Sunday, February 14, 2021

Bubble watch - Big 10

Let's see how good this analysis holds up.

First impression:  conference is strong in the computers.  I see 5 high seeds coming, and some bubble teams getting dragged along kicking and screaming into the field.  I have 9 teams listed really does feel like all 9 would make it, but I think the chances of Minnesota or Indiana missing would be reasonable.


Ohio St (17-4) (11-4) NET 7 SoS 52
Vital signs:  8-3 vs. Q1, 2-1 vs. Q2, 7-3 R/N
Signature wins:  @Illinois, @iowa, @Wisconsin
Bad losses:  I suppose @Northwestern, maybe

5-1 record vs. Q1A.  All of those games were road games.  I think road wins, any road wins, will carry increased value this year.  You can forgive a couple road losses, when you can hide them behind other signature road wins.  A pretty obvious resume for the 1 line, and they can probably even absorb a couple blows and still be there.

Illinois (14-5) (10-3) NET 4 SoS 48
Vital signs:  6-4 vs. Q1, 4-1 vs. Q2, 5-3 R/N
Signature wins:  Iowa, @Penn St, Wisconsin
Bad losses:  not really

Merely 2-4 vs. Q1A means their seed upside may be limited.  Can they be a 1 seed?  I'm not sure there's enough top-end results to get home (it appears they have two late chances on the schedule to fix this).  Signature road win at Duke has faded to dust, it appears.  No real bad losses.  I see them projected as the top 2 seed right now.  That feels aggressive, but it appears it's part of a larger trend of aggressive seeding of B1G teams right now.  Or the rest of the country sucks right now.

Michigan (13-1) (8-1) NET 3 SoS 122
Vital signs:  3-1 vs. Q1, 4-0 vs. Q2, 3-1 R/N
Signature wins:  @Purdue, @Maryland, Wisconsin
Bad losses:  none

They're behind in games played, and this seems like a resume from which quantity of good results is lacking.  I expect some swings in valuation of this profile down the stretch despite the gaudy record.  I guess this depends on what the rest of the country is doing, but I see a lot of projected 1 seeds for them right now and I'm not sure I feel that aggressively about their resume yet to put them there.  That has to be an eye test play.

Iowa (15-6) (9-5) NET 8 SoS 85
Vital signs:  4-5 vs. Q1, 4-1 vs. Q2, 4-4 R/N
Signature wins:  @Rutgers, @Maryland, Purdue
Bad losses:  home to Indiana?

4-3 in true road games in conference play, and the NET, puts them higher than the record would first suggest.  Much like Illinois, they lack the juice to get to the top line at the moment.  With 3 signature road win chances though, this could change.  On one end, they could be this year's 10-loss team that ends up on the 3 line....or would win at Wisky/OSU/Michigan and get to the 1 line.

Wisconsin (15-6) (9-5) NET 16 SoS 136
Vital signs:  3-4 vs. Q1, 5-2 vs. Q2, 4-4 R/N
Signature wins:  Loyola, @Rutgers, @Maryland
Bad losses:  @Marquette?

I don't have much to say.  Obvious tournament team, borderline protected seed territory, some chances to improve the profile down the stretch.  Your stock 4 seed.

Should be in

Purdue (13-8) (8-6) NET 26 SoS 23
Vital signs:  3-7 vs. Q1, 6-0 vs. Q2, 5-7 R/N
Signature wins:  swept Ohio St (wait, what), @Indiana
Bad losses:  @Miami

They've beaten a probable 1 seed twice...and have lost their next 7 toughest games.  Ugh.  One of these profiles.  The SoS and NET numbers can very well save them, but the polarization in this resume makes me nervous.  What really, really makes me nervous is that they're just about out of quality win chances already based on the schedule.  I highly recommend beating Wisconsin at home here.

Rutgers (12-7) (8-7) NET 29 SoS 25
Vital signs:  4-6 vs. Q1, 3-1 vs. Q2, 3-4 R/N
Signature wins:  Illinois, @Maryland, Purdue
Bad losses:  @Michigan St?

This is the type of bubble team that ends up on something like the 7 or 8 line because their conference is so strong.  They've done juuuuust enough against opponents juuuust good enough to safely be in the field.  But this is a team that can't afford to be just, say, 4 games over .500 at the end of the year.


Minnesota (13-7) (6-7) NET 46 SoS 15
Vital signs:  4-6 vs. Q1, 1-1 vs. Q2, 0-6 R/N
Signature wins:  Michigan, Ohio St, Iowa
Bad losses:  Maryland

The flaw in this resume is obvious.  Get a road win, literally any road win.  3 signature home wins.  They need to do something on the road.  Literally anything.  Only 2 chances left though.  I don't care who they beat at home, they're out without probably 2 road/neutral wins.

Indiana (11-9) (6-7) NET 51 SoS 65
Vital signs:  2-8 vs. Q1, 5-0 vs. Q2, 6-5 R/N
Signature wins:  swept Iowa, Penn St
Bad losses:  Northwestern

So admittedly I don't know what to do here.  Bad overall record, not good enough against Q1.  The one thing saving them is all those road/neutral wins, but 5 of those fell in Q2 and Q3 against struggling power conference teams.  What do you do with that?  I would imagine road wins of any kind would be overvalued this year.  That plus the conference affiliation might save them.  Will likely be heavily debated by everyone down the stretch.

Somehow Penn St and Maryland are top 40 NET teams despite being below .500.  They can probably be safely ignored.  So can Michigan St with a NET of 91; I see that ranking being used aggressively as a filter by the selection committee.

1 comment:

HenryMuto said...

Ohio State's closing schedule is brutal. They already packed in the Q1a wins on the schedule with road wins over Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin and really didn't need to have return trips with Iowa and Illinois to close the year that can only damage the resume. They already beat them on the road so winning at home does nothing much for them while losing at home is a crusher when trying to acquire a #1 seed.

Closing schedule has 4 out of the last 5 games against Q1a games.

At Penn State (this is a Q1a game right now as they hang around 30 in the NET)
vs Michigan Q1a NET 3
At Michigan State (their lone "breather" game will still be brutally tough as MSU will be like a cornered animal needing a win)
vs Iowa Q1a NET 8
vs Illinois Q1a NET 4

I agree with you that they should be able to lose a couple of those and still hang on the 1 line because they have an overwhelming amount of Quad 1 wins and Quad 1a wins.

That said they could end up with 6 or 7 maybe even 8 losses counting the conf tournament.

7 or 8 losses won't get you a 1 seed plus the bias of the late season "swoon" even though it is a stacked schedule would cost them.