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Latest 2019 Big Ten Tournament Seeding Simulations

With data through Sunday 2/17

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, it looked like the top seed was a three-team race between Michigan, Purdue, and Michigan State. After a week of games that saw Purdue fall at Maryland and the Wolverines stumble in the Bryce Jordan Center, it’s still a three-team race, but Michigan State has the inside lane.

Before we get to the full results (based on 1000 simulations using KenPom data), let’s go over the tiebreakers again.

Two-Team Tie:

  1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular season.
  2. Each team’s record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings (or in the case of a tie for the championship, the next highest position in the regular-season standings), continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage. When arriving at another pair of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to their own tie-breaking procedures), rather than the performance against the individual tied teams. When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1, but 2-0 is not better than 1-0).
  3. Win/loss percentage of all Division I opponents.
  4. Toss of a fair coin

Multiple-Team Tie:

  1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular-season. When comparing records against the tied teams, the team with the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1, but 2-0 is not better than 1-0).
  2. After the top team among the tied teams is determined, the second team is ranked by its record among the original tied teams, not the head-to-head record vs. the remaining team(s).
  3. If the remaining teams are still tied, then each tied team’s record shall be compared to the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings, continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.
  4. Win/loss percentage of all Division I opponents.
  5. Toss of a fair coin.

The Results:

Here are the thoughts that occur to me as I look at this chart. If you have additional thoughts of your own, let us know in the comments.

  • Purdue has a higher average finish than Michigan because their schedule is much more favorable (i.e. they don’t have to play Michigan State twice), but Michigan is much more likely to end up as the top seed than Purdue by virtue of winning the sole meeting between the two teams way back in December.
  • Iowa and Maryland are both making a strong run at the double-bye, but for now Wisconsin is still projected to do slightly better than the Terrapins.
  • Speaking of strong runs, how about Illinois? The Illini are the most dangerous team in the Big Ten right now, and they have a 92.3% chance of avoiding playing on Wednesday. A month ago, most people wouldn’t have predicted that.
  • On the other hand, Indiana is in free fall. They have around a 23 shot at playing on Wednesday, and a nontrivial chance of evicting Penn State from the 14 line. The Hoosiers have a rough schedule and are not favored to win again until the final game of a season against Rutgers.
  • Indiana and Rutgers are two of the teams who are really close to one another in terms of average seed. Nebraska is right there with those two as well. Other sets of teams who ought to be worried about each game the other team plays are Purdue-Michigan, Wisconsin-Maryland, and Minnesota-Ohio State-Illinois. That last set, which is essentially a race for the 7 seed, is the most interesting, since any of those teams can win or lose against any team in the league.
  • The rise of Illinois and the fall of Indiana and Nebraska have been bad for the Big Ten’s projected number of NCAA Tournament teams. We’re an 8-bid league at this point, not 10.
  • Given the way Iowa keeps winning games at the buzzer, does anybody want to play them in the Big Ten Tournament? If chalk holds, the 6-seed Hawkeyes will face the 3-seed Wolverines on Friday. Iowa has already proven they can take down John Beilein’s team. The Hawkeyes might be a dark house candidate to cut down the nets in Chicago; they are capable of outscoring just about anybody.
  • I remain more convinced than ever that this year’s BTT will be the best in a long, long time.