Big Ten Tournament Scenarios

Submitted by Mercury Hayes on February 26th, 2017 at 12:17 PM

With eight days left in the regular season you may be wondering, what's next. Well that is very dependent on how things shake out over the next couple of games.

Currently Michigan sits in 7th in the conference at 9-7. With two games left, Michigan has a chance to not only grab 11 conference wins, but doing so would knock fellow 9-7 team Northwestern off the 6-line. Additionally, this could lead to other movement within the standings.

MSU is currently in fifth place in the conference at 9-6 with a game at 4 p.m. vs. Wisconsin. I don't need to tell you who to root for. But, if Michigan wins out and MSU loses any of their final three games, Michigan would move up to fifth place in the conference based on tie breakers. The teams are 1-1 head to head but Michigan has one less loss and a key tie-breaker is overall win percentage among tied teams. For Michigan State to finish ahead of Michigan they would need to win out and have Michigan lose at least one game. MSU also plays Maryland next Sunday.

The difference between the 5-6 seeds and the 7+seeds are important. The 5-6 seeds will get to play someone coming off a Thursday night game. For example: last year No. 6 Wisconsin played the winner of the 11/14 game. And although they lost, along with Iowa and Indiana - that was weird and  I imagine you would definitely rather play a team that is tired.

Now, there are other possibilities as well. If Michigan falters, they could drop below Iowa in the standings. Iowa owns the tiebreaker. But MIchigan cannot fall below 8. So worst case scenario would be an 8-seed with a second day game vs. the 10-seed which would currently be Illinois. More importantly, this would hurt our NCAA tournament hopes/seeding. Lets hope we avoid this by taking Mitch McGary's advice and winning the game.

In terms of best case scenario, the 4-spot could be still in reach. This would get Michigan 2 byes. For this to happen, Michigan would need to win out to pass MSU and Northwestern and Maryland would have to lose out. Even if MInnesota loses out, they hold the tie-breaker. Maryland plays Rutgers Tuesday, so we will know our highest potential in two days.

So here are your rooting interests:

Wisconsin over MSU - at 4 p.m.

Rutgers over Maryland - on Tue

Illinois over Michigan State  - on Wed.

Wisconsin over Iowa - on Thur (prevents Michigan dropping from 7)

MSU over Maryland - on Sunday, but only if Maryland loses to Rutgers

I hope everyone found this helpful. Win the game.




February 26th, 2017 at 7:45 PM ^

It's not just the hostility of the crowd, or lack thereof, that is a factor.

You get used to the sight-lines in your own house.  That's a big deal to a team built around hitting threes like we are.

On the road, it's easy to go cold.

They like to say "Defense travels".  Well, post offense also travels.  

Three-ball offense . . . not as much.




February 26th, 2017 at 12:33 PM ^

Nice thread!


One small note: overall winning percentage is not the second tiebreaker after head to head between teams for BTT seeding. 


It actually starts with your winning percentage against the best team in the conference (and then goes down the line) until one team has an advantage. So, we also want Purdue to win the conference as we'd have a 1-0 record against them whereas MSU is 0-2.


Unfortunately, Minnesota also went 1-0 against Purdue, so in a multi team tie, their head to head would put them over us. Maryland also lost to Purdue, so we would have that over them in a MULTI team tie.

Mercury Hayes

February 26th, 2017 at 12:31 PM ^

More likely than now? Yes. More likely than not? Maybe. Usually 10-8 gets you in. 9-9 isn't ideal. Wins over Purdue/Wiscy help, but we would likely need to win 2 games in the BTT to balance things out. If we lose out, and go 1-1 in the BTT or something, then we are 1-3 in our last four and it looks a bit ugly. So lets go win.


February 26th, 2017 at 12:40 PM ^

We definitely want them to lose their next two games (vs. Wisconsin, @Illinois), but, depending on how things go this week, it might be best for us if they defeat Maryland next Sunday.

We're only one game behind the Terps now (and Michigan State is their best remaining chance to lose a game), and if we tie multi way with them and MSU/Northwestern, we would get a potential double bye over them. 

The Krusty Kra…

February 26th, 2017 at 1:47 PM ^

Yes, but even though this year they lost more of their non-conf. games than usual, the committee always credits Izzo for playing a difficult non-con slate (Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor, Wichita St, Duke, Oakland.) Is that him gaming the system to get a weak MSU team in? Perhaps, but game respect game.


February 26th, 2017 at 12:43 PM ^

Additional rooting interests: 


We want Nebraska and Wisconsin to beat Minnesota. 


We want Purdue to beat Northwestern and Indiana (to have an undefeated record against the Big Ten champ for tiebreaking procedures; it's better for us if Purdue wins over Wisconsin). 

AA Forever

February 26th, 2017 at 12:49 PM ^

which seems likely, I'd just as soon win our first game and lose the second. The loss would be to a higher seed and wouldn't really hurt us.  Winning the BT tourney (or just getting to the final) would mean playing four games in four days, with possibly only three days off before the real tournament starts. Not worth it in the long run, even if it bumps our seed up by one.


February 26th, 2017 at 1:08 PM ^

Interesting tool. 


The "nightmare" scenario potential is if Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Maryland have a 4 way tie at 11-7, we would come in last and MSU would come in first. 


That means, as the #6 seed, we would have to face MSU in our second game after playing the day before and them having a full week off to prepare just for us (they would obviously prepare as if we would beat the #11 vs. #14 winner). I want no part of that. 

Trader Jack

February 26th, 2017 at 2:01 PM ^

Need to avoid the 7 or 8 seed. I'd rather play Maryland or Minnesota again than Purdue or Wisconsin.

Also need to keep winning so we don't get stuck with an 8/9 seed in the NCAA tournament.


February 26th, 2017 at 2:39 PM ^

Good stuff Mercury, but you are misunderstanding the "overall win-percentage among tied teams" line. Its not a team's overall winning percentage. It refers to a team's winning percentage against all of the other teams in a multi-team tie breaker.

For example, if MSU lost today, then UM, MSU and NW would all be 9-7. MSU and UM split the series. NW lost to MSU. UM and NW havent played yet, so this would change, but MSU would be 2-1, UM 1-1 and NW 0-1 in games involving the three. So MSU would be ranked first, UM 2nd and NW third among the tied teams. 

If MSU and UM end up in a two team tie, UM holds the tie breaker as long as Purdue remains in first place.  UM finished 1-0 vs Purdue and MSU was 0-2. 





February 26th, 2017 at 4:00 PM ^

"Even if MInnesota loses out, they hold the tie-breaker." We are one game back from Minnesota. Them losing out, and us winning out, would see us jumping them. 

M_Born M_Believer

February 26th, 2017 at 5:08 PM ^

The second one is not.  Illini (just like another team we know) plays much better at home than on the road.  They are also 16-12, so they have plenty to play for.  When Sparty loses today, they will be 17-12.  The disparity between the two teams is not that great.

Plus I would LOVE to see whiny Tommy get swept to the NIT...........


February 26th, 2017 at 5:13 PM ^

Nice to see Ward on the bench and Wisconsin get bsck in this thing. They still have a problem huarding that offense with him in there so this 2nd half will be an interesting battle. Happ v Ward.