30.72% 12.97% 2.98% 0.38% 0.02% 1 in 155,000

Team 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8
Penn State 7.28% 24.77% 33.73% 23.44% 8.83% 1.77% 0.17% 1 in 15,300
Northwestern 5.33% 20.92% 32.61% 26.10% 11.66% 2.95% 0.41% 0.03% 1 in 125,000
Rutgers 29.22% 41.57% 22.49% 5.89% 0.78% 0.05% 1 in 83,800

This Week's Games

All times ET.

Tuesday, February 10

Michigan State at Northwestern (7:00, BTN): Michigan State 72% (+5.5 projected margin)
Wisconsin at Nebraska (9:00, ESPN): Wisconsin 88% (+11)

Wednesday, February 11

Penn State at Ohio State (7:00, BTN): Ohio State 90.9% (+12.5)
Indiana at Maryland (9:00, BTN): Maryland 77% (+6.5)

Thursday, February 12

Minnesota at Iowa (7:00, BTN): Iowa 75% (+6)
Purdue at Rutgers (7:00, ESPNU): Purdue 66% (+3.5)
Michigan at Illinois (9:00, ESPN): Illinois 79% (+7)

Saturday, February 14

Ohio State at Michigan State (Noon, ESPN): Michigan State 60% (+2)
Maryland at Penn State (8:30, BTN): Maryland 60% (+2)

Sunday, February 15

Illinois at Wisconsin (1:00, CBS): Wisconsin 95.1% (+16)
Iowa at Northwestern (3:00, BTN): Iowa 70% (+4.5)
Nebraska at Purdue (5:15, BTN): Purdue 79% (+7)
Minnesota at Indiana (7:30, BTN): Indiana 71% (+5)

Weekend byes: Michigan, Rutgers

With so many teams fighting for bubble positioning and for the free passes to the quarterfinals in the Big Ten tournament, almost every game this week is important.