Big Ten Tiebreakers

Between now and March 4th, there are 18 Big Ten games. Each team plays than 3 games, starting today. Now is the time to start looking at some tiebreaking scenarios. Some seeds will be decided heading into March 4th, but others will involve the Big Ten’s Tiebreaking Procedures.

Before we get into that, let’s review the Big Ten’s Tiebreaking Procedures. To see a composite view of how each team has performed in the Big Ten against the others, click here. The Big Ten breaks down the tiebreakers by two team ties versus multiple team ties.

Two Team

1. The first tiebreaker is head to head. Pretty easy where there is one meeting between the two teams or where there are the two meetings and the same team wins both. Where there are two meetings and the meetings result in different winners, the Big Ten directs the next tiebreaker be used.

2. Each team’s record against the team who finishes the highest in the final regular season standings. The highest winning percentage prevails here, so 1-0 is better than 1-1, but 2-0 and 1-0 are treated the same. With an added twist, the Big Ten directs where the comparison is done among another set of teams with tied records, the two teams are to be compared based on the collective record of that group of tied teams, rather than individual teams. Assuming the teams are still tied, move onto the third tiebreaker.

3. Win-loss percentage of all Division I opponents. Simply put, add up the wins and losses of the opponents of the tied teams (provided they are Division I teams). The team with the higher percentage will be the better seed. Where teams are still tied, the final tiebreaker is used.

4. Coin toss directed by the Commissioner’s office.

Multiple Team

1. The first tiebreaker is head to head. Team with the highest winning percentage against the other tied teams prevails. That team is seeded ahead of the rest. To sort out the remaining teams, the Big Ten directs that the next team is seeded according to the winning percentage against all tied teams, not just the remaining ones. Assuming there are still tied teams, the Big Ten directs procedures 2 through 4 from the Two Team tiebreakers are used.

Actual scenarios are after the jump. Records listed are conference records, only.

Illinois


Record: 5-10


Highest Potential Seed: 7th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th


Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Nebraska (won-January 7th; lost-February 18th, by 1-0 record against Michigan State); Northwestern (won-January 4th; lost-February 5th, by 1-0 record against Ohio State).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Indiana (February 9th); Minnesota (won-December 27th; lost-January 28th, by 0-1 record against Indiana); Penn State (January 19th); Purdue (December 31st and February 15th); Wisconsin (January 22nd).

Remaining Games: Iowa, Michigan, @ Wisconsin.

Notes: In last Friday’s post, I said the Illini were an NIT team. Two losses later, including a 23-point loss at Nebraska, it all but looks to be confirmed. Illinois has lost nine of their last ten, with an average margin of defeat by nine. Illinois could theoretically finish tied with Purdue or Indiana, but not both (Indiana and Purdue still play each other), but are a combined 0-3 against those teams. Illinois has the toughest remaining schedule in the Big Ten, with their last three opponents winning an average of 60% of their conference games.

Indiana


Record: 8-7

Highest Potential Seed: 2nd

Lowest Potential Seed: 9th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Illinois (February 9th); Northwestern (February 15th); Purdue (February 4th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Iowa (won-January 29th; lost-February 19th, by 1-1 record against Michigan); Michigan (won-January 5th; lost February 1st, by 0-1 record against Michigan State); Michigan State (December 28th); Minnesota (January 12th); Ohio State (won-December 31st; lost January 15th, by 0-1 record against Wisconsin); Wisconsin (January 26th).

Remaining Games: @ Minnesota, Michigan State, Purdue.

Notes: Looking at the highest and lowest potential seeds for the Hoosiers, they can be seeded pretty much anywhere – it doesn’t help that they haven’t played a conference game since Sunday. Indiana has a chance to pick up a season sweep of Purdue and to split the season series against Michigan State. Note that Indiana will need Wisconsin to at least lose two of their three remaining games down the stretch to be in a good position for a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana is projected to play the toughest schedule in the Big Ten, has played the second toughest to date, and has the third toughest remaining schedule.

Iowa


Record: 7-8

Highest Potential Seed: 4th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Minnesota (January 4th and February 1st); Penn State (won-February 4th; lost-February 16th, by 1-0 record against Michigan); Wisconsin (December 31st and February 23rd).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Indiana (won-February 19th; lost-January 29th, by 0-1 record against Ohio State); Nebraska (January 26th); Northwestern (February 9th); Purdue (December 28th and January 17th).

Remaining Games: @ Illinois, @ Nebraska, Northwestern.

