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2015 Big Ten Tournament Seeding Scenarios: March 2 (Updated)

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Wisconsin has locked up a bye, but the other three are still up for grabs among six teams. See how each one can get there. Now updated with seeding percentages.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The full breakdown for the week with percentages for each seed will be up later, but I wanted to get the tiebreaker analysis done first. As a reminder, the first two tiebreakers are:

1) Head-to-head winning percentage among all tied teams.
2) Winning percentage against each team or group of tied teams in the standings, from top to bottom.

Furthermore, the tiebreakers do not reset to the beginning if a team is eliminated (that is, if two teams are equal in head-to-head in a larger tie, their head-to-head results do not count separately from the group).

At the Top

Wisconsin has clinched a share of the title, and will win outright with a win or a Maryland loss in their last two games. However, Maryland owns the tiebreaker for the 1 seed if they share the title.

Maryland also owns the tiebreaker over Purdue in a two-way tie. Maryland only needs a win to wrap up the 2 seed, but if they lose both (which they won't, because it's Nebraska and Rutgers), they could drop to the 5 seed if Purdue wins at least one, MSU loses at least one, and Ohio State and Iowa both win twice.

At the Bottom

Rutgers and Penn State are both locked into the bottom four. Should they tie, Rutgers holds the advantage because of their win over Wisconsin (the two teams split head-to-head). If Penn State manages to win twice, they own the tiebreaker over Nebraska but lose to Northwestern. Nebraska wins over Northwestern if those two are tied. In the event of a three-way tie, head-to-head is even at 1-1 apiece, so the second tiebreaker will apply and will depend on the standings near the top. None beat Wisconsin, Maryland, or Purdue, but each of the next five lost to exactly one of these three (or will have lost to one if the three-way tie comes to pass): MSU and Illinois to Nebraska, Indiana and Iowa to Northwestern, and OSU to Penn State. (This tie can't happen if Nebraska beats Maryland, so that possibility can be ignored.)

The Race for the Double Byes

I've split the tables here into three different versions: one which assumes Maryland wins twice, one which assumes they split (since they're playing Nebraska and Rutgers, which of the two they win doesn't affect any of the tiebreakers - everything is settled before it gets that far), and one which assumes they lose twice. The table only includes teams which finish with at least 10 wins; those who finish with 9 or fewer drop down into the next table. (That's why the 7 and 8 seed columns are blank in some places.) Click for full size (each one is about half a MB).


Seeding scenarios as of March 2, assuming Maryland wins last two


Seeding scenarios as of March 2, assuming Maryland splits last two


Seeding scenarios as of March 2, assuming Maryland loses last two

Maryland, MSU, and Purdue all control their own destiny for the double-bye. Iowa very nearly does as well, Ohio State has a decent number of ways to get there, and Indiana still has some hope. The minimum requirement for the bye is 11 wins: Indiana will get there unless they lose a game, but if they do either Iowa or MSU must get there instead.

The Race to Not Play Wednesday

This table includes all teams finishing with a record between 6-12 and 9-9. I was expecting to do multiple versions based on Indiana's record, much like Maryland's in the previous set, but it turns out that Indiana's presence does not affect any other tiebreakers. If Indiana loses twice, they are at the position indicated in this table; if they win at least one, ignore this table and look at the top group to find them. Penn State and Northwestern can fall off the bottom of this table by losing both, and Illinois can escape it by winning both.


Seeding scenarios for the lower group as of March 2

Possible Seeds

Team With 2-0 With 1-1 With 0-2
Wisconsin 1 1 1-2
Maryland 1-2 2 2-5
Purdue 2-3 3-5 4-6
Michigan State 3-4 3-6 5-8
Iowa 2-5 4-7 5-7
Ohio State 2-6 4-7 6-8
Indiana 4-6 5-7 7-8
Illinois 7-8 8 8-10
Michigan 8-9 8-9 9-11
Minnesota 8-10 10-12 10-12
Nebraska 10-11 10-12 11-13
Northwestern 9-12 10-12 11-13
Penn State 11-13 13-14 13-14
Rutgers 13-14 13-14 14

Update: Odds By Seed

These odds are based on my margin-aware ratings, available here and updated through Sunday's games.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Wisconsin 94.59% 5.41%
Maryland 5.41% 92.99% 1.00% 0.37% 0.23%
Purdue 0.75% 41.85% 34.83% 16.52% 6.05%
Iowa 0.41% 8.21% 26.21%* 24.27%* 27.63% 12.79%
Ohio State 0.44% 9.26% 10.91% 13.95% 44.50% 20.89% 0.04%
Michigan State 39.68% 22.39% 17.56% 11.10% 7.94% 1.34%
Indiana 4.82%* 26.99%* 10.72% 53.02% 3.98%
Illinois 5.36% 88.17%

* Iowa and Indiana have a 0.48% chance of tying for the 4 and 5 seeds in a manner that depends on results not included in the upper half scenario tables. This percentage is not included in either the 4 or 5 scenario for either team.

Team 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Illinois 88.66% 3.73% 2.25%
Michigan 5.78% 91.88%* 1.39%* *
Minnesota 0.20% 3.62% 77.50%* 10.29%* 3.78%*
Northwestern * 9.51%* 33.38%* 55.05%* *
Nebraska 4.04%* 50.43%* 37.75%* 2.06%*
Penn State * 2.06%* 80.50%* 16.34%
Rutgers 16.34% 83.66%

* Unresolved ties for these spots are also possible. Northwestern and Michigan have possible unresolved ties for the 9 and 10 seeds (0.77%) or 10 and 11 (0.18%). Nebraska and Minnesota have possible unresolved ties for the 10 and 11 seeds (4.36%) or 11 and 12 (0.26%). The possibility of an unresolved three-way tie for the 11, 12, and 13 seeds exists between Northwestern, Nebraska, and Penn State (1.10%).

Remaining Schedule

All times ET.

Tuesday, March 3

Iowa at Indiana (7:00, ESPN): Indiana 62% (+3 projected margin)
Maryland at Rutgers (7:00, BTN): Maryland 84% (+9.5)
Michigan at Northwestern (9:00, BTN): Northwestern 60% (+2.5)

Wednesday, March 4

Ohio State at Penn State (6:00, BTN): Ohio State 70% (+4.5)
Purdue at Michigan State (8:00, BTN): Michigan State 78% (+7)
Nebraska at Illinois (10:00, BTN): Illinois 82% (+8.5)

Thursday, March 5

Wisconsin at Minnesota (7:00, ESPN): Wisconsin 77% (+6.5)

Saturday, March 7

Michigan State at Indiana (Noon, ESPN): Indiana 56% (+1.5)
Northwestern at Iowa (Noon, BTN): Iowa 88% (+11)
Rutgers at Michigan (2:15, BTN): Michigan 86% (+10.5)
Illinois at Purdue (4:30, BTN): Purdue 71% (+5)

Sunday, March 8

Penn State at Minnesota (1:00, BTN): Minnesota 82% (+8.5)
Wisconsin at Ohio State (4:30, CBS): Wisconsin 61% (+2.5)
Maryland at Nebraska (7:30, BTN): Maryland 70% (+5)