Basketball

By the Numbers: Texas Tech’s Big 12 Outlook (Week Seven)

Well, well, well… After a three-game losing streak that sent the Red Raiders to 4-3 in conference play, and appearing dead in the water for a Big 12 title, Texas Tech has clawed its way back to a 7-4 mark and given itself a pulse as we head down the stretch. The three-game skid was marked by poor offense; missed free throws and layups against Iowa State, sloppy play against Baylor, and a putrid 45-point outing against Kansas State in Manhattan. In its three wins since that stretch, Tech has mustered two performances of 80+ points and a solid 66 on the road in Norman. Let’s hope they’ve figured things out offensively.

Anyway, let’s have a look at where the Big 12 stands with about a month left of the regular season. First, here is how the conference stacks up nationally in BPI ranking. There has been very little movement here from last week.

BPI Rank Team BPI
13 Texas Tech 14.3
14 Iowa State 13.6
18 Kansas 13.1
27 Texas 11
34 Baylor 10.1
36 Kansas State 10.3
38 TCU 9.9
39 Oklahoma 9.6
101 West Virginia 4.1
111 Oklahoma State 3.6

 

Next, here are the remaining seven conference games on Texas Tech’s schedule with their probability to win each game.

Opponent Chance to Win (%)
@ Oklahoma State 80.2
Baylor 79.5
Kansas 68.6
Oklahoma State 93.6
@ TCU 55.6
Texas 75.7
@ Iowa State 33.1

 

The average remaining win probability is 69.5 percent. Using that, we can calculate the probability that Texas Tech will finish with each remaining possible season record. For what it’s worth, BPI’s own projection has Texas Tech at 11.9 conference wins.

Big 12 Record Probability (%)
14-4 7.8
13-5 24.1
12-6 31.2
11-7 23.2
10-8 10.2
9-9 2.7

 

Finally, here are the odds each team has to win the Big 12 regular season title. This week, I’ve added BPI’s projected Big 12 win total for each title contender to illustrate how close this title race could end up being. The percentages exceed 100 due to the chance of a split title.

Team Chance to win Big 12 Projected Big 12 wins
Kansas State 48% 12.2
Texas Tech 36% 11.9
Kansas 30% 11.6
Iowa State 29% 11.5
Baylor 4% 10
Texas 4% 10

 

My Two Cents

As you can see, and as I predicted last week, 12 wins might be the magic number. I could see two or three teams splitting the title at 12-6. And if anyone can get to 13 wins, as things stand now it looks like they would have a great chance to win it outright.

What does that mean for Texas Tech? After they play the worst team in the Big 12 in Stillwater, four of their remaining six games will be in Lubbock. A win against the Cowboys on Wednesday plus holding serve at home (by no means a guarantee) against Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Texas would put Texas Tech at 12 wins. Add a win in Fort Worth on top of that, and Texas Tech is at 13 wins before they head to Ames in the Big 12 finale. Buckle up.

Key Big 12 Games

Here are some important Big 12 games to watch this week if you’re following the title race closely.

Monday

Kansas @ TCU. BPI has this as a tossup, giving Kansas a 51 percent chance to win. A win would position Kansas nicely, as this is one of the tougher games left on their schedule. Tonight, we are all Frog fans (puke).

Tuesday

Kansas State @ Texas. BPI gives Texas a 71 percent chance to win this one, which would be a huge boost to everyone else in the Big 12 currently looking up at Kansas State in the standings. Kansas State’s road game against Kansas is only a few percentage points tougher according to BPI. So a win in Austin would leave Kansas State alone in first place without many obvious obstacles ahead of them. Root for the Horns in this one.

Saturday

Baylor @ Texas Tech. BPI favors Tech heavily, giving them a four in five chance of winning. Still, there are major implications. If Baylor were to knock off Texas Tech, they would be inserting themselves back into the title race and leaving the Red Raiders without a clear path to 12 wins. I don’t need to tell you who to support here.

Iowa State @ Kansas State. This one is a tossup as well according to BPI, with the Cyclones getting a slight nod at 53 percent to win the game. This is great because one of them obviously has to lose, which helps Texas Tech. I imagine we should root for Iowa State regardless of what happens earlier in the week, but this is shaping up to be one of the most decisive games in the Big 12 title race (if not THE decisive game when all is said and done).

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