Notes: If you read my Bubble Watch article from earlier this week, you noticed that I had Iowa listed. Their record, RPI, and SOS suggest they shouldn’t even be considered. But the Hawkeyes own wins over Wisconsin (twice), Minnesota (twice), Michigan, and Indiana. Iowa has also won four of their last six games, but is 2-8 away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes remind me of the 2010-2011 Penn State Nittany Lions, who turned it on in the final weeks leading up to Selection Sunday. Iowa projects to play the easiest conference schedule and has the easiest remaining conference schedule.

Michigan


Record: 11-4

Highest Potential Seed: 1st

Lowest Potential Seed: 7th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (won-February 1st; lost January 5th, by 1-1 record against Michigan State); Northwestern (January 11th and February 21st); Ohio State (won-February 18th; lost-January 29th, by 1-1 record against Michigan State); Purdue (January 24th); Wisconsin (January 8th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Iowa (January 14th); Michigan State (won-January 17th; lost February, by 1-1 record against Ohio State)

Remaining Games: Purdue, @ Illinois, @ Penn State.

Notes: Michigan’s overtime win at Northwestern earlier in the week was huge. They picked up another win against a top 50 RPI opponent – on the road – for one. Additionally, that win put Michigan four games ahead of Iowa, meaning Iowa’s win over the Wolverines becomes irrelevant, at least for tiebreaking purposes on a head-to-head basis. Even then, the loss may still come back to bite Michigan, especially if the current standings hold true to form, except with Michigan tying MSU (would come down to record against Iowa, which MSU would win on). Michigan has played the toughest conference schedule to date, but has the second easiest remaining schedule.

Michigan State


Record: 12-3

Highest Potential Seed: 1st

Lowest Potential Seed: 4th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Michigan 1-1 (won-February 5th; lost-January 17th, by 1-0 record against Ohio State); Ohio State (February 11th); Wisconsin 2-0 (January 3rd and February 16th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: None.

Remaining Games: Nebraska, @ Indiana, Ohio State.

Notes: As of this moment, the Spartans hold all of the relevant tiebreakers and need only two wins, or a win and losses by Ohio State and Michigan, to earn the top spot in the Big Ten Tournament. If the Spartans were to pick one crucial game to win, it would be against Ohio State. Beating the Buckeyes would simultaneously knock Ohio State out of the Big Ten race. When it comes to the remaining Big Ten schedules, Michigan State is middle of the road – the sixth toughest remaining schedule. They have played the third easiest Big Ten schedule, to date.

Minnesota


Record: 5-10

Highest Potential Seed: 5th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (January 12th); Nebraska (February 5th); Penn State (January 15th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Illinois (won-January 28th; lost-December 27th, by 0-2 record against Michigan State); Iowa (January 4th and February 1st); Northwestern (won-January 22nd; lost-February 18th, by 0-2 record against Michigan State); Purdue (January 8th).

Remaining Games: Indiana, @ Wisconsin, Nebraska.

Notes: Minnesota’s NCAA Tournament chances are rapidly fading, having lost to Ohio State and Michigan State over the past ten days at The Barn. The Gophers are going to have some work to do between now and Selection Sunday if they want to make the Big Dance. Minnesota could finish tied with Indiana or Purdue, assuming one of them loses their remaining three games and Minnesota wins their remaining three; if Minnesota finishes tied with Indiana, they would win the tiebreaker with the Hoosiers, but if they finish tied with Purdue, they would lose the tiebreaker with the Boilermakers. Minnesota has played the third toughest Big Ten schedule to date; they will play the fourth easiest schedule down the stretch.

Nebraska


Record: 4-11

Highest Potential Seed: 7th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Iowa (January 26th); Penn State (won-January 11th; lost February 11th, by 1-0 record against Indiana).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Illinois (won-February 18th; lost-January 7th, by 0-1 record against Michigan State); Minnesota (February 5th); Northwestern (February 2nd);

Remaining Games: @ Michigan State, Iowa, @ Minnesota.

Notes: If Nebraska wins out, and Iowa loses out, the Cornhuskers will finish up 7th in the best-case scenario. More importantly, Nebraska is hoping to avoid finishing in last place in their first season in the Big Ten. Nebraska has won four of their last five games. By the end of the season, its expected Nebraska will have faced the third toughest schedule in the Big Ten. They have faced the fourth toughest conference schedule to date and face the fifth toughest schedule in their remaining three games.

Northwestern


Record: 6-9

Highest Potential Seed: 5th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Penn State (January 1st); Illinois (won-February 5th; lost-January 4th, by 1-0 record against Nebraska); Iowa (February 9th); Minnesota (won-February 18th; lost-January 22nd, by 1-0 record against Michigan State); Nebraska (February 2nd).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Indiana (February 15th); Michigan (January 11th and February 21st); Ohio State (December 28th); Purdue (January 28th and February 12th); Wisconsin (January 18th)

Remaining Games: @ Penn State, Ohio State, @ Iowa.

