Basketball

By the Numbers: Texas Tech’s Season Outlook (Week Eight)

Last week I told y’all to buckle up, and I hope you’re still strapped in because the sprint to the finish line in the Big 12 title race is going to be insane. Texas Tech has put themselves firmly in the hunt after reeling off five of their last six in conference play. With a handful of conference games left for everyone, let’s see how BPI ranks the Big 12 as a whole.

BPI Rank Team BPI
10 Texas Tech 15.7
14 Iowa State 14.5
16 Kansas 14.1
29 Texas 11.3
35 Kansas State 10.4
36 Oklahoma 10.1
38 Baylor 10.1
39 TCU 9.4
107 West Virginia 3.8
125 Oklahoma State 2.9

 

How about the middle of this conference? Teams four through eight are about as close as they can be. But team five could very well win the league while teams seven and eight could very well end up in the NIT. The legacies of entire seasons come down to the slimmest of margins (something to keep in mind before we get to the Big 12 title picture…).

Here is Texas Tech’s outlook in each of its remaining five games. BPI is catching up to Texas Tech’s momentum from the last few games. For instance, the matchup in Fort Worth was a tossup with TCU slightly favored two weeks ago. Last week, Tech barely got the nod. Now, the Red Raiders are two-to-one favorites to win that one. Let’s hope BPI is accurate in terms of Texas Tech improving as the season goes along.

Opponent Chance to Win (%)
Kansas 72.9
Oklahoma State 95.9
@ TCU 65.5
Texas 82.3
@ Iowa State 37.9

 

The average remaining win probability is 71 percent, which comes out to the following odds of finishing with each remaining possible season record.

Big 12 Record Probability (%)
14-4 18
13-5 36.8
12-6 30.1
11-7 12.3
10-8 2.5

 

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for; here is the Big 12 title race according to BPI.

Team Chance to win Big 12 Projected Big 12 wins
Texas Tech 47% 12.5
Kansas State 42% 12.4
Kansas 34% 12.2
Iowa State 33% 12.1

 

My Two Cents

This title race is so much fun to watch unfold. Usually by this point in the season there are two teams with a real chance, and one is a decided favorite. Right now there are four teams with just about even odds, yet each one is more likely to come up short than to capture at least a share of the title (given all of their odds are below 50 percent).

Kansas State’s win over Texas was a big deal. The Wildcats had less than a 40 percent chance to win but they pulled it out. If they had lost, Texas Tech would really be in control of their own destiny with a head-to-head showdown against Kansas next on the schedule. If Kansas State wins the Big 12 outright or captures a share of it, that win against Texas will stand out to me as a deciding factor. Kansas was also a coin flip to beat TCU in Fort Worth and they pulled it off, so the only real help Texas Tech got last week was Iowa State’s win over Kansas State.

Key Big 12 Games

Monday

Kansas State @ West Virginia. The Mountaineers are reeling and just had three more departures from their roster