clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Around the B1G: Basketball Week 8 Recap, Week 9 Preview

New, 28 comments

The title race is effectively down to three teams, and only seven have realistic tournament hopes.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week’s Results

Upsets (based on last week’s projections) are in bold, road wins in italics.

Midweek

Purdue 74, Rutgers 55
Michigan State 74, Ohio State 66
Nebraska 82, Penn State 66
Maryland 74, Northwestern 64
Minnesota 75, Indiana 74
Michigan 64, Wisconsin 58

Weekend

Illinois 70, Iowa 66
Purdue 80, Michigan State 63
Northwestern 69, Rutgers 65
Nebraska 58, Ohio State 57
Wisconsin 71, Maryland 60
Minnesota 83, Michigan 78 (OT)

Michigan pulled off one upset and nearly a second, falling in OT on the road at Minnesota; their chances are looking better and better. Wisconsin trailed at the half to Maryland and looked on the verge of going from heavy conference title favorite to third place in a week and a half before turning it around. Meanwhile, the pressure of being so close to a tournament bid might be wearing on Northwestern, as they blew an opportunity at home to add a quality win and then trailed late against Rutgers before dodging that bullet.

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. Next week I’ll post the large scenario charts breaking down the tiebreakers all the way; for reference, here’s what they are:

  1. Head-to-head winning percentage
  2. Winning percentage against the top team (or teams, if there’s a tie), then next, and so on down the line
  3. Overall winning percentage (I think; the official procedures say it’s actually strength of schedule, but that makes no sense to me and the football tiebreakers have been so sloppily written in the past that I wouldn’t put it past them to write “record of all Division 1 opponents” when they mean “record against all Division 1 opponents”; it’s unlikely to matter as I’ve never seen a tiebreaker get here)

2017 BB Projections Wk 9 - 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 11-3 14.07 34.17% 70.38% 99.82% 0.18% Yes 5
Purdue 11-3 13.83 21.70% 56.02% 99.80% 0.20% Yes 5
Maryland 10-4 13.22 3.26% 24.45% 98.69% 1.31% Yes 5
Northwestern 9-5 11.22 0.01% 0.69% 68.84% 31.16% <0.01% 96.59% 5
Minnesota 8-6 10.30 <0.01% 0.02% 19.76% 80.22% 0.02% 87.76% 5
Michigan State 8-6 9.75 <0.01% 0.01% 9.33% 90.60% 0.08% 59.98% 3
Michigan 7-7 8.99 <0.01% 3.67% 94.38% 1.96% 29.04% 3
Iowa 6-8 7.34 0.01% 66.18% 33.81% 0.25% 1
Nebraska 6-8 7.32 0.05% 64.78% 35.17% 0.52% 1
Penn State 6-8 7.32 0.03% 64.18% 35.79% 0.58% 1
Illinois 5-9 7.01 <0.01% 51.24% 48.76% 1
Indiana 5-9 6.56 <0.01% 34.02% 65.98% 1
Ohio State 5-10 6.22 21.56% 78.44% 1 (-1)
Rutgers 2-13 2.85 Yes 1

While Northwestern still technically has a shot at the title (as do Minnesota, MSU, and Michigan, for that matter), the odds are strongly against them. The title race is effectively three teams at this point; Maryland has a somewhat easier schedule than either Purdue or Wisconsin, but they’re already a game back. Purdue holds the tiebreakers for the #1 seed in the Big Ten tournament, having beaten both, with Wisconsin having the edge over Maryland.

The only “official” change in BUBBLECON is Ohio State dropping from “work to do” to “snowball’s chance in a Death Valley summer” as they guaranteed themselves a losing conference record. Even so, a few of the longshots dropped off the radar entirely. Meanwhile, the top three are now officially guaranteed at least one bye, Ohio State is locked out of the top four, and Rutgers has clinched a Wednesday start in D.C.

The two bubble teams, Michigan State and Michigan, are both listed as in for the moment according to the Bracket Matrix; as of Monday night, Michigan is the last unanimous inclusion and MSU is right behind, on 98% of included brackets (earning one of the last four byes). Both will probably get in if they match their projections to date, but neither has any room for error.

Projections by Record

2017 BB Projections Wk 9 - Top 4

Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3
Team 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6 13-5 14-4 15-3
Wisconsin 0.16% 3.32% 19.54% 43.82% 33.17%
Purdue 0.39% 5.94% 26.76% 43.66% 23.26%
Maryland 0.11% 2.11% 14.56% 41.75% 41.48%
Northwestern 3.41% 19.51% 37.88% 30.47% 8.73%

2017 BB Projections Wk 9 - Middle 6

Team 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6
Team 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9 10-8 11-7 12-6
Minnesota 0.71% 11.53% 50.45% 32.06% 5.25%
Michigan State 6.11% 33.91% 40.79% 17.07% 2.11%
Michigan 4.72% 25.16% 41.07% 24.44% 4.60%
Iowa 14.05% 44.02% 35.92% 5.75% 0.25%
Nebraska 16.74% 43.16% 31.96% 7.63% 0.52%
Penn State 16.33% 44.21% 31.23% 7.66% 0.58%

2017 BB Projections Wk 9 - Bottom 4

Team 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9
Team 2-16 3-15 4-14 5-13 6-12 7-11 8-10 9-9
Illinois 5.82% 24.84% 38.28% 25.12% 5.94%
Indiana 11.96% 36.02% 36.86% 13.99% 1.17%
Ohio State 19.61% 44.95% 29.55% 5.89%
Rutgers 35.50% 45.47% 17.08% 1.94%

Bubble Tracking

No Worries

Wisconsin, Purdue, and Maryland could lose out and still make the tournament easily.

Almost There

Minnesota

Current RPI rank (as of Monday morning, via Crashing the Dance): 23
Remaining schedule (with current projected win probability): at Maryland (31%), Penn State (88%), Nebraska (89%), at Wisconsin (22%)
Projected RPI rank: 31 at 9-9, 39 at 8-10

Lose out and the Gophers are still headed into the Big Ten tournament with an RPI rank near 40. Given that, I’m not certain they need to win any of their remaining games to make it, but I’m not quite sure enough they don’t need to do so to put them up with the other three. One more win would do it.

Northwestern

Current RPI rank: 37
Remaining schedule: at Illinois (57%), at Indiana (46%), Michigan (73%), Purdue (46%)
Projected RPI rank: 42 at 11-7, 50 at 10-8, 61 at 9-9

Northwestern isn’t in quite as good shape as Minnesota; they need one win to ensure the RPI stays in usual tournament team territory and most of their games are toss-ups. One win puts Northwestern in good position; two would all but clinch a bid. Given the weakness of the bubble this year, even one is probably enough.

Pure Bubble

Michigan State

Current RPI rank: 43
Remaining schedule: Nebraska (80%), Wisconsin (36%), at Illinois (41%), at Maryland (18%)
Projected RPI rank: 37 at 11-7, 45 at 10-8, 56 at 9-9

MSU did what they needed to last week, getting a win against Ohio State. The Purdue game was a long-shot opportunity that would have been completely harmless to the resume if not for the Eron Harris injury. 2-2 leaves MSU in somewhat shaky territory but probably in; a 3-1 finish is definitely good enough, while 1-3 leaves MSU scrambling in the Big Ten tournament (and even that may not be enough due to a 15th loss). The easy path is to win against Nebraska and pull off at least a split in the Wisconsin and Illinois games.

Michigan

Current RPI rank: 55
Remaining schedule: at Rutgers (74%), Purdue (39%), at Northwestern (27%), at Nebraska (58%)
Projected RPI rank: 42 at 10-8, 52 at 9-9, 64 at 8-10

Like MSU, Michigan probably needs two wins and won’t feel completely safe without three. Unlike MSU, Michigan has two games as favorites left, though one is not that far from a toss-up.

Have to Win Out

Nebraska

Current RPI rank: 75
Remaining schedule: at Michigan State (20%), Illinois (60%), at Minnesota (11%), Michigan (42%)
Projected RPI rank: 51 at 10-8, 63 at 9-9

Getting past Penn State and Ohio State is a good start, but the next regular season loss the Huskers take will end their at-large hopes entirely (and that assumes they aren’t already dead).

Penn State

Current RPI rank: 74
Remaining schedule: Purdue (21%), at Minnesota (12%), Ohio State (64%), at Iowa (35%)
Projected RPI rank: 52 at 10-8, 62 at 9-9

Like Nebraska, their projected RPI if they manage to win out says “plausible”, except for the whole “winning out” thing. Lose and it’s over.

Illinois

Current RPI rank: 67
Remaining schedule: Northwestern (43%), at Nebraska (40%), Michigan State (59%), at Rutgers (58%)
Projected RPI rank: 50 at 9-9, 61 at 8-10

Same old story. Win out and the Illini might have the committee’s curiosity. Drop one and only an auto-bid will be enough.

Auto-Bid or Bust

Rutgers, Iowa, Ohio State, and Indiana all have to win their bid in Washington if they’re going to make the Big Dance. There’s maybe a little room to consider Indiana if they win out and make a decent tournament run, but otherwise, none appear to have any hope.

This Week’s Games

All times ET.

Midweek

Purdue at Penn State (Tuesday, 6:00, BTN) - Purdue 79% (projected margin +7)
Northwestern at Illinois (Tuesday, 8:00, BTN) - Northwestern 57% (+1.5)
Indiana at Iowa (Tuesday, 9:00, ESPN) - Iowa 51% (+0.5)
Michigan at Rutgers (Wednesday, 6:30, BTN) - Michigan 74% (+5.5)
Minnesota at Maryland (Wednesday, 8:30, BTN) - Maryland 69% (+4.5)
Nebraska at Michigan State (Thursday, 7:00, ESPNU) - Michigan State 80% (+7.5)
Wisconsin at Ohio State (Thursday, 9:00, ESPN) - Wisconsin 71% (+5)

Weekend

Penn State at Minnesota (Saturday, 3:00, BTN) - Minnesota 88% (+10.5)
Purdue at Michigan (Saturday, 4:00, ESPN2) - Purdue 61% (+2.5)
Iowa at Maryland (Saturday, 6:00, ESPN2) - Maryland 89% (+11.5)
Northwestern at Indiana (Saturday, 8:00, BTN) - Indiana 54% (+1)
Wisconsin at Michigan State (Sunday, 4:00, CBS) - Wisconsin 64% (+3)
Illinois at Nebraska (Sunday, 7:30, BTN) - Nebraska 60% (+2)

Idle: Ohio State, Rutgers

Of the title contenders, Wisconsin and Purdue each face a pair of potentially tricky road tests, while Maryland has two home games. Michigan and MSU each have must-win games during the week before big opportunities at home against a title contender over the weekend.