clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Projecting the 2015 Big Ten Basketball Race: February 17

New, comments

A little more separation is beginning to appear between the top 6 and the lower middle pack.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Weekend Results

You know the drill. Bold is an upset (less than 50% chance of winning based on the Thursday night ratings update); italic is a road win.

Michigan State 59, Ohio State 56 (60%)
Maryland 76, Penn State 73 (61%)
Wisconsin 68, Illinois 49 (94.5%)
Northwestern 66, Iowa 61 (OT) (31%)
Purdue 66, Nebraska 54 (81%)
Indiana 90, Minnesota 71 (69%)

At this time last week, Iowa was sitting pretty. Losing to Minnesota is kind of understandable; they're not nearly as bad as their conference record. (Doing it at home hurts a bit more, though.) Losing to Northwestern is quite a bit less excusable. They're still solidly in the discussion, but they've destroyed a large part of their margin for error in the past week.

Everything else held to form, albeit in Maryland's case with the help of one of the most absurd calls I have ever seen from a referee. It's one thing when the action is subtle or the timing is such that it's hard to tell whether the defender is set or not on a block/charge call; referees are human and expecting perfection on close calls is unrealistic. It's another matter when the defender grabs a player who isn't even looking his way, trips over his own feet, pulls the offensive player down, and somehow draws a foul on the play instead of being called for one.

Conference Projections

Projections are based on ratings through Sunday's games. Margin-aware ratings are available here; no-margin ratings are here. Differences from Friday'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. I'll plan on giving a little bit of a tiebreaker rundown either this weekend or next week; the transition to the giant scenario grids probably won't be until the final week.

Team Current Avg wins Outright Shared Top 4 Middle 6 Bottom 4 10+ Wins BUBBLECON
Wisconsin 11-1 15.78 (+0.12) 96.26% (+0.82%) 99.53% (+0.29%) 99.98% (+0.01%) 0.02% (-0.01%) Yes 5
Maryland 9-4 12.57 (+0.42) 0.39% (=) 3.41% (+0.64%) 90.26% (+10.69%) 9.74% (-10.69%) <0.01% 1860-to-1 fav 5
Indiana (+1) 8-5 11.54 (+0.39) <0.01% 0.13% (-0.03%) 57.05% (+11.65%) 42.95% (-11.60%) <0.01% 97.33% (+4.95%) 4
Ohio State (-1) 8-5 11.51 (-0.45) <0.01% 0.24% (-1.78%) 56.64% (-15.63%) 43.36% (+15.64%) <0.01% 98.18% (-0.87%) 5
Purdue 9-4 11.21 (+0.24) <0.01% 0.10% (-0.02%) 39.87% (+5.40%) 60.13% (-5.38%) <0.01% 98.70% (+4.07%) 3
Michigan State 8-4 11.17 (+0.45) 0.03% (=) 0.36% (+0.05%) 41.75% (+10.99%) 58.24% (-10.85%) 0.01% (-0.14%) 94.35% (+9.11%) 4 (+1)
Iowa 6-6 9.87 (-0.82) <0.01% <0.01% 7.53% (-20.54%) 92.18% (+20.40%) 0.29% (+0.15%) 64.96% (-20.86%) 3
Illinois 7-6 9.80 (-0.10) <0.01% <0.01% 6.72% (-2.47%) 93.03% (+2.64%) 0.25% (-0.17%) 62.56% (-3.43%) 3
Michigan 6-7 8.15 (-0.04) <0.01% 0.20% (-0.05%) 95.07% (+3.07%) 4.72% (-3.02%) 7.98% (-0.52%) 1
Minnesota 5-8 7.19 (-0.43) <0.01% 78.99% (-1.89%) 21.01% (+1.92%) 1 in 500 2
Nebraska 5-8 6.17 (-0.20) <0.01% 22.55% (-0.42%) 77.45% (+0.43%) 1 in 4100 1
Penn State 3-10 4.58 (-0.39) 3.02% (-1.51%) 96.98% (+1.51%) 1
Northwestern 2-10 3.75 (+0.81) 0.71% (+0.58%) 99.29% (-0.58%) 1
Rutgers 2-11 2.70 (-0.02) 0.01% (=) 99.99% (=) 1

We have our first official top-4 and bottom-4 eliminations, as Wisconsin's 11th win guarantees that (even if they lose all remaining games and all tiebreakers, and given that they've already beaten Michigan I don't even think that's possible) they can finish no worse than 9th place. Similarly, with Michigan State and Indiana yet to play, one of them must reach nine wins, which eliminates the three teams with 10 or more losses from finishing in the top 4.

