17 February 2016

B1G Projections: Stretch Run Edition

We last looked at the B1G projections in late January.  We are now entering the stretch run of conference play with teams having 4 or 5 games remaining.  Below is our summary of how the conference race has developed in the eyes of kenpom.

Above are the updated projected B1G standings.  Shown in white boxes are the most likely projected finishes for B1G teams that were based on preseason expectations.  Iowa continues to be the overwhelming favorite to finish in first place during the regular season.  Up from last look is Maryland which is also looking at a nearly 50% shot of earning at least a share of the 2016 B1G title.  Both have also exceeded their preseason expectations which means McCaffrey and Turgeon have to be in the running for B1G coach of the year.  Indiana is the only other team with a realistic shot at the title.  Way to go Clappy McBeltbuckle!

Wisconsin has had a roller coaster year.  After a disastrous non-conference slate that continued into the early B1G slate hangover and culminated with a loss at Northwestern in mid-January, the Badgers have gone on a tear.  Their 7 game win streak -- including a win at Maryland -- has the Badgers back up to a projected fifth place finish.  That is still below preseason expectations that had the Badgers battling for the title, but it is well above where things were projecting at the end of December when Bucky's NCAAs hopes looked to be dim.  Now it's hard to imagine Wisconsin not wearing its dancing shoes.  It's worked out pretty well for Greg Guard who effectively reset the expectations bar lower so that he could surpass it.  But will it be enough to convince AD Barry Alvarez to retain Guard for next season?

Minnesota fans could only hope for Wisconsin's rollercoaster season.  Their disaster of a season that began during non-conference slate has continued to be relentlessly bad during conference play.  Minnesota is still winless, and two huge games with Rutgers will determine which of these two sad teams finishes in the basement (maybe both!).

Despite beating NU by 10 points last night, Purdue fans must still feel pretty bad about how this B1G race has developed.  That is because Matt Painter set 'em up for high expectations during non-conference only to fall well short of those expectations during conference play.  Coach Painter, you need to get on the horn with Coach Guard to learn a thing or two about managing expectations.  

Last but not least.  For those curious about the projected win totals.... we're here for you: