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Around the B1G: Basketball Week 5 Recap, Week 6 Preview

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Halfway through conference play, the top four and the bottom one are clear; everything else is anybody’s guess.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week’s Results

Upsets according to last week’s projections are in bold; road wins are in italics.

Midweek

Purdue 84, Michigan State 73
Maryland 67, Rutgers 55
Wisconsin 82, Penn State 55
Ohio State 78, Minnesota 72
Illinois 76, Iowa 64
Northwestern 73, Nebraska 61
Michigan 90, Indiana 60

Weekend

Wisconsin 61, Rutgers 54 (OT)
Maryland 85, Minnesota 78
Penn State 71, Illinois 67
Iowa 85, Ohio State 72
Michigan State 70, Michigan 62
Nebraska 83, Purdue 80
Northwestern 68, Indiana 55

Minnesota is in a major slump, taking two upset losses this week to fall to 3-6 in conference. As for Nebraska, the only thing certain is chaos; how else do you explain a team with road wins at Indiana and Maryland and a home win over Purdue, yet losses at Rutgers and at home to Ohio State?

Conference Projections

All projections are based on my margin-aware ratings. Ratings which ignore margin are available here. Ratings are current through Sunday's games.

Summary Table

Average wins and chances of 10+ wins are based on game-by-game odds. Chances for an outright title, share of the title, and top/middle/bottom tier finishes are based on 100,000 season simulations; tiebreakers are not incorporated into the simulations at this point, but instead the credit is split evenly (a tie for 4th, 5th, and 6th would give each team credit for 13 of a top 4 finish and 23 of a middle 6 finish). BUBBLECON is estimated from the projected record and RPI data from RPIForecast.com.

2017 BB Projections Wk 6 - Summary

Team Current Avg wins Outright Shared Top 4 Middle 6 Bottom 4 10+ Wins BUBBLECON
Team Current Avg wins Outright Shared Top 4 Middle 6 Bottom 4 10+ Wins BUBBLECON
Wisconsin 7-1 14.83 61.04% 80.20% 99.77% 0.23% <0.01% 99.99% 5
Maryland 7-1 13.30 11.22% 25.35% 97.45% 2.54% <0.01% 99.74% 5
Northwestern 7-2 12.71 4.82% 13.91% 95.75% 4.25% <0.01% 99.51% 5 (+1)
Purdue 6-3 12.06 1.46% 5.98% 89.34% 10.64% 0.02% 97.73% 5
Michigan State 5-4 8.90 <0.01% 0.03% 6.03% 84.88% 9.09% 31.33% 3
Minnesota 3-6 8.79 <0.01% <0.01% 3.92% 86.71% 9.37% 28.29% 4 (-1)
Michigan 4-5 8.13 <0.01% 0.01% 2.81% 74.83% 22.36% 15.44% 3 (+1)
Indiana 4-5 7.98 <0.01% <0.01% 2.37% 72.32% 25.31% 12.35% 2 (-1)
Iowa 4-5 7.37 <0.01% <0.01% 0.43% 58.14% 41.43% 4.22% 1
Nebraska 4-5 7.35 <0.01% <0.01% 0.63% 56.87% 42.51% 5.37% 1
Penn State 4-5 7.26 <0.01% <0.01% 0.64% 53.41% 45.96% 4.47% 1
Illinois 3-6 7.05 <0.01% <0.01% 0.52% 48.59% 50.90% 3.68% 2
Ohio State 3-6 6.98 <0.01% <0.01% 0.34% 46.25% 53.41% 2.76% 2
Rutgers 1-8 3.28 <0.01% <0.01% <0.01% 0.36% 99.64% 1 in 4.01M 1

After the top four, the dropoff is extreme, with a gap in the projections of more than three full wins. The gap from fifth down to 13th isn’t even two full wins, though from 13th to 14th is another huge gap (thanks, Rutgers).

The top four seem safely in the field (and yes, that includes Northwestern, who would need to go 3-6 or worse down the stretch to even be worried), but behind them there are a lot of teams that seem right on the edge at best. Minnesota’s major slump has taken them out of lock status, though given their RPI-friendly non-conference schedule they have a good chance of making the tournament even at 8-10 in conference. Historical precedent suggests MSU needs 10 wins, and while that’s still well within the range of plausible outcomes it now requires at least one more road win. Michigan has put together a decent run of late, including their 30-point smackdown of Indiana, to get back on the bubble, while Indiana (reeling from injury as well as said smackdown) now appears to be in serious danger. Near the bottom, Illinois and Ohio State remain viable candidates if they can get to 9-9, but the odds are against them both. Nebraska did too much damage to their record in non-conference, but they’ve certainly demonstrated the ability to play land mine to others’ hopes.