Notes: Northwestern’s loss to Michigan hurt, big time. The loss not only cost the Wildcats a great chance at another marquee win, after beating Michigan State earlier in the year, but also cost the ‘Cats seeding position in the Big Ten Tournament. Prior to the loss to Michigan, Northwestern could have, potentially, finished as high as second. Now, the best they can finish is 5th, behind Wisconsin due to their loss to the Badgers earlier in the season. Northwestern has had a middle of the road conference schedule to date; their remaining schedule is slightly easier than their schedule to date.

Ohio State


Record: 11-4

Highest Potential Seed: 1st

Lowest Potential Seed: 6th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (won-January 15th; lost-December 31st, (by 1-0 record against Wisconsin); Purdue (February 7th); Wisconsin (February 4th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Michigan (won-January 29th; lost February 18th, by 0-1 record against Michigan State)

Remaining Games: Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, @ Michigan State

Notes: Even if Ohio State loses out, and ties Indiana (would lose on tiebreaker via Michigan State series), the Buckeyes would be forced into an opening round matchup. If the Buckeyes win at least one of their remaining games, they will earn a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State has struggled a bit, as of late, winning only two of their last four. Ohio State has allowed 57.4 points per game, on average; they have exceeded that total in four of their last five games. The Buckeyes have played the easiest schedule to date, but things will get tougher for the Buckeyes – they play the toughest schedule down the stretch (tied with Illinois).

Penn State


Record: 4-11

Highest Potential Seed: 8th

Lowest Potential Seed: 12th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Illinois (January 19th); Nebraska (won-February 11th; lost-January 11th, by 1-0 record against Indiana).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Iowa (won-February 16th; lost-February 4th, by 0-1 record against Michigan); Minnesota (January 15th); Northwestern (January 1st).

Remaining Games: Northwestern, @ Purdue, Michigan.

Notes: Last season, the Nittany Lions turned it on right around this time, en route to a NCAA Tournament appearance, in Coach Ed DeChellis’s last season in Happy Valley. Penn State has struggled in their first season under Coach Patrick Chambers, being outscored by an average of three points per game. The Lions are 1-10 on the road (0-8 in the Big Ten), and only 10-5 at home (4-3 in the Big Ten). By the end of the season, its’ expected that Penn State will have played the second toughest schedule in the conference. They have the fourth toughest schedule of all Big Ten teams in their remaining games.

Purdue


Record: 8-7

Highest Potential Seed: 4th

Lowest Potential Seed: 8th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Illinois (December 31st and February 15th); Iowa (December 28th and January 17th); Minnesota (January 8th); Northwestern (January 28th and February 12th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Indiana (February 4th); Michigan (January 24th); Ohio State (February 7th); Wisconsin (January 12th).

Remaining Games: @ Michigan, Penn State, @ Indiana.

Notes: Even if Purdue drops all of their remaining games, they won the season series over Minnesota and Illinois – worst-case scenarios is an eight seed for the Boilers. Purdue still has an outside shot at a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, but will need a pair of Wisconsin losses. Purdue has won three of their last four, with an average margin of victory of 11. Purdue has played the fourth easiest schedule to date, but faces an easier schedule in their remaining three games.

Wisconsin


Record: 9-6

Highest Potential Seed: 2nd

Lowest Potential Seed: 8th

Relevant Tiebreakers-Advantage: Indiana (January 26th); Northwestern (January 18th); Purdue (January 12th).

Relevant Tiebreakers-Disadvantage: Iowa (December 31st); Michigan (January 8th); Michigan State (January 3rd and February 16th); Ohio State (February 4th).

Remaining Games: @ Ohio State, Minnesota, Illinois.

Notes: Because of their sweep by the Spartans, Wisconsin cannot earn the top spot in the Big Ten Tournament – they could still share in the Big Ten Title, but would need the teams in front of them, especially MSU, to lose. Wisconsin has dropped three of their last five, allowing an average of 62 points per game, well above their conference leading average of 51.7 points per game. Wisconsin will likely have played the second easiest conference schedule by the end of the season. The Badgers face the third easiest schedule out of all 12 teams.

Current Big Ten Standings (as of 2/24)

Picture_1_medium

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Maize n Brew

You must be a member of Maize n Brew to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Maize n Brew. You should read them.

Join Maize n Brew

You must be a member of Maize n Brew to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Maize n Brew. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker