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Big Ten Basketball Projections 2016: Conference Week 2

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Iowa's big week has opened up the title race a bit more. Four teams have a viable shot at the conference championship, with Indiana lurking behind.

Brad Rempel-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

Purdue 61, Wisconsin 55
Iowa 83, Michigan State 70
Indiana 79, Rutgers 72
Michigan 78, Illinois 68
Northwestern 81, Nebraska 72
Maryland 70, Penn State 64
Ohio State 78, Minnesota 63

Weekend Games

Michigan 79, Penn State 56
Wisconsin 79, Rutgers 57
Michigan State 69, Minnesota 61
Indiana 79, Nebraska 69
Iowa 70, Purdue 63
Maryland 72, Northwestern 59
Ohio State 75, Illinois 73

Only three upsets (one of which barely qualified as such), and two are by Iowa over the teams that were projected at #1 and #2 in the conference, one on the road. That's a phenomenal week for the Hawkeyes. Good week for road teams in general, but most of those weren't upsets.

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 1-1 14.32 28.56% 50.69% 92.81% 7.19% <0.01% 1800-to-1 fav 5
Iowa (+3)
2-0 13.61 14.48% 30.26% 81.69% 18.30% <0.01% 240-to-1 fav 5 (+1)
Maryland 2-0 13.46 12.59% 27.22% 78.64% 21.36% <0.01% 160-to-1 fav 5
Purdue (-2)
1-1 13.22 9.17% 22.08% 75.10% 24.89% <0.01% 140-to-1 fav 5
Indiana (-1)
2-0 12.15 2.99% 8.90% 47.46% 52.49% 0.05% 94.73% 4 (+1)
Michigan (+1)
2-0 10.61 0.54% 2.04% 17.55% 81.92% 0.53% 74.28% 3 (+1)
Northwestern (-1)
1-1 9.67 0.03% 0.22% 4.99% 93.61% 1.40% 54.55% 2
Ohio State 2-0 8.41 0.01% 0.06% 1.55% 91.27% 7.18% 25.10% 2
Wisconsin 1-1 6.70 <0.01% <0.01% 0.11% 67.19% 32.70% 4.15% 1 (-1)
Illinois 0-2 6.29 <0.01% <0.01% 0.04% 57.18% 42.78% 2.21% 1 (-1)
Penn State 0-2 6.24 <0.01% <0.01% 0.05% 56.03% 43.91% 2.16% 1
Nebraska 0-2 4.54 <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 16.72% 83.27% 1 in 1660 1
Minnesota 0-2 3.85 <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 9.26% 90.74% 1 in 4200 1
Rutgers 0-2 2.93 <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 2.59% 97.41% 1 in 167,000 1

Iowa makes a huge leap, improving by over 2.5 games in the projection and moving all the way up to second place. They were already in pretty good shape for the tournament, but now it's a virtual certainty. Indiana is in pretty good shape too, and Michigan's looking like a plausible tournament team (still being dragged down by a number of RPI anchors, however). For Wisconsin and Illinois, 10 wins in conference almost surely isn't enough given their horrible non-conference runs, and even hitting that mark is looking increasingly unlikely.

A note on Northwestern: 10 wins in conference definitely won't be enough (barring some major work in the conference tournament) thanks to an appalling non-conference schedule. A 10-8 conference record would, according to RPIForecast.com, likely leave their RPI rank in the low 70s. Even 11-7 only gets them to around #60, and the biggest snub each year is usually a team with an RPI rank in the high 50s, a shiny record, and a 300+ non-conference SOS rank. While I can't recall any Big Ten team missing the tournament with 11 conference wins, if it was ever going to happen, this is the kind of resume that it would happen to - especially with such a sharp stratification between the top teams and a weaker-than-usual middle tier. I'd love to see the Wildcats make it, and on quality they deserve to be in the running, but the RPI-based metrics on the team sheet the committee will see all scream doom. Crashing the Dance's first update of the year doesn't even have them on the board. Michigan suffers from a similar problem but not to quite the same degree.