If you’re wondering why Maryland lags so far behind Wisconsin despite having only two losses on the season: lots of narrow escapes and a very light start to the conference schedule - they have yet to play a team with a winning conference record, and all four teams currently 3-6 or worse are among their five double-plays - are a source of skepticism so far for the model.

Projections by Record

2017 BB Projections Wk 6 - .500 or better

Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1
Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3 16-2 17-1
Wisconsin 1 in 12,900 0.09% 0.68% 3.31% 10.66% 22.71% 30.69% 23.79% 8.06%
Maryland 0.24% 1.67% 6.95% 17.84% 28.27% 26.85% 14.21% 3.61% 0.33%
Northwestern 0.46% 3.27% 12.40% 26.28% 31.18% 19.75% 5.97% 0.67%
Purdue 2.00% 8.62% 21.27% 30.55% 24.92% 10.58% 1.80%
Michigan State 30.67% 21.06% 8.25% 1.80% 0.20% 1 in 11,700
Minnesota 32.74% 21.61% 6.11% 0.56%
Michigan 23.58% 11.60% 3.32% 0.50% 0.03%
Indiana 22.13% 9.69% 2.36% 0.29% 0.01%
Iowa 13.79% 3.68% 0.50% 0.03% 1 in 132k
Nebraska 13.74% 4.44% 0.84% 0.09% 1 in 28,400
Penn State 12.22% 3.72% 0.68% 0.07% 1 in 36,400
Illinois 11.00% 3.18% 0.48% 0.03%
Ohio State 9.53% 2.42% 0.33% 0.02%
Rutgers 1 in 59,100 1 in 4.01M

2017 BB Projections Wk 6 - Below .500

Team 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10
Team 1-17 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10
Wisconsin 1 in 14.7M 1 in 279k
Maryland 1 in 171k 0.02%
Northwestern 1 in 142k 0.03%
Purdue 1 in 333k 0.01% 0.25%
Michigan State 0.18% 2.23% 10.67% 24.93%
Minnesota 1 in 111k 0.03% 0.38% 2.68% 10.76% 25.12%
Michigan 0.17% 1.97% 8.91% 21.11% 28.82%
Indiana 0.19% 2.30% 10.29% 23.21% 29.55%
Iowa 0.69% 5.60% 18.14% 30.11% 27.45%
Nebraska 0.94% 6.58% 18.88% 28.84% 25.66%
Penn State 0.83% 7.07% 20.79% 30.01% 24.61%
Illinois 0.26% 2.54% 10.14% 21.86% 28.12% 22.40%
Ohio State 0.16% 2.11% 10.24% 23.63% 29.74% 21.82%
Rutgers 5.61% 21.24% 32.19% 25.58% 11.69% 3.15% 0.49% 0.04%

This Week’s Games

All times ET.

Midweek

Iowa at Rutgers (Tuesday, 7:00, BTN) - Rutgers 55% (projected margin +1)
Maryland at Ohio State (Tuesday, 7:00, ESPN) - Maryland 55% (+1)
Wisconsin at Illinois (Tuesday, 9:00, BTN) - Wisconsin 72% (+5)
Penn State at Indiana (Wednesday, 6:30, BTN) - Indiana 84% (+9)
Northwestern at Purdue (Wednesday, 8:30, BTN) - Purdue 73% (+5.5)
Michigan State at Nebraska (Thursday, 7:00, ESPN) - Nebraska 56% (+1.5)

Idle: Minnesota, Michigan

Weekend

Purdue at Maryland (Saturday, Noon, ESPN) - Maryland 58% (+2)
Rutgers at Penn State (Saturday, 1:00, ESPNU) - Penn State 81% (+8)
Minnesota at Illinois (Saturday, 4:00, BTN) - Illinois 50.2% (+0)
Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, 6:00, ESPN2) - Michigan 77% (+6.5)
Indiana at Wisconsin (Sunday, 1:00, CBS) - Wisconsin 88% (+11)
Nebraska at Iowa (Sunday, 2:00, BTN) - Iowa 70% (+4.5)

Idle: Michigan State, Northwestern

Purdue has a chance to get themselves back in the thick of the conference title race with games against two of the teams ahead of them in the standings. Among bubble teams, Illinois has two big opportunities in home games against likely tournament teams (although Minnesota might not be one anymore if they lose that game). MSU needs a road win somewhere (in addition to winning out at home) to get to 10-8, and this is the easiest opportunity remaining.