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Big Ten Basketball Projections 2016: February 20

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Updated projections after an eventful set of midweek games.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With the conference race winding down, I'll post updates for the weekend as well.

Midweek Results

Bold means an upset (based on Tuesday's projections); italics indicate a road win.

Ohio State 76, Michigan 66
Purdue 71, Northwestern 61
Illinois 82, Rutgers 66
Penn State 79, Iowa 75
Indiana 80, Nebraska 64
Minnesota 68, Maryland 63
Michigan State 69, Wisconsin 57

Two of the top three losing to teams in the bottom four will throw the race into chaos a little bit. I'm rather disappointed in Maryland for spoiling the potentially history-making Minnesota-Rutgers clash next week, which is now merely a battle between two very bad teams instead of 0-14 vs. 0-14. Add wins by Ohio State and Michigan State over Michigan and Wisconsin and we have quite the logjam in the conference standings.

Conference Projections

All projections are based on my margin-aware ratings; the preseason adjustment has now been removed and all ratings are based solely on this season's results. Ratings based on wins and losses only are available here. Ratings are current through Thursday'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). We're down to 30 games (21 involving at least one of the top eight), but that's still far too many scenarios for a detailed breakdown. 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
Iowa 11-3 14.01 53.90% 81.31% 98.09% 1.91% Yes 5
Indiana (+1)
11-3 13.25 15.36% 38.22% 90.04% 9.96% Yes 5
Michigan State (+1)
9-5 12.64 0.01% 6.80% 87.96% 12.04% 114k-to-1 fav 5
Maryland (-2)
10-4 12.46 1.73% 11.60% 71.86% 28.14% Yes 5
Purdue 9-5 11.60 0.01% 2.77% 35.28% 64.72% <0.01% 110-to-1 fav 5
Wisconsin (+1)
8-5 10.70 0.01% 0.33% 6.89% 93.11% <0.01% 92.68% 4
Michigan (-1)
9-5 10.63 <0.01% 0.30% 6.99% 93.01% 93.24% 4
Ohio State 9-5 10.08 <0.01% 0.05% 2.90% 97.10% 73.73% 2
Nebraska 6-8 7.41 <0.01% 72.43% 27.57% 1.26% 1
Northwestern 5-9 7.30 72.74% 27.26% 1
Penn State 4-9 6.67 46.78% 53.22% 1
Illinois 4-9 5.56 8.05% 91.95% 1
Minnesota 1-13 2.79 Yes 1
Rutgers 0-13 0.91 Yes 1

Iowa's still the favorite, but the chances have dropped substantially from the 72% outright and 91% share (or better) of the title. Maryland's stock takes quite a hit as well, as one might expect after losing to a team that was 0-13 in conference.

Technically, any of the 9-5 teams could end up tying with Northwestern and Illinois (both of whom play Penn State, so Penn State can't get to 9-9 without giving both of them a 10th loss) for the last Thursday starting spots. But I believe that only Purdue is at any risk from tiebreakers in that scenario, and realistically it's not going to happen anyway.

No BUBBLECON movement so far this week; losing at Michigan State is no great shame for Wisconsin, and while losing to Ohio State stings a bit more, it's by no means disastrous and Michigan looks comfortably on the right side of the bubble for now. Ohio State still needs to make a run, although their schedule does permit it if they're able to pull it off. The win over Michigan was just their third RPI top 100 win of the season, according to Crashing the Dance, and one of those three was #99.

Projections by Record

Top Eight
Team 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3
Iowa 0.27% 4.10% 21.13% 43.59% 30.91%
Indiana 2.42% 16.97% 39.88% 34.44% 6.29%
Michigan State 1 in 114,000 0.09% 2.83% 30.02% 67.07%
Maryland 0.35% 8.65% 44.15% 37.92% 8.93%
Purdue 0.92% 9.54% 32.78% 42.30% 14.46%
Wisconsin 0.46% 6.87% 30.95% 47.07% 13.60% 1.05%
Michigan 6.76% 39.39% 39.43% 13.12% 1.30%
Ohio State 26.27% 44.70% 24.11% 4.70% 0.22%

The Race to Start Thursday
Team 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8
Nebraska 16.51% 39.58% 31.99% 10.65% 1.26%
Northwestern 0.52% 13.74% 46.52% 33.95% 5.27%
Penn State 1.23% 10.01% 29.91% 39.13% 19.23% 0.49%
Illinois 7.11% 43.21% 37.36% 11.11% 1.17% 0.04%

The Worst of the Worst
Team 0-18 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13
Minnesota 4.00% 32.17% 45.96% 16.22% 1.65%
Rutgers 33.05% 45.72% 18.53% 2.59% 0.12% 1 in 67,700

This Weekend's Games

All times ET. Odds are based on the margin-aware ratings.

Penn State at Rutgers - Saturday, 1:00, ESPNU (Penn State 73%, projected margin +5.5)
Ohio State at Nebraska - Saturday, 7:00, BTN (Nebraska 53%, +0.5)
Purdue at Indiana - Saturday, 8:30, ESPN (Indiana 66%, +3.5)
Michigan at Maryland - Sunday, 1:00, CBS (Maryland 85%, +9.5)
Illinois at Wisconsin - Sunday, 7:30, BTN (Wisconsin 89%, +11.5)

Bye: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State

A win for Ohio State in the toss-up game against Nebraska won't help the Buckeyes' tournament resume much, but every little bit helps, and they need some now. Purdue-Indiana and Michigan-Maryland can try to add some clarity to the comments race .