Another day, another dominating performance by the Spartans. While MSU seemed a bit sluggish and lacked sharpness, especially in the first half against the Gophers, the Spartans still managed to beat Top 40 Kenpom team by 16.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten this week, the homes teams kept racking up wins, including Maryland handing the Buckeyes their 3rd loss, Nebraska upsetting Iowa, Rutgers taking out Penn State, and Michigan surviving 2 OTs against Purdue. The only road win was Illinois’ comeback in Madison against the Badgers. In total, Big Ten home teams are now 26-4 through 30 games. For reference, as I check back to last year, at this time home teams were only 19-11. So, the current level of success for the home teams does appear to be notably unusual.
As for the numbers, here is the up-to-date projected win matrix and expected win totals for the Big Ten, followed by the visual trends in expected wins. Once again, these numbers are the results of a simulation of the Big Ten season using point spreads / win probabilities as derived from Kenpom efficiency data.
These numbers reflect the most likely outcome of the season if all teams continue to play at the average level of efficiency that they have displayed so far to this point in the season. MSU’s big week has pushed the expected win total into the range where a 16-4 record is now slightly more likely than a 15-5 record. As expected, Maryland’s win over Ohio State has now vaulted the Terrapins into 2nd place in expected wins (at 13.16), while Ohio State is now in 3rd at 12.32.
It was a good week for Rutgers and Illinois, whose expected win totals are now approaching 11 wins, along with Michigan. Penn State and Wisconsin are hovering at just over 10 wins, while Iowa and Purdue dropped to below 10 wins, just ahead of Minnesota and Indiana. Nebraska and Northwestern continue to bring up the rear.
As for the translation to the odds to win the Big Ten, those are shown here:
As of today, MSU’s odds to at least tie for 1st in the Big Ten are just over 80%, with Maryland at just under 20%, OSU at 8.5%, and no other team over 2.5%.
Once again, this assumes that MSU continues to play at the same level that they are showing now. With the general struggles that road teams have shown so far this year, MSU needs to show that they can be just as dominant away from Breslin as within its confines. With three and the next four on the road, including Sunday’s game at Purdue, MSU will get a chance to put even more distance between themselves and the competition.
The game at Purdue projects as the 3rd toughest game on the schedule (after road games at Maryland and Michigan) and road games at Indiana and Minnesota will not be a picnic. I project that MSU only has a 22% chance to win all four. Going 3-1 in that stretch would be just fine. Going 2-2 would be more of a concern. If MSU can find a way to go 4-0, that would be outstanding. If that happens, MSU’s shot at a 3-peat would rocket up to roughly 95% and MSU would almost certainly run their conference record to 10-0. That said... one game at a time.
That is all for now. Until next time, enjoy and Go Green!