Revisiting The Path February 9, 2013
Time to drag The Path back out of the closet. I thought it was done for good, but then DJ Beastmode + Griffey’s lay-in forced it back out. The Path To Nine Wins.
The best thing about The Path To Nine Wins? After we beat Ohio State, it was fairly apparent that we only needed 8 wins. After we beat Indiana, I’d say it’s a better than 60% chance that 7-11 gets us in. Andy Katz, Jeff Goodman, and other national talking heads are all repeating the same thing: 20-13 (7-11) with wins over Gonzaga, Butler, Ohio State, and Indiana probably gets us in the tournament. And that’s assuming a first round BTT loss. Win #21 or #22 before loss #13 and we’re probably in for sure. With only seven conference wins.
So here’s the path laid out back in early January (-1 for unexpected losses, +1 for unexpected wins):
at Purdue W (-1)
Ohio State L (even)
Minnesota L (even)
at Wisconsin L (even)
Northwestern W (-1)
at Nebraska W (-1)
Michigan L (-1)
at Michigan State L (-1)
Wisconsin W (-2)
Indiana L (-1)
at Minnesota L
at Northwestern W
Penn State W
at Michigan L
at Iowa W
at Ohio State L
Win at Minnesota, and somehow, we’re back to even. As in, on the path to 9-9 in the Big Ten, 22-10 overall, and a possible seven or eight seed. My original path to nine wins included a 4-7 start – win tomorrow, and we’re 4-7.
But even if we lose, I’d have to say that the tournament is still probable for us. We’d need 8 conference wins to be certain, and a win or two in the Big Ten Tournament would go a long way towards locking it up, but as of today, after the IU win, the tournament is squarely in play.
Which always takes me to my “pairs” exercise. We have eight remaining games – let’s pair up the most/least likely.
There’s really no chance we win at Michigan. There’s also no chance we lose to Penn State at home now that Ed Dechellis and Bruce Weber are gone. Remember, the pairs exercise goes like this: the odds that we lose at home to a Frazier-less Penn State are similar to the odds that we stroll into Ann Arbor and walk out with a victory. So let’s eliminate those two games. 1-1.
And we’ll do the same for at Ohio State and home vs. Nebraska. We’re not winning at Ohio State. Not after how we embarrassed them in Champaign. And we’re not losing at home to Nebraska. Not after how we embarrassed them in Lincoln.
So that’s 2-2. The next most likely loss is at Minnesota. The next most likely win is at home vs. Purdue. These two don’t feel quite as balanced as the other pairings, but after beating Indiana at home, combined with the fact that Indiana beat Purdue by 37 (at Purdue), I feel pretty good about beating the Boilers in Assembly Hall.
OK, we’re at 3-3. Which takes us to the two games that might make or break our season. At Northwestern, and at Iowa. If the games listed above play out as suggested, then that puts us at 6-10. Win in Iowa City and Evanston, and we’re 8-10 and a lock for the tournament. Split those two games, and we’re 7-11 with a pretty good shot to dance (a BTT win or two would be nice, though). Lose both, and that’s 6-12 (and hello NIT).
Of course. 19-13 (6-12) with a run to the Big Ten Tournament final to finish 22-14 (6-12)…