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How Will the Big 12 Play Out (Updated)

This was a fun experiment last Sunday, so before the Saturday matchups, let's update where everything stands.  After we walk through the remaining games, we'll take a look at overall odds.  And I'll say this: there are five high-impact games left on the schedule for Mizzou, and they only actually play in three of them: 1) MU-KSU, 2) MU-ISU, 3) MU-KU, 4) UT-ATM, 5) UT-BU.  If Mizzou gets the right result in three of them (they need UT>ATM and BU>UT), they almost certainly get a first-round bye in the conference tourney.  Get only two, and they're probably out of luck.

Here are the current standings and seedings:

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 13-0 27-1
2 Kansas State 10-3 23-4
3 Missouri 9-4 21-7
4 Baylor 8-5 21-6
5 Texas 8-5 22-6
6 Texas A&M 8-5 19-8
7 Oklahoma State 7-6 19-8
8 Texas Tech 4-9 16-11
9 Oklahoma 4-9 13-14
10 Iowa State 3-10 14-14
11 Colorado 3-10 12-15
12 Nebraska 1-12 13-15

All of the teams favored (by Ken Pomeroy) to win the mid-week games did indeed win, so the standings above are exactly what we expected.  Tomorrow's games, however, are not only HUGE, but could be much less predictable.

Once again, Ken Pomeroy's projections and odds are in parentheses below.

February 22-March 1: Weekend Games

Texas at Texas A&M (UT 53%)
Iowa State at Colorado (CU 61%)
Texas Tech at Nebraska (NU 63%)
Missouri at Kansas State (KSU 67%)
Baylor at Oklahoma (BU 73%)
Kansas at Oklahoma State (KU 78%)

Mizzou's dominant performance over Colorado helped their odds a bit in each game, though it only helped by 1% in the MU-KSU game.

Really, the big game -- honestly, Mizzou's biggest non-Mizzou game remaining on the schedule -- is still Texas at Texas A&M.  Pomeroy's odds still favor Texas ever-so-slightly, and after their strong performance against Oklahoma State, I think I'm inclined to agree -- they showed they might be just fine without Dogus Balbay, and Dexter Pittman hinted that he might actually be ready to be good again.  Last time I did this walkthrough, I picked ATM despite UT's 53% odds, but for grins, we'll play out the scenario below as if UT is able to knock the Aggies off in College Station.  Wouldn't want you reading the exact same scenario as before.

Resulting standings:

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 14-0
2 Kansas State 11-3 24-4
3 Baylor 9-5 22-6
4 Missouri 9-5 21-8
5 Texas 9-5 23-6
6 Texas A&M 8-6 19-9
7 Oklahoma State 7-7 19-9
8 Texas Tech 4-10 16-12
9 Colorado 4-10 13-15
10 Oklahoma 4-10 13-15
11 Iowa State 3-11 14-15
12 Nebraska 2-12 14-15

A Mizzou win over K-State would give them not only a tie for second place in the conference, but also the outright tie-breaker.  They would control their own destiny for the 2-seed from there on out.  But there's still only a 1-in-3 chance (at best) of that happening, so most likely we'll have to get pretty familiar with the tie-break process for the #3-6 seeds.  If Texas beats A&M, however, suddenly those tie-break scenarios start to look a lot more favorable to Mizzou getting a bye in the Big 12 Tournament.  While the MU-KSU game doesn't start till 7pm tomorrow, the 1pm tip-off for UT-ATM might need to get its own live thread.

March 2-8: Mid-Week Games

Oklahoma at Texas (UT 94%)

Colorado at Nebraska (NU 67%)
Baylor at Texas Tech (BU 69%)
Missouri at Iowa State (MU 76%)

Oklahoma State at Texas A&M (ATM 72%)
Kansas State at Kansas (KU 81%)

After a weekend slate that sees four games with 67% odds or fewer (meaning, they're tossups or close to it), only one fits that bill for the upcoming mid-week games, and barely.  CU-NU is right at 67%, while Baylor-Tech comes in at 69%.  All six of these games have pretty likely outcomes, though of course upsets do happen.  No need to stray from these projections, however, so we'll say all of the projected winners do indeed win.

Resulting standings:

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 15-0 29-1
2 Kansas State 11-4 24-5
3 Baylor 10-5 23-6
4 Missouri 10-5 22-8
5 Texas 10-5 24-6
6 Texas A&M 9-6 20-9
7 Oklahoma State 7-8 19-10
8 Texas Tech 4-11 16-13
9 Colorado 4-11 13-16
10 Oklahoma 4-11 13-16
11 Iowa State 3-12 14-16
12 Nebraska 3-12 15-15

As you see, with a win over Mizzou, K-State all but clinches the 2-seed in the conference tourney.  Owning tie-breaks over Baylor and Texas A&M, the only way they could lose it is if they lose to ISU and Mizzou beats Kansas.  In that instance, since Mizzou and KSU would have split in the regular season, Mizzou would win the tie-break against them by having gone 8-2 against the North (losses @KU and @KSU) while KSU would have gone 7-3 (losses KU, @KU, ISU).  Of course, the chances of Mizzou beating ISU and KU AND K-State losing at home to ISU are slim, to say the very least.  2.7%, to be exact.  So KSU all but clinches the #2 Saturday night, unless Mizzou can pull an upset.

March 2-8: Weekend Games

And once again, the weekend brings about tighter games, with four of six at 65% or lower.  The biggest tossups, of course, are KU-MU and Texas-Baylor.

Kansas at Missouri (KU 55%)
Texas at Baylor (BU 57%)
Texas Tech at Colorado (CU 61%)
Texas A&M at Oklahoma (ATM 65%)
Nebraska at Oklahoma State (OSU 82%)
Iowa State at Kansas State (KSU 92%)

Whereas Texas could do Mizzou a huge favor by beating ATM, if they do that, then they can do us an even bigger favor by losing to Baylor.  A UT upset in Waco would give them the 3-seed at 11-5 and, combined with a Mizzou loss to KU, would drop Mizzou into the SIXTH seed by giving them a 3-way tie for fourth with Baylor and ATM.

(And being that they're Texas, this means they'll lose to ATM and beat BU, just to spite us.  And then they'll steal our spot in the Big Ten.)

(Just kidding.)


Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 16-0 30-1
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5
3 Baylor 11-5 24-6
4 Missouri 10-6 22-9
5 Texas 10-6 24-7
6 Texas A&M 10-6 21-9
7 Oklahoma State 8-8 20-10
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16

So if the slight favorites (KU and BU) both win, here's how we end up.  How does Mizzou end up ahead of ATM? Here's the relevant Big 12 tie-break rule:

(g) If three or more teams are tied, ties among divisional opponents will be broken first by using steps (b) through (f) and the head-to-head results will be used to break ties between non-divisional teams. When three or more teams from the same division are tied step (b) will consist of a mini- round robin among the tied teams. At any point during the process of breaking ties among three or more teams that the number of tied teams are reduced to two, head-to-head competition would be used as the primary tie-breaker, followed-by steps (c) through (f).

If Texas wins at College Station, that means they sweep that season series and beat ATM in the tie-break.  At that point, the head-to-head Mizzou-Texas meeting matters, and Mizzou gets the 4.  Obviously Mizzou can only win a tie-break with Baylor or Texas A&M if Texas (or K-State maybe) is involved.

Big 12 Tourney Pairings
8 Colorado vs 9 Texas Tech (winner plays 1 Kansas)
5 Texas vs 12 Nebraska (winner plays 4 Missouri)
6 Texas A&M vs 11 Iowa State (winner plays 3 Baylor)
7 Oklahoma State vs 10 Oklahoma (winner plays 2 Kansas State)

Fun with Probabilities

Here is the rundown of remaining games, broken up by odds.

Feb. 28: Texas at Texas A&M (UT 53%)
Mar. 7: Kansas at Missouri (KU 55%)
Mar. 7: Texas at Baylor (BU 57%)

Feb. 28: Iowa State at Colorado (CU 61%)
Mar. 7: Texas Tech at Colorado (CU 61%)
Feb. 28: Texas Tech at Nebraska (NU 63%)
Mar. 7: Texas A&M at Oklahoma (ATM 65%)
Mar. 3: Colorado at Nebraska (NU 67%)
Feb. 28: Missouri at Kansas State (KU 67%)
Mar. 3: Baylor at Texas Tech (BU 69%)

Mar. 4: Oklahoma State at Texas A&M (ATM 72%)
Feb. 28: Baylor at Oklahoma (BU 73%)
Mar. 3: Missouri at Iowa State (MU 76%)
Feb. 28: Kansas at Oklahoma State (KU 78%)

Mar. 4: Kansas State at Kansas (KU 81%)
Mar. 7: Nebraska at Oklahoma State (OSU 82%)

Mar. 7: Iowa State at Kansas State (KSU 92%)
Mar. 2: Oklahoma at Texas (UT 94%)

As I mentioned last time, the way Texas finishes will not only have a large impact on their own Big 12 seeding, but that of about five other teams as well.  They play two virtual tossups.

So once again, let's take a look at the projected standings above, only taking into account a team's "ceiling" and "floor" based on how many games they play that are at 75% or lower odds.  The ceiling is what happens if they win all games at 75% or lower, the floor is if they lose them all.

Seed Team Conf. Overall Realistic Ceiling/Floor
1 Kansas 16-0 30-1 16-0 / 15-1
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5 12-4 / 11-5
3 Baylor 11-5 24-6 11-5 / 8-8
4 Missouri 10-6 22-9 12-4 / 10-3
5 Texas 10-6 24-7 11-5 / 9-7
6 Texas A&M 10-6 21-9 11-5 / 8-8
7 Oklahoma State 8-8 20-10 9-7 / 8-8
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16 6-10 / 3-13
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14 7-9 / 4-12
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17 6-10 / 4-12
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17 4-12 / 3-13
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16 3-13 / 1-15

Biggest Range Between Ceiling and Floor

  • 3 games: Baylor, Texas A&M, Colorado, Texas Tech
  • 2 games: Mizzou, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska
  • 1 game: Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State

So with the volatility left on their schedule, either Baylor or A&M still has time to take a bit of a nose-dive.  They are both favored to win all three remaining games, but none of the games for either team are outside of the "safe" zone of 75%.  That said, they both have a remaining game that is close -- Baylor over Oklahoma is 73%, ATM over OSU is 72%.

More Fun with Probabilities

The good folks at Atomic Teeth projected out Mizzou's odds for a given seed in the Big 12 Tournament, and from what I can tell, they're basically dead on.

2 seed 17%
3 seed 26%
4 seed 27%
5 seed 24%
6 seed 5%

That is a 71% chance of getting a bye. Much higher than either one of us expected.

Honestly, we were rooting for ATM to take out Baylor the other night, but Baylor's win might have been a blessing in disguise.  There is a distinct path to a bye at this point, and Mizzou is either one upset (against KSU or KU) or some luck from making it happen.  I doubt many of us expected Mizzou to be competing for a bye again this season -- I mean, we knew it might be a possibility, but I don't think many straight up expected it -- and now after a result that we were rooting against, Mizzou might be in pretty good shape to cash in.

We'll have live threads going all day tomorrow.  Should be a fun day of Big 12 hoops.