MBB - Predicting the B1G

Submitted by Kilgore Trout on January 6th, 2014 at 2:39 PM

After having a discussion with a MSU friend about one plays in the B1G and how that could affect this year's standings, I decided to look at it more closely and try to predict the B1G standings taking the one plays into account.

The first assumption I made was that the league could be broken down into 5 tiers based on what I've seen so far this year.

Tier 1 - MSU, Wisconsin, OSU
Tier 2 - Michigan, Iowa
Tier 3 - Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota
Tier 4 - Penn State, Nebraska
Tier 5 - Northwestern

The second assumption was that the home team would win every game against a team that was one tier above them and down. So, for example, Indiana should be able to beat Michigan at home, but not MSU. 

Going through the entire schedule, this model would predict the following final standings.

Wisconsin 16 2
Ohio State 15 3
Michigan State 14 4
Iowa 11 7
Michigan 10 8
Minnesota 8 10
Illinois 7 11
Indiana 7 11
Purdue 7 11
Nebraska 6 12
Penn State 5 13
Northwestern 2 14

A week into the season, there has only been one result that breaks the assumptions. Michigan in tier 2 won at tier 3 Minnesota, bumping Michigan's projected record up to 11-7 and dropping Minnesota to 7-11. 

Wisconsin catches quite a break by not playing at OSU or MSU. I wll keep track of this throughout the season and post again if anything interesting happens.



January 6th, 2014 at 2:42 PM ^

We really need to beat OSU in Columbus. Without researching because I just don't want to, I don't think we have not defeated them there in football or basketball since the 90s.


January 6th, 2014 at 6:33 PM ^

First, let me say that I am massively opposed to the 1 play system the Big Ten currently institutes.  In my opinion, there should have been guaranteed 2 play rivalrly games years ago.  The fact that this isn't the case in 2014 is just ridiculous.

Having said that, this is totally going to bite Michigan BAD.  Michigan gets OSU on the road this year (who is arguably the best team in the Big Ten) and gets no home game.  Next year, Rutgers and Maryland are going to join the Big Ten and I personally guarantee that the entire Big Ten schedule is going to be redone for basketball.  My money is on either the same schedule happening or the miraculous return of a Michigan - OSU double play.  Essentially meaning that Michigan will be dealt a bad hand with a road game at OSU where it never evens out.  Basically just like next season's game at MSU in football.


January 6th, 2014 at 3:35 PM ^

Sparty is scary assuming Payne and Appling stay healthy.  Both are battling some injuries this season.  They are undisputed leaders who possess solid skill sets.  Dawson is a good player but not a game controller.  Harris is the worry guy - but he can be streaky as well - for as many games as he controls he can be almost absent in some (reminds me of GRIII). 

And, F the Buckeyes . . . That team lacks a consistent scoring threat.  As much as I like Craft on the defensive end - with all of the hand checking, floor slapping, and tight play through screens - he is a terrible offensive option.  Ross and Smith are each capable of scoring in bunches.  

None of this is predicting we sweep both, or even beat both, but just laying out the threat on each of the their teams.  I like the Big 10 this year - a lot of top end talented teams.  But, I just think everybody is kind of one-dimensional and can easily have an off night. 


January 6th, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

Sparty is the same team as last year sans one goon (Nix) --very good but not scary good.  

They are built to grind through the B1G and always win 2-3 games from Izzo's pure whining alone. 

I think they will win the B1G Regular season by a few games, lose in the B1G Tournament to wiscy or Ohio and lose in the Sweet 16 when the refs start enforcing hand checking and their shooting comes to bear.   But that's Sparty, year in and  year out.  

We are rebuilding this year whether we want to admit it or not.  We don't have point guard play (Trey level or otherwise)  to go very far int he league or the tournament.  I see us finishing 4th or 5th behind Sparty, OSU, Wiscy, and Iowa, making it as a bubble team and then losing in the second round. 

If Mitch comes back and Belien starts giving Spike more minutes, we could make the sweet 16, or beyond.    

Next year we'll be a top 3 big ten team, but only if Mitch returns.  Otherwise we descend to a lower tier.  The recruting has been tepid. 


January 6th, 2014 at 6:16 PM ^

This seems to be the pretty realistic scenario except I am higher on the team next year even without McGary. Stauskas, LeVert, Walton, and Irvin form a pretty good core group of players and then Donnal will be off a red shirt. Also the 2014 class while not a top 10 class is still very solid. We will be fine.

Also just need to make the tourney this year and then see what happens. Probably not wise to expect a championship but this is probably a more talented team than the one that took Duke to the wire in Darius Morris's final year.


January 6th, 2014 at 3:08 PM ^

I am absolutely convinced that evey year the powers that be in the B1G scheduling office look at Wisconsin, MSU & OSU and try and figure out who will suck the following year and who will be really good.  The suck teams they get to play twice and the good teams they play only once and always at home (if possible).  It's amazing to me how frequently those schools get insanely lucky in scheduling - almost to the point where I wonder if it's actually just "luck" anymore.

EDIT: This was an EXCELLENT thread post by the way.  Great work!


January 6th, 2014 at 3:13 PM ^

Easy on the conspiracy theories.

It's an unabalanced schedule.  Sure, if you randomly pick 3 teams one of them is going to have what someone (especially a fan of a rival) thinks is an easy schedule.  Especially since those are the top 3 teams and any opponent is going to be a "lesser" opponent other than each other.

