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Big Ten Basketball Projections 2016: Conference Week 3

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Illinois's upset of Purdue shakes up the top a bit, while Rutgers may have some company in the extreme depths of the Big Ten's basement.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week's Results

Games highlighted in bold are upsets (according to last week's projections); italics indicate a road win.

Midweek Games

Indiana 59, Wisconsin 58
Penn State 86, Minnesota 77
Iowa 77, Nebraska 66
Maryland 88, Rutgers 63
Ohio State 65, Northwestern 56
Purdue 87, Michigan 70
Michigan State 79, Illinois 54

Weekend Games

Maryland 63, Wisconsin 60
Northwestern 77, Minnesota 52
Nebraska 90, Rutgers 56
Michigan State 92, Penn State 65
Indiana 85, Ohio State 60
Illinois 84, Purdue 70

Not many surprises this week (Nebraska-Rutgers deserves an asterisk as an upset since Rutgers was barely favored and only because home-court advantage tends to run high through this point in the season). Wisconsin and Illinois both had chances to save their sinking profiles; Wisconsin came up just short twice, while Illinois got destroyed once and then turned around and laid a beating on Purdue.

Conference Projections

All projections are based on my margin-aware ratings, which still include a small preseason adjustment for teams who have played fewer than 15 games. Ratings without the preseason adjustment or which ignore margin are available here. Ratings are current through Sunday's games.

Summary Table

Average conference wins and 10+ win percentages are based on game-by-game projections. Championships (outright or shared) and top/middle/bottom tier finishes are based on 100,000 season simulations; ties are not broken accurately but credit is split evenly (two teams tied for fourth and fifth each get credit for half of a top 4 finish and half of a middle 6 finish). Movement in the rank order and in BUBBLECON is noted in the table.

Team Current Avg wins Outright Shared Top 4 Middle 6 Bottom 4 10+ Wins BUBBLECON
Michigan State 3-1 14.84 38.37% 61.96% 97.25% 2.75% <0.01% 14,700-to-1 fav 5
Maryland (+1)
4-0 13.97 15.56% 32.43% 88.55% 11.45% <0.01% 675-to-1 fav 5
Iowa (-1)
3-0 13.70 11.87% 26.25% 85.14% 14.86% <0.01% 340-to-1 fav 5
Indiana (+1)
4-0 12.65 3.58% 10.37% 64.29% 35.69% 0.02% 97.93% 4
Purdue (-1)
2-2 12.04 1.21% 4.85% 47.46% 52.52% 0.02% 96.37% 5
Michigan 2-1 10.13 0.15% 0.73% 12.01% 86.67% 1.32% 64.73% 3
Ohio State (+1)
3-1 9.10 0.01% 0.09% 2.87% 93.41% 3.72% 39.33% 2
Northwestern (-1)
2-2 9.08 <0.01% 0.03% 2.07% 94.95% 2.98% 37.50% 2
Illinois (+1)
1-3 7.56 <0.01% <0.01% 0.29% 79.95% 19.76% 10.11% 1
Wisconsin (-1)
1-3 6.50 <0.01% <0.01% 0.04% 57.07% 42.89% 2.28% 1
Penn State 1-3 5.75 <0.01% <0.01% 0.01% 36.89% 63.09% 1 in 140 1
Nebraska 1-3 5.62 <0.01% <0.01% 0.01% 31.94% 68.05% 1 in 270 1
Minnesota 0-4 2.96 <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 1.59% 98.41% 1 in 248,000 1
Rutgers 0-4 2.09 <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 0.26% 99.74% 1 in 16.2 M 1

Not many big shifts here; the most noteworthy at the top is Purdue falling off the pace a bit after picking up the loss at Illinois. Indiana's surge continues and they're arguably approaching BUBBLECON 5, but according to RPIForecast.com Indiana's RPI rank would be in danger territory (low-mid 60s) at even 11-7 in conference, so I can't justify putting them there just yet. (I think they'd still make it at 11-7, but they'd be a bubble team at that point, and they're not projected that far ahead of 11-7.) To get down to that range, Purdue's conference record would have to be well below .500, which is why they remain safely at 5.

For the bubble and fringe teams, Michigan and, oddly, Wisconsin (who the RPI seems to despise less than you'd expect for being 9-8 overall with only two wins over teams projected to finish in the top 100) have the best chances of getting in at 10-8. Ohio State probably needs 11-7 (although 10-8 wouldn't be totally hopeless), Northwestern certainly needs at least 11-7, and Illinois might even be in trouble there.

