23 January 2017

Northwestern Basketball: Updated 2016-2017 Expectations

The last we wrote on this blog about NU's 2016-17 prospects was in the preseason.  We are now 20 games into the season with just 11 more games to go in the B1G regular season.  Of course a lot can happen over a 20 game span of time.  For example, there is just this trivial matter of a reality TV show host becoming the 45th President of the United States. But we digress.  Onto more important matters, and on topico numero uno for this blog: how have NU's prospects evolved since the preseason?  Let's dig into that a bit.

The first chart below shows NU's preseason expectations for B1G play.  The most likely outcome was an (8-10) record and on a weighted average basis NU was expected to go (8.3-9.7).  As we wrote at that time, we translated those expectations into a likely NIT bid for the 2016-17 season.

This next chart shows NU's current expectations for B1G play.  The most likely outcome has substantially improved to a (12-6) record and on a weighted average basis NU is expected to go (11.51-6.49).  On both accounts is reasonable to say that -- so long as NU performs as expected** from here on out -- NU HAS A DANCE DATE COME MARCH 16 OR MARCH 17 IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING LOCALES:


If NU were to just squeak into the NCAAs and play in the First Four, then Dayton OH would be the scene of history making on MARCH 14 or MARCH 15.  

*** Of course things won't go exactly as expected.  Still let's assume that there is a 100% shot of NU dancing at 11-7 or better, a 40% shot at 10-8, and a 10% shot at 9-9.  Then according to kenpom's data NU stands a 83% chance of making the NCAAs.

Suffice it to say that this has been a very pleasant season to date for NU fans.  In fact relative to preseason expectations there isn't a happier B1G fan base at the moment.  NU's 3.2 increase in B1G win totals leads all B1G teams with just Minnesota (a 2.9 win increase) within the same ballpark of outperforming preseason expectations.   

If NU can continue to stay on this pace and make the NCAAs then CCC is the odds on favorite for B1G COTY.   The kenpom data also indicate there is nearly a 10% chance that NU will get at least a share of the B1G regular season crown.  If that were to happen then CCC may be in line for national COTY honors.  

In the immortal words of Harry Caray, HOLY COW!!!!!!!!