Maryland projects a game ahead in the race for second, but the remaining two double-byes are totally up for grabs among four teams. Iowa and Illinois are on the fringe of that race and sitting squarely on the bubble. Michigan is nearly sure to start on Thursday, and the last Thursday starting spot is likely to go to Minnesota, although Nebraska is also in contention.

Ohio State remaining at BUBBLECON 5 with Indiana at 4 seems a little incongruous, but both are really on the border and I decided against moving either. Ohio State does have a better chance of reaching 10 wins, though Indiana is more likely to run the table (as will be seen in the later tables). Those two swapping places is the only change in the projected standings over the weekend.

Projections by record:

Team 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1
Wisconsin 1 in 50,600 0.08% 1.14% 7.79% 26.12% 40.98% 23.89%

Team 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4
Maryland 0.05% 1.22% 9.79% 33.01% 42.22% 13.71%
Indiana 0.19% 2.48% 12.40% 30.54% 36.91% 17.48%
Ohio State 0.08% 1.74% 12.00% 33.56% 38.72% 13.89%
Purdue 1.30% 18.34% 45.46% 27.96% 6.44% 0.50%
Michigan State 0.47% 5.18% 20.44% 35.71% 28.36% 9.15% 0.70%

Team 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6
Iowa 0.03% 0.92% 7.90% 26.19% 37.43% 22.90% 4.63%
Illinois 0.55% 7.32% 29.57% 39.61% 19.71% 3.25%
Michigan 2.75% 22.69% 39.71% 26.88% 7.38% 0.61%
Minnesota 1.25% 15.75% 50.79% 27.29% 4.71% 0.20%
Nebraska 23.99% 42.99% 25.92% 6.41% 0.67% 0.02%

Team 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10
Penn State 13.28% 35.39% 34.08% 14.44% 2.64% 0.17%
Northwestern 9.95% 31.96% 36.21% 17.59% 3.87% 0.39% 0.01%
Rutgers 46.56% 39.09% 12.38% 1.84% 0.13% 1 in 30,000

This Week's Games (Midweek Only)

All times ET.

Tuesday, February 17

Michigan State at Michigan (9:00, ESPN): Michigan State 62% (+2.5 projected margin)

A Michigan State win would put us at 9-4 and in excellent shape to make the tournament; Michigan has to run the table and pick up at least one win in the Big Ten tournament to have any realistic at-large hopes.

Wednesday, February 18

Wisconsin at Penn State (7:00, BTN): Wisconsin 88% (+11)
Northwestern at Minnesota (9:00, BTN): Minnesota 89% (+11.5)

If Northwestern wants to make a run at a Thursday start in the Big Ten tournament, this would be a fine place to do it, as it helps bring down one of the teams near them as well. Minnesota could conceivably sneak into the tournament picture if they win at least four of their last five regular-season games. For Wisconsin, the main stakes are not whether they win the Big Ten but whether they can equal '09 MSU's four-game margin.

Thursday, February 19

Purdue at Indiana (7:00, ESPN): Indiana 75% (+6)
Nebraska at Maryland (7:00, BTN): Maryland 89.6% (+12)
Rutgers at Iowa (8:00, ESPNU): Iowa 92.9% (+14.5)

The Hoosier State showdown has even higher stakes than usual. Indiana can all but wrap up a bid with a win at home (probably needing only one more win, maybe two), while Purdue (thanks to a terrible stretch in non-conference) likely needs at least three wins in their remaining games to feel at all confident of their chances. Maryland is probably safe if they can pick up even one more win. Iowa needs to right the ship quickly if they're going to claim a bid; the good news is, at least in the Big Ten, there's nothing that cures what ails you more effectively than playing Rutgers.

Midweek Byes

Illinois and Ohio State are idle until the weekend.