Making predictions: fun! Looking back on predictions: less fun! But that is what this post is about. I promise some thought-provoking stuff soon.
There are only a handful of conference games left and we have a pretty good idea as to the quality of the conference simulations run back on January 3rd. The facts are below, but really all you need to know is that based on the predictions for the favorite, one would have expected 20 of the predictions to have been correct. The best guess now is that 16 will hit, which is further proof that my game percentages are a little hot (especially for games in the distant future). That effect that gets magnified over 16-20 games.
Percentages aside, it appears that every champ will have been in the top four choices of the simulations (Wisconsin, Memphis, or Bethune Cookman could change this) and 27 of the conferences will come from the top three. Listed here are the chances for the favorite and then the chances for any current contender. I’ll cross out each favorite as they are effectively eliminated from receiving its conference’s one-seed.
ACC: Duke (94%).
Currently: Duke holds a one-game lead over UNC (3%, 2nd highest). The race is definitely not over with the season-finale between the two in Chapel Hill, where a Tar Heel win would throw the race to an arbitrary tiebreaker.
Pac-10: Washington (91%).
Currently: Arizona (7%, 2nd) is a game ahead of UCLA (0.3%, 5th) and has two fewer losses than Washington with six games to go. The race isn’t over, but Arizona’s schedule is favorable enough (four of the last six at home) that they’re in very good shape.
WAC: Utah State (91%). Currently: The Aggies are three games clear of the nearest competition with four games left.
Atlantic Sun: Belmont (90%). Currently: The Bruins are two games ahead of East Tennessee State (2%, 4th) with four games left.
Big Ten: Ohio State (88%). Currently: The Buckeyes lead Wisconsin (0.7%, 5th) by two games with six to go.
Big 12: Kansas (84%). Currently: Texas (6%, 2nd) leads Kansas by two games with six games left. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker, so barring a spectacular Longhorn collapse this one will go down in flames.
Summit: Oakland (82%). Currently: Oakland leads IUPUI (3%, 4th) by three games with four to go.
Southland: Stephen F. Austin (82%).
Currently: The Southland has divisions, which I’m ignoring in just predicting the best record in the conference. At any rate, five teams have either three or four losses with five to seven games remaining. The Jacks have four losses but are still projected as the most likely conference champ. However, with so many teams involved, odds are against them winning it. Unfortunately for my credibility, Texas State was given just a 4 in 10,000 chance and has a viable shot right now.
Big Sky: Montana (80%).
Currently: The Griz are tied with Northern Colorado (9%, 2nd) with three games left.
Horizon: Butler (79%).
Currently: Valpo (0.3%, 3rd) has one fewer loss than Cleveland State (21%, 2nd) and two fewer than Butler with three to four games left. There’s still a not-crazy scenario that involves Butler finishing in a three-way tie for first, but this one is looking pretty bleak.
Great West: South Dakota (78%).
Currently: The Coyotes are nowhere to be found and it looks like Utah Valley (17%, 2nd) will win the top seed in the GWC tourney.
Big West: Long Beach State (73%). Currently: The Beach is two games clear of Cal Poly (.05%, yikes) with four games left.
Big South: Coastal Carolina (72%). Currently: The Chanticleers are one of three conference unbeatens left, and with three games to go, are in great shape.
SEC: Kentucky (63%).
Currently: The Wildcats have been competing with Washington as the best team to produce so many losses. Looks like either Florida (6%, 3rd) or Alabama (1%, 5th, a better shot than most gave them) will be the surprise champion, in as much as the SEC has one.
Patriot: Bucknell (63%). Currently: The Bison are two up on American (24%, 2nd) with four to go.
WCC: St. Mary’s (61%). Currently: The Gaels are two up on Gonzaga (37%, 2nd) and San Francisco (0%!) with three to play.
MEAC: Hampton (60%).
Currently: Hampton is tied in the loss column with Bethune Cookman (1%, 5th) and Morgan State (28%, 2nd).
Atlantic 10: Temple (55%).
Currently: Xavier (4%, 4th) is in the driver seat after beating Duquesne (11%, 3rd) who, along with the Owls and Richmond (27%, 2nd), is one game back with six to go. Temple has a very favorable closing schedule, with a 40% chance of finishing with two losses, though.
SWAC: Texas Southern (54%). Currently: TSU has two fewer losses than Jackson State (42%, 2nd) and Mississippi Valley State (3%, 3rd) with seven games remaining.
SoCon: College of Charleston (53%). Currently: C of C has two fewer losses than Furman (15%, 3rd) or Wofford (13%, 4th) with four to play.
CAA: George Mason (53%). Currently: Mason has a one-game lead over VCU (6%, 4th) with three to play. But they have to play at VCU tonight.
Sun Belt: North Texas (53%).
Currently: The Mean Green is a woeful 5-6 in conference play. Florida Atlantic (13%, 3rd) is in the driver’s seat.
Conference USA: UCF (52%).
Currently: UTEP (19%, 2nd) has one fewer loss than UAB (10%, 3rd) and Memphis (7%, 5th) with seven games left.
NEC: Quinnipiac (49%).
Currently: The Fighting Pollsters are out of it. Long Island (4%, 4th) is a heavy favorite now.
MVC: Wichita State (48%).
Currently: The Shockers are tied with Missouri State (46%, 2nd) with three games left, include the season finale between the two in Springfield.
America East: Vermont (47%). Currently: UVM is two games up on Boston University (17%, 3rd) with three to go.
Ivy: Princeton (47%). Currently: The Tigers are 7-0 at the midway point of Ivy play, leading Harvard (46%, 2nd) by a half-game.
OVC: Austin Peay (44%).
Currently: Murray State (35%, 2nd) is a game ahead of Morehead State (21%, 3rd) with three left. APSU is two games back, in third.
Big East: Pitt (44%). Currently: Pitt is two clear of Notre Dame (2%, 7th) with five left to play.
MAAC: Iona (43%).
Currently: The Gaels are tied for 2nd, three games behind Fairfield (27%, 2nd) with three to play.
MWC: BYU (43%). Currently: BYU is tied with San Diego State (25%, 3rd) with five games left, including a game between the two in San Diego.
MAC: Ball State (38%).
Currently: The Cardinals were unable to take advantage of a weak MAC West are 6-5 in MAC play. The champ is probably going to be Kent State (18%, 2nd).