03 November 2016

Preseason Expectations for Extreme 2017 B1G Records

Every year we like to have a little preseason fun by taking a look at the odds of B1G teams going undefeated or winless in the upcoming conference season.  Or, as one of my buddies call it, our perennial dump on Rutgers chart.

The standout figure on this chart is Rutgers' laughable one in 1.3 quadrillion shot at 18-0.  Unbelievably this is about the same as the odds Rutgers had at going 18-0 in 2016.  It's such a large number that it is in need of an example for some perspective.  My kenpom modeling requires simulating upcoming games to derive expected results such as win totals and relative standings.  My computer runs about 1,000 simulations per second.  To simulate just one Rutgers 18-0 B1G record in 2017 I expect that I would need to let the simulation run for 42,310 YEARS.  If Rutgers wants to kick in for a new computer that can run a million simulations per second then we could expect to continuously run simulations and produce evidence of a perfectly legitimate 18-0 observation for Rutgers fans by the end of the 2059 B1G season.  

Wisconsin is the most likely B1G team to run the table, but even the Badgers are very unlikely to do so.  Per the kenpom data they have but a one in 613 chance of completely punking the B1G.  Ohio State is the next most likeliest suspect to go 18-0, but the Buckeyes chances are just one in 7,028.  

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 79 times then one of those seasons would be a winless nightmare for the Scarlet Knights.  That's actually a slight improvement over 2016 preseason expectations when just one out of every 58 simulations had a winless Rutgers outcome.  

We have good and bad news for Northwestern fans.  The good news is that -- barring some terrible tragedy befalling the team -- there is virtually no chance the Wildcats go 0-18 this year.  The bad news is that there is an even much smaller probability that the team goes 18-0.  For most NU fans this is neither here nor there as eyes are still trained on that elusive NCAAs bid.  In a separate analysis we model that there is about a 12% chance that NU finishes with at least 11 B1G wins which is our rough guesstimate for ending The Streak.