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Stats Corner: Basketball Probabilities and Predicting Outcomes

Predicting MW Tournament results and Post-season tournament locations.

San Diego State v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

And then there was one. Almost, mostly. When there are 11 teams in the league not everyone can have a conference game, so Boise State is the left out team, having completed their regular season. It turns out there is still a lot to play for in the regular season and the post season. Therefore, this week on Stats Corner we are going to look at the probability of outcomes for MW teams going into their final regular season game. Probabilities are from playoffstatus.com

San Diego State

The biggest surprise in the Mountain West, and arguably the nation, has been the Aztecs. Currently, sitting at 27-1 they have locked up the regular season title, the number 1 seed in the conference tournament, and booked their ticket to the NCAA tournament. They still have a conference tournament title and number 1 NCAA seed to play for. While any lose hurts, I think there is a lot pressure off the team now and thanks to Wake Forrest putting a beat down on Duke, it’s not enough to forgive the Deacons for beating USU in football but a good first step, the Blue Devils are most likely out of the number seed conversation.

Probabilities

Beating Nevada 94%

Making 2nd Round of MW 100%

Making Semis 92%

Making Championship Game 73%

Tournament Champions 53%

Making NCAA Tournament 100%

Making NCAA 2nd round 85%

Making Sweet 16 54%

Making Elite Eight 31%

Making Final 4 16%

NCAA National Champions 5%

#1 seed 8%

#2 seed 38%

#3 seed 37%

Strangely enough, there is a better chance that the Aztecs will make Sweet 16 then they will win MW tournament. The probabilities are setting up San Diego State for a long post season run. Short of a 2nd round exit in the conference tournament, the Aztecs should be seed #1 or #2. They are currently ranked 5th in the NET rankings. Kansas and Baylor are most likely locks even though one of them has to lose another game. That leaves Gonzaga and Dayton ahead of them. I don’t think Gonzaga will get caught again by BYU, but I don’t see the committee seeding Dayton ahead of San Diego State if they will the MW tournament.

Prediction: MW Tournament Champions, #1 seed, and trip to Elite Eight.

Utah State

The Aggies have done a good job getting themselves back into the NCAA tournament conversation. Currently sitting at second in the conference, there is a chance they could drop to 4th. They are presently off the bubble, but they cannot afford a loss in the tournament to a school not known as San Diego State. If both San Diego State and Utah State loses in the tournament, I don’t see the committee letting three Mountain West teams, and in this case the Aggies would be out even if they make championship game.

Probabilities

Beating UNLV 90%

Earning 2nd seed MW 90% (beat New Mexico or Nevada loses to San Diego State)

Earning 3rd seed MW 3% (lose to New Mexico, and Nevada loses to San Diego State, and UNLV beats San Jose State)

Earning 4th seed MW 8% (lose to New Mexico, and Nevada beats San Diego State, and UNLV beats San Jose State)

Making 2nd Round of MW 100%

Making Semis 77%

Making Championship Game 43%

Tournament Champions 17%

Making NCAA Tournament 30%

Making NCAA 2nd round 14%

Making Sweet 16 5%

#9 seed 6%

#10 seed 12%

#11 seed 7%

The Aggies control their own destiny. Win on Saturday and they are the second seed, due to beating Nevada. There is a chance they could drop to 4th, but not likely. Making the championship game should be enough to get them into the NCAA, otherwise it is NIT.

Prediction: 2nd MW seed, Championship game, #10 seed NCAA, and finally win a NCAA tournament game.

Nevada

The Wolfpack will be either seeded second or third in the MW tournament. The only way they can make the NCAA tournament is to earn the automatic bid.

Probabilities

Beating San Diego State 6%

Earning 2nd seed MW 10% (beat San Diego State and Utah State loses to New Mexico)

Earn 3rd seed MW 90%

Making 2nd Round of MW 100%

Making Semis 57%

Making Championship Game 28%

Tournament Champions 10%

Making NCAA Tournament 10%

Making NCAA 2nd round 4%

#11 NCAA seed 8%

A 10% chance of winning the tournament, is the best outside of the Aztecs and Aggies, but if they Wolfpack make it they will be going only the Aztecs in the tournament. NIT is much more likely.

Prediction: 3rd seed MW, MW Semi-finals, NIT #3 seed.

UNLV

The Rebels can finish as high as 3rd or as low as 5th.

Probabilities

Beating San Jose State 63%

Earning 3rd seed MW 8% (beat San Jose State and Utah State loses to New Mexico, and San Diego State loses to Nevada)

Earning 4th seed MW 71% (beat San Jose State or Air Force beats Colorado State)

Earning 5th seed MW 22%

Making 2nd Round of MW 100%

Making Semis 45%

Making Championship Game 11%

Tournament Champions 4%

Interestingly enough, UNLV could finish as high has 3rd, but only have the 6th best chance to win the conference title. Colorado State and Boise State could be seeded lower and have a better odds to win. Absolutely have to win the tournament to get into NCAA tournament.

Prediction: 4th seed MW, MW Semi-finals, NIT #8 seed.

Boise State

Probabilities

Earning 4th seed MW 22% (UNLV loses to San Jose State and Air Force loses to Colorado St.)

Earning 5th seed MW 78%

Making 2nd Round of MW 100%

Making Semis 54%

Making Championship Game 14%

Tournament Champions 6%

The only ticket to the Big Dance for the Broncos is the automatic bid. More likely is the NIT.

Prediction: 5th seed MW, Semi-Finals MW, NIT# 4 seed

Colorado State

Probabilities

Beating Air Force 88%

Earning 6th Seed MW 100%

Making 2nd Round of MW 86%

Making Semis 43%

Making Championship Game 20%

Tournament Champions 6%

Despite having the six seed locked up, which other than the first seed, is the only seed that is finalized, the Rams has better odds of making the championship game that two teams seeded above them: Boise State and UNLV. At 6% chance of winning the tournament, that is the Rams only chance of getting an invite.

Prediction: 6th seed MW, Semi-finals, NIT #5 seed.

New Mexico

Probabilities

Beating Utah State 10%

Earning 7th seed MW 53% (beat Utah State or Fresno State loses to Wyoming and Air Force loses to Colorado State)

Earning 8th seed MW 35% (Air Force loses to Colorado State)

Earning 9th seed MW 11%

Making 2nd Round of MW 71%

Making Semis 18%

Prediction: 7th Seed MW, 2nd round exit

Fresno State

Probabilities

Beating Wyoming 75%

Earning 7th seed MW 47% (beat Wyoming and New Mexico loses to Utah State or New Mexico loses to Utah State and Colorado St. loses to Air Force)

Earning 8th seed MW 53%

Making 2nd Round of MW 56%

Making Semis 7%

Prediction: 8th Seed MW, 2nd round exit

Air Force

Probabilities

Beating Colorado State 12%

Earning 8th seed MW 11% (beats Colorado State and New Mexico loses to Utah St.)

Earning 9th seed MW 89%

Making 2nd Round of MW 42%

Making Semis 7%

Prediction: 9th Seed MW, One and done

San Jose State

Probabilities

Beating UNLV 37%

Earning 10th seed MW 75% (beats UNLV or Wyoming loses to Fresno State)

Earning 11th seed MW 25%

Making 2nd Round of MW 29%

Making Semis 2%

Prediction: 10th Seed MW One and done

Wyoming

Probabilities

Earning 10th seed MW 25% (beat Fresno State and San Jose St. loses to UNLV)

Earning 11th seed MW 75%

Making 2nd Round of MW 17%

Making Semis 2%

Prediction: 11th seed MW, season cannot end soon enough.