Indiana Blue

January 6th, 2014 at 4:21 PM ^

Check out the last 6 years of B1G MBB and see who has won the conference.  Its been MSU, ohio, Wisconsin, IU, Michigan and Purdue ... with ohio having more in the last 6 years than anyone.  The B1G schedule should never allow the above teams to not have home and home games during the season ... and guess what Michigan plays every one of these teams away first (except Purdue - who cares).  This also occured last season and it was a huge factor in Michigan not winning the regular season.

The better teams need to ALL play the same "tough" teams home and home.  Let the variable be with the lower caliber teams.

Go Blue!


January 6th, 2014 at 3:10 PM ^

10-8 basically assumes we win every game we are favored in - it's a safe bet.  I'll go to 11-7 because I'm a risk taker.

Also, definite McGary / Ewing Theory potential here.  Especially if Glenn continues to step up on the offensive end and our freshmen get better as the season goes along.  I really like the potential of this team, but definitely recognize the 2012-2013 version would absolutely demolish it.  


January 6th, 2014 at 3:25 PM ^

Before that, '08 Wisconsin. '05 Illinois had one loss but there were two fewer games then.

It used to take 15 wins to win the conference and 16 wasn't unusual. In the 14 years starting with 1983-84 the conference champion had

  • 17 wins once
  • 16 wins three times
  • 15 wins eight times
  • 14 wins twice

Then the schedule went to 16 games for a while.

That hasn't happened so much recently, but I think that was because Carmody was winning games Northwestern historically couldn't. With their return to true doormat status we'll start to see bigger win totals at the top.



January 6th, 2014 at 5:47 PM ^

Wisconsin will be 16-2 if they continue to get calls like last night.They are not top 5,no way.Dekker was 0-9 till 2 minutes left,looked like shit and Jackson had like 7-8 turnovers.Don't blame Mccaffery for going nuts, he is tired of getting screwed there every year.Overall,Iowa has a lot more talent than Wisconsin and wouldn't be surprised to see Iowa make a tourney run.A very deep team,just got screwed by their coach and refs last night.



January 6th, 2014 at 3:17 PM ^

Michigan has a great schedule for the team we are this year.  A chance to start 4-0 and let our insanely young team find their roles while still getting a couple winnable road games (@ Minnesota, Nebraska) under their belts.

Throw in our game at ISU and I think we can go into Wisconsin and put up a great effort.


January 6th, 2014 at 3:39 PM ^

Not saying your right or wrong, just the facts (basketball one-offs):

2013-14: vs. MSU, vs. OSU
2012-13: @ Indiana, vs. Michigan
2011-12: @ Michigan, vs. Indiana
2010-11: vs. Minnesota, @ Iowa
2009-10: @ Minnesota, vs. Iowa

I couldn't find a site that described the exact scheduling protocol, but it's pretty clear there was one.  You play your one-off's two years in a row like home and homes.  Not really a conspiracy.  Don't know how Michigan State and Ohio State were both home games this year, but if they are both away games next year, then it would make sense.

snarling wolverine

January 6th, 2014 at 4:23 PM ^

It's probably confirmation bias, but it seems like UW gets an easy draw more than they should.  I can picture Bo Ryan, wearing a skipper's hat and boating shirt that's one size too small, marching into the league office in July and berating the various people in charge of releasing the schedule. 

BTW, teams get four one-offs, not two.  You play seven teams twice and four teams once, for a total of 18 games.  

When we go to 14 teams, the schedules are going to be really out of whack.  If we don't expand the schedule, teams are going to play five opponents twice and eight (!) opponents once.



January 6th, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

That's the start of the new divisions coming through, though, right?

That means they get Penn State and Nebraska and Iowa.

The historical stength of the divisions will be interesting.  There's going to be imbalance if Michigan can get back to what they should be.

Maize and Blue…

January 6th, 2014 at 4:53 PM ^

are on their side.  Their cross conference opponents are Maryland and Rutgers, so they avoid PSU too.  I can see them being favored in every game but the season opener vs. LSU.

They pay for it in 2016 as their first 5 Big games are @ M, @MSU, OSU, @Iowa, Nebraska.  They also open with LSU at Lambeau.


January 6th, 2014 at 3:27 PM ^

finish the season 11-7 with a winning streak to end the year which would project them to be tied with 4th with Iowa.  That sounds about right to me.

Also, Michigan and Iowa are underrated to the human's eye because they are better than they're given credit for.


January 6th, 2014 at 3:38 PM ^

Here's a major site that is mostly agreeing with you - I was just looking at this a little while ago and then saw this thread. (LINK)

The link is actually to their Bracketology page, but it gives Big Ten projected records (courtesy of their algorithm). Your first two tiers actually match their prediction for seeded tournament teams as of right now. 

Very interesting way to look at this. Thanks for sharing!


January 6th, 2014 at 3:38 PM ^

i looked at UM's schedule in three equal parts.  first 6 games are fairly easy; hopefully 4-2 at least.  2nd set is really tough - hope for 2-4.  The final 6 are easiest.  We could be favored in all of those games (except maybe msu at home).  hopefully, we can close out strong at 5-1.  That's 11-7.

Here's to good health for the team going forward to make this a reality.

Also, I almost want to win at Madison this year more than at EL to get that monkey off our back.  That said, I think MSU wins the BIG at 15-3.  UW with 4 losses; OSU with 5.