Let’s start with the title.
IU has a share clinched. They are 2 games clear of MSU, Wisconsin, Maryland and Iowa with 2 left to play.
IU wins outright by either beating Iowa at Iowa or Maryland at home.
All the others need IU to lose twice and to sweep their remaining two games. Those are:
MSU – @ Rutgers, home against Ohio State
Iowa – Home against IU, @Michigan
Wisconsin – @Minnesota, @ Purdue
Maryland – Home against Illinois, @IU
THOUGHTS – MSU is going to be 13-5. I don’t feel ultra confident about any of the other three sweeping their remaining games. On paper, you’d give Iowa a decent shot but with the way they’re playing, it won’t be shocking at all if they lose BOTH of their remaining games. Senior day against IU with a chance at a share of a title still on the line would be enough motivation that you’d hope it could overcome even Fran McCaffrey’s unreal tightening of his shirt collar, but man…who knows at this point? Ditto for them at Michigan, a team reeling with its own problems but on the road? Toss up.
I think Wisconsin loses at Purdue.
Maryland is the key from an MSU perspective. They give you only a tiny, tiny bit more reason for faith than Iowa but they certainly have the capability of putting it all together for one game at Assembly Hall.
My gut is that IU loses at Iowa and beats Maryland. That would mean IU wins it outright at 14-4 with MSU and Iowa at 13-5 (I think they’ll rally to beat Michigan on the road as well) and Wisconsin and Maryland at 12-6.
MSU is the only Big Ten team with a shot at a 1 seed. IU cannot get there…their non conference and relatively pedestrian computer poll rankings eliminate that possibility. I think with a BTT title, IU might be able to get as high as a 3…maybe.
Maryland is the other team with a shot at a top 3 seed IMO but as with IU, they have work to do. If they lose one more regular season game as I expect, might be tough to pull that off unless they can win the BTT.
Iowa’s in free fall. KenPom has them 14th. Sagarin has them 16th, as does BPI (and that last one doesn’t capture today’s loss, so they’ll be even lower). Minus a sweep this week and a strong BTT performance, I could see them looking at a 5ish type seed…seems the ceiling is likely a 3 and that might be too optimistic….would seem to require a lot of screw ups outside the Big Ten but this year, that’s possible.
The other teams under discsusion are probably looking at the 6-10 lines. Purdue and Wisconsin stand the strongest…Michigan is gasping for air and Ohio State is still a long shot, even with today’s win.
THOUGHTS – This is a very tough discussion to have, even this close to the finish line, because there are so many moving parts nationally and so few teams you can really feel good about putting your faith in to win games. I suspect MSU, IU and Maryland will be seeded to get through to the second weekend with Iowa and Purdue perhaps just outside that range (so 5-6ish). It’s going to be a wild, wild Selection Sunday.
The automatics are MSU, IU, Iowa, Maryland, Purdue and Wisconsin. They’re all in firmly, IMO…if there was any lingering question about Wisconsin, I think that ended with tonight’s win over Michigan. They’re going to end up with at least 12 conference wins and likely a top 30ish KenPom and Sagarin rating. They’re in.
So that leaves Michigan and Ohio State as possibilities, assuming no insane BTT run from a bottom 6 team (and with the way these things work now, with teams having to play 4 or even 5 games from that end of the standings, it’s less likely than ever that you see that happen). Let’s look at both:
Michigan – 10 conference wins with a home game against Iowa left. 34 in Sagarin (not bad). 45 in KenPom (not great, but not bid denying). 53 in RealTime RPI. 47 in BPI.
19-10 record overall against D1 teams. No “bad” losses (meaning no one outside the Top 100 RPI) and 3-9 by my count against Top 50 RPI teams.
COMPUTER NUMBERS – Not awful, not yet at least. Were they to lose against Iowa, they’ll all slip some but to me, those numbers add up to a more likely than not (but not safe) side of the bubble.
“REAL” NUMBERS – A somewhat less compelling case. The no bad losses thing helps. 3-9 against Top 50 certainly isn’t great but it’s not the bid killer you might think. What is less certain is how the committee will evaluate the “quality” of their losses against Top 50 teams. The suspicion is that it counts less than end results, but they just got waxed by good opponents and it happened a lot.
VERDICT – A win over Iowa would seal it for them. A loss there and I think they probably need one BTT win to feel safe. My gut says they get in but they are flirting with disaster.
Ohio State – 11 conference wins with a road game at MSU left (so that will be a loss…book it). 64th in BPI (should rise a bit with the Iowa win…maybe into the high 50s at best). 59 in Sagarin. 64 in KenPom. 19-11 overall.
COMPUTER NUMBERS – Not good. None of the computer models help their case right now and even if they pulled off an upset over MSU, it’s hard to see them getting any higher than the mid to low 50s in any model. They’re outside of the RPI top 50 as well, FWIW.
“REAL” NUMBERS – They have the dreaded “bad losses,” three of them in fact. They’re 3-8 against Top 50 RPI’s, and likely to end up 3-9.
VERDICT – Hard to see it happening, barring a really strong run in the BTT. *Maybe* if they got to the final and lost it, that might squeak them in, but they’d probably have to hope for fewconference tourney upsets and a lot of things outside the Big Ten to break their way. The bottom line is OSU really lost their bid when they went and lost to some really bad teams in November.