Welcome to the second of five installments where I run 10,000 simulations of each conference’s schedule to get a sense for which teams have a viable shot at winning their conference’s regular-season title. For those late to the party, see yesterday’s post, where we learned not to hand over the Big West’s NIT auto-bid to Long Beach State just yet. In today’s edition, we see that the AP’s #4 team is also the fourth choice to win its conference’s title and that a team that won at Cincinnati has the fifth-best chance of winning the Big South.
26. Big Ten (Predicted champ: Wisconsin, 66%)
We shall never speak of this again.
Wisconsin 6628 Ohio St. 2651 Indiana 549 Michigan St. 93 Purdue 73 Michigan 3 Minnesota 2 Illinois 0 Nebraska 0
25. Patriot (Lehigh, 63%)
Lehigh hasn’t lost by double digits all season despite a schedule that has included road games against Michigan State, Wagner, and Iowa State and a style that packs over 70 possessions into the average game.
Lehigh 6308 Bucknell 3343 Holy Cross 193 American 99 Lafayette 51 Army 5 Colgate 0
24. Atlantic-10 (Saint Louis, 62%)
Xavier’s recent collapse has made a mess of predicting the A-10, but for the purposes of this analysis it has boosted Saint Louis’s chances significantly. Each of the Billikens’ 11 wins has been by double-digits. After an eight-year hiatus, Rick Majerus makes a return to the Pit in Albuquerque on New Year’s Eve in what should be a tight, low-scoring game that will be worth watching before you head out to the evening’s festivities.
St. Louis 6238 Temple 1825 Xavier 754 Saint Joseph's 344 La Salle 332 St. Bonaventure 248 Dayton 106 Richmond 88 Duquesne 29 UMass 17 Charlotte 16 G. Washington 2
23. Big South (UNC Asheville, 62%)
UNC Asheville has but three wins against D-I competition, but they’ve been competitive against difficult opposition in their losses. This is all the more impressive considering they have one of the shortest teams in the nation, regularly putting a unit on the floor with nobody taller than 6-5.
NC Asheville 6181 Ch. Southern 1349 Coastal Carolina 1253 Campbell 767 Presbyterian 223 Winthrop 135 High Point 50 Gardner Webb 31 Liberty 7 VMI 5
22. SoCon (Davidson, 61%)
Nearly 97% of the SoCon simulations ended with a league title for either Davidson or College of Charleston, and while I’m wary of ultra-high percentages the deal with events involving multiple teams over multiple games, this doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. In the past eight days, the Wildcats have a semi-road win against Kansas, and the Cougars were winning at Louisville heading into the final media timeout. These two teams are a little different than the rest of the SoCon.
Davidson 6116 C. of Charleston 3556 Elon 132 Western Carolina 107 Wofford 41 Appalachian St. 24 Furman 15 Georgia Southern 7 Chattanooga 2 Samford 0
21. Big East (Syracuse, 61%)
Somehow, the Orange lead the nation in steal percentage and are second in block percentage and yet their defense isn’t dominant. (Partial explanation: anemic defensive rebounding.) The Orange have been consistently fantastic on offense, though, scoring at least a point per possession in all but one game. They get one additional game against the five Big East bottom dwellers compared to Marquette giving them a little more room for error in this analysis.
Syracuse 6077 Marquette 1209 Georgetown 984 Louisville 805 Connecticut 544 West Virginia 231 Pittsburgh 57 Cincinnati 43 Seton Hall 34 Villanova 13 Notre Dame 4