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 2.97e16 1 in 87.8 T 1 in 642 B 1 in 8.56 B 1 in 184 M 1 in 6.02 M 1 in 288,000 1 in 19,900
Iowa 1 in 2.12 T 1 in 13.9 B 1 in 218 M 1 in 6.14 M 1 in 279,000 1 in 19,200 0.05%
Maryland 1 in 864 B 1 in 5.26 B 1 in 86.8 M 1 in 2.70 M 1 in 137,000 1 in 10,600 0.08%
Purdue 1 in 17.4 T 1 in 113 B 1 in 1.69 B 1 in 43.8 M 1 in 1.75 M 1 in 103,000 0.01% 0.10%
Indiana 1 in 1.96 B 1 in 24.9 M 1 in 754,000 1 in 41,100 0.03% 0.21% 1.09%
Michigan 1 in 19.9 M 1 in 289,000 1 in 11,900 0.10% 0.62% 2.61% 7.44%
Northwestern 1 in 123 M 1 in 1.77 M 1 in 61,800 0.03% 0.24% 1.43% 5.58% 14.30%
Ohio State 1 in 57,400 0.05% 0.53% 2.77% 8.59% 17.24% 23.47%
Wisconsin 0.01% 0.23% 1.61% 6.21% 14.71% 22.77% 23.94% 17.46%
Illinois 1 in 43,600 0.06% 0.56% 2.94% 9.21% 18.45% 24.55% 22.21% 13.84%
Penn State 1 in 23,100 0.09% 0.73% 3.39% 9.81% 18.67% 24.16% 21.63% 13.50%
Nebraska 0.08% 1.17% 6.23% 16.71% 25.92% 25.04% 15.77% 6.68% 1.94%
Minnesota 0.48% 4.19% 13.69% 23.89% 25.75% 18.48% 9.22% 3.28% 0.85%
Rutgers 2.39% 11.98% 24.91% 28.46% 19.89% 8.99% 2.72% 0.56% 0.08%

Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1 18-0
Michigan State 0.05% 0.37% 1.88% 6.72% 16.58% 27.25% 27.95% 15.70% 3.50%
Iowa 0.36% 1.74% 5.95% 14.24% 23.49% 25.96% 18.43% 7.85% 1.77% 0.16%
Maryland 0.52% 2.29% 7.17% 15.77% 24.11% 24.94% 16.73% 6.78% 1.46% 0.13%
Purdue 0.62% 2.72% 8.45% 18.15% 26.25% 24.62% 14.10% 4.41% 0.57%
Indiana 3.94% 10.13% 18.52% 24.00% 21.76% 13.44% 5.40% 1.30% 0.16% 1 in 12,400
Michigan 14.93% 21.52% 22.44% 16.90% 9.06% 3.38% 0.84% 0.13% 0.01% 1 in 254,000
Northwestern 23.88% 25.78% 17.94% 8.05% 2.31% 0.42% 0.05% 1 in 37,200 1 in 1.51 M
Ohio State 22.25% 14.92% 7.11% 2.40% 0.57% 0.09% 1 in 10,500 1 in 162,000 1 in 4.56 M 1 in 309 M
Wisconsin 8.92% 3.20% 0.80% 0.14% 0.02% 1 in 82,200 1 in 1.75 M 1 in 66.4 M 1 in 5.96 B
Illinois 5.98% 1.79% 0.36% 0.05% 1 in 23,000 1 in 442,000 1 in 16.2 M 1 in 1.52 B
Penn State 5.86% 1.75% 0.36% 0.05% 1 in 25,400 1 in 524,000 1 in 20.6 M 1 in 2.04 B
Nebraska 0.39% 0.05% 1 in 19,100 1 in 299,000 1 in 7.28 M 1 in 293 M 1 in 21.8 B 1 in 3.96 T
Minnesota 0.16% 0.02% 1 in 47,800 1 in 701,000 1 in 15.2 M 1 in 519 M 1 in 31.4 B 1 in 4.52 T
Rutgers 1 in 12,300 1 in 175,000 1 in 3.57 M 1 in 107 M 1 in 4.90 B 1 in 366 B 1 in 51.0 T 1 in 1.77e+16

This Week's Games

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

Midweek

Wisconsin at Indiana - Tuesday, 7:00, ESPN (Indiana 87%; projected margin +10.5)
Minnesota at Penn State - Tuesday, 7:00, BTN (Penn State 85%; +9.5)
Nebraska at Iowa - Tuesday, 9:00, BTN (Iowa 97.0%; +19)
Rutgers at Maryland - Wednesday, 7:00, BTN (Maryland 98.7%; +24)
Ohio State at Northwestern - Wednesday, 9:00, BTN (Northwestern 77%; +7)
Michigan at Purdue - Thursday, 7:00, ESPNU (Purdue 88%; +11)
Illinois at Michigan State - Thursday, 9:00, ESPN (Michigan State 97.2%; +19.5)

Weekend

Maryland at Wisconsin - Saturday, 1:00, ESPN (Maryland 70%; +4.5)
Northwestern at Minnesota - Saturday, 2:30, BTN (Northwestern 69%; +4.5)
Nebraska at Rutgers - Saturday, 5:00, ESPNU (Rutgers 50.7%; +0)
Michigan State at Penn State - Sunday, Noon, BTN (Michigan State 84%; +9)
Ohio State at Indiana - Sunday, 1:30, CBS (Indiana 85%; +9.5)
Purdue at Illinois - Sunday, 6:00, BTN (Purdue 82%; +8)

Bye: Iowa, Michigan

Big week for Northwestern; if the Wildcats have serious tournament ambitions, they have to beat Ohio State at home and they can't afford a loss at Minnesota. The midweek games don't appear to have much to offer in terms of drama, but Saturday should be interesting with a tricky game for Maryland (despite Wisconsin's poor play so far this season) and Rutgers's best chance to get in the win column until the season finale (when they host Minnesota).