Projections by Record

Team 0-18 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10
Michigan State 1 in 1.31e15 1 in 3.32 T 1 in 23.3 B 1 in 318 M 1 in 7.37 M 1 in 273,000
Maryland 1 in 6.89 B 1 in 78.8 M 1 in 2.08 M 1 in 95,600 0.01%
Iowa 1 in 151 B 1 in 1.06 B 1 in 19.2 M 1 in 646,000 1 in 35,800 0.03%
Indiana 1 in 82.1 M 1 in 1.11 M 1 in 39,200 0.04% 0.32%
Purdue 1 in 39.6 B 1 in 348 M 1 in 7.09 M 1 in 255,000 1 in 14,700 0.08% 0.59%
Michigan 1 in 10.7 M 1 in 144,000 0.02% 0.19% 1.13% 4.28% 10.78%
Ohio State 1 in 73,400 0.05% 0.58% 3.29% 10.45% 20.46%
Northwestern 1 in 6.92 M 1 in 102,000 0.03% 0.32% 2.26% 9.21% 21.64%
Illinois 1 in 158,000 0.02% 0.27% 1.74% 6.59% 15.66% 24.18% 24.69%
Wisconsin 0.01% 0.25% 1.78% 6.92% 16.37% 24.79% 24.59% 16.09%
Penn State 0.10% 1.14% 5.37% 14.17% 23.35% 25.18% 18.20% 8.87%
Nebraska 0.03% 0.68% 4.82% 15.60% 26.66% 26.63% 16.62% 6.75%
Minnesota 1.51% 10.94% 25.51% 29.76% 20.35% 8.83% 2.54% 0.50% 0.07%
Rutgers 7.50% 25.43% 33.00% 22.39% 8.99% 2.28% 0.38% 0.04% 1 in 30,800

Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 18-0
Michigan State 1 in 15,600 0.07% 0.57% 2.95% 10.17% 22.90% 31.78% 24.15% 7.40%
Maryland 0.13% 0.83% 3.58% 10.54% 20.95% 27.41% 22.61% 10.95% 2.74% 0.26%
Iowa 0.26% 1.38% 5.16% 13.27% 23.19% 26.79% 19.55% 8.37% 1.84% 0.16%
Indiana 1.71% 6.04% 14.31% 23.05% 25.17% 18.28% 8.45% 2.29% 0.31% 0.02%
Purdue 2.96% 9.76% 20.79% 28.00% 23.25% 11.33% 2.93% 0.31%
Michigan 18.88% 23.42% 20.71% 12.98% 5.65% 1.64% 0.30% 0.03% 1 in 83,300
Ohio State 25.84% 21.59% 12.04% 4.46% 1.07% 0.16% 0.01% 1 in 171,000 1 in 10.0 M
Northwestern 29.05% 22.83% 10.85% 3.18% 0.57% 0.06% 1 in 27,900 1 in 1.15 M
Illinois 16.75% 7.50% 2.18% 0.40% 0.04% 1 in 43,000 1 in 2.04 M
Wisconsin 6.91% 1.91% 0.33% 0.04% 1 in 45,100 1 in 1.37 M 1 in 102 M
Penn State 2.90% 0.63% 0.09% 1 in 14,000 1 in 301,000 1 in 12.9 M 1 in 1.46 B
Nebraska 1.82% 0.33% 0.04% 1 in 35,000 1 in 805,000 1 in 36.0 M 1 in 4.24 B
Minnesota 1 in 16,200 1 in 258,000 1 in 6.28 M 1 in 247 M 1 in 17.6 B 1 in 3.04 T
Rutgers 1 in 588,000 1 in 16.6 M 1 in 716 M 1 in 50.6 B 1 in 6.79 T 1 in 2.56e15

This Week's Games

All times ET. Odds are per the margin-aware ratings.

Midweek

Wisconsin at Northwestern - Tuesday, 7:00, BTN (Northwestern 77%; projected margin +6.5)
Minnesota at Nebraska - Tuesday, 9:00, BTN (Nebraska 85%; +9.5)
Maryland at Michigan - Tuesday, 9:00, ESPN (Maryland 55%; +1)
Rutgers at Ohio State - Wednesday, 6:30, BTN (Ohio State 95.5%; +17)
Penn State at Purdue - Wednesday, 8:30, BTN (Purdue 95.7%; +17)
Iowa at Michigan State - Thursday, 7:00, ESPN (Michigan State 83%; +8.5)

Byes: Illinois, Indiana

Weekend

Ohio State at Maryland - Saturday, Noon, ESPN2 (Maryland 92.4%; +14)
Indiana at Minnesota - Saturday, 12:30, BTN (Indiana 84%; +9)
Nebraska at Illinois - Saturday, 2:30, BTN (Illinois 77%; +7)
Penn State at Northwestern - Saturday, 8:30, BTN (Northwestern 86%; +10)
Michigan State at Wisconsin - Sunday, 1:30, CBS (Michigan State 80%; +7.5)
Michigan at Iowa - Sunday, 4:30, BTN (Iowa 87%; +10.5)
Purdue at Rutgers - Monday, 7:00, BTN (Purdue 94.2%; +15.5)

Not much on the docket in the way of close games, with Maryland's trip to Crisler Arena the only one without a 75% or better favorite. That's a huge opportunity for one of the few real bubble teams in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Iowa's absurdly front-loaded conference schedule continues; four of their opening five games are against teams projected in the top six, including a pair against the favorites.