18 November 2015

Preseason Expectations for Undefeated or Winless 2016 B1G Records

From the get-go Wisconsin was the big story for the 2015 B1G season.  The Badgers were a clear favorite to win the conference with a realistic chance to go undefeated in conference play.  On the other side of the coin Northwestern and Rutgers were anticipated to do battle for the B1G basement.  Wisconsin and Rutgers lived up/down to those expectations though the Badgers did have a couple of stumbles along the way -- most notably the stunning upset at Rutgers.

While the expectations for the cream of the crop and conference laggards were pretty clear last season, the 2016 season expectations are muddier at the top due in part to massive losses to graduation/NBA up in Madtown. According to kenpom -- nipping at the Badgers' heels for B1G supremacy this year are the Hoosiers, Wolverines, Sparty, Purdue, and Maryland.  At the bottom end of the pack Rutgers is a clear favorite for the cellar.

We will have much more on 2016 preseason expectations for all the B1G teams in a bit.  But in the spirit of tapping into fans' ubiquitous preseason daydreaming prior to the reality of actual play settling in -- we wanted to give a snapshot look at what are your favorites team's chances for going either undefeated this season.  We also figured to take a look at the nightmare winless scenario while we were at it. Please note that this analysis is based on preseason expectations and does not factor in the results of early non-conference games such as Wisconsin's upset loss to the Leathernecks or Sparty's nice win over the Jayhawks last night.

Not surprisingly highest ranked #9 Wisconsin was the most likeliest team to go undefeated.  Though "most likeliest" is a relative term.  18-0 is quite unlikely to happen for the Badgers with odds of an undefeated season occurring once in every 2,634 simulations .  The Hoosiers are next on the list and in the same ballpark as the Badgers with odds of 3,625:1 against an undefeated season.  Rutgers has a laughable one 1.3 quadrillion shot at 18-0, and Nebraska and Penn State are looking at odds in the multiple billions against the unthinkable actually happening.

Unfortunately for Rutgers there is a small but realistic chance that they go 0-18 this year.  The kenpom statistics suggest that if the B1G season were played out 58 times then one of those seasons would be a winless nightmare for the Scarlet Knights.  Nebraska and Penn State have minuscule chances at going winless as well.