The Road To (Your Tournament Here): A Probabilistic Look At Remaining Wins

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on February 10th, 2015 at 11:39 AM

This week, I decided on a short diary outlining the probability of various scenarios in remaining games using the estimated probabilities provided at Massy Ratings. As you know, there are six games left, so there are sixty-four possible outcomes for the remainder of the season at present.

What that means, of course, is that looked at individually, many scenarios have similar  chances of happening, but there are a few that stand out as more likely than others, although again none are good bets at this particular point. As for ones that currently stand out (if you can call it this – I wouldn’t):

1)      2-4, with the wins coming against Northwestern and Rutgers – 9.805%

2)      1-5, with the sole win being Rutgers – 8.695%

3)      3-3, beating MSU, Northwestern and Rutgers – 7.397%

4)      2-4, with wins against MSU and Rutgers – 6.559%

Conversely, there are some which are seemingly in statistical dreamland:

1)      4-2, with the losses being Northwestern and Rutgers – 0.060%

2)      5-1, with the sole loss being Rutgers – 0.068%

3)      3-3, with wins against Illinois, Ohio St. and Maryland – 0.080%

4)      4-2, with losses to Michigan St. and Rutgers – 0.090%

As you might have guessed, the opposite of the most likely scenarios are in fact the least likely in this case. Is this cumulative probabilities based on remaining wins:

 photo ProbRemainingWins_zps4f077b58.png

Yes, at present it is more likely based on these numbers that we run the table than only losing to Rutgers down the stretch. One thing that came up, however, when I did one or two such diaries for football is that there is an assumption here that the outcomes are independent, and that’s for ease of calculation here, although Massey’s model does account for the interconnected nature of the season somewhat, as I recall.

So, looking ahead and pretending we beat Illinois – the picture would change only slightly. We would still would stand a decent excellent chance of going 3-2 or 2-3 in the remaining five games, ignoring changes to other teams’ numbers just for ease for a second. The individual scenarios above would see their relative likelihoods increase, but it would be approximately the same top and bottom four (some slight alterations allowing for eliminated scenarios), barring other changes. 



February 10th, 2015 at 11:56 AM ^

...which is that Michigan is missing two of its best players. Both of them were available for most of the games these projections are based on, so its reasonable to think Massey overstates the win probabilities going forward. Michigan's dropped at least 15 slots in his rankings since Walton went down the last time, something like 25 since LaVert's injury.


February 12th, 2015 at 3:20 PM ^

Like jmblue points out, and statistically we've actually performed better since the two guys were sidelined. We were ranked in the 100s on kenpom when they went down, and we've bumped up to 88th since then.  Walton at 100% is one of our better players but at 60% (or whatever), he was killing the team. With the development of the young guys, the team has actually been better with more minutes from Dawkins and MAAR than with Caris and a hobbling Walton. 

Blue Durham

February 10th, 2015 at 11:59 AM ^

If Massey doesn't take into account the injuries to Walton and Levert, then this would probably be a little optimistic.

I think Michigan most likely ends up at 8-10. Given the loss of talent to the NBA, University of Florida (Horford), and injuries, and how the non-conference schedule went, their performance in the Big Ten has actually been quite remarkable.


February 10th, 2015 at 10:11 PM ^

The teams with the worst records in last year's NIT were 17-15 West Virginia and 17-14 Georgetown.  Currently Michigan is 13-11 with 6 games remaining.  So 2-4 puts us at 15-15 for the season and then factoring in the B1G tournament, a 2-1 record would put us right at the threshold for the NIT.  The biggest push at that point would be a quality win over an Ohio State or Maryland; making us a 17-16 team still not likely to get an NIT invite.  3+ wins is probably pretty close to what it would take if we go 2-4 the rest of the B1G season.


February 10th, 2015 at 11:48 PM ^

One of the things that come into play is how many conference regular season champs don't win their conference post season tourney.  Those teams get automatic bids to the NIT.  I was looking at the NIT fields the last 3-4 years and most of the teams from the power 5 conferences that made it were a few games over .500.  There were a few years were there were almost no teams with less than 20 wins that made the NIT.

At this point, UM probably has to have a decent finish just to make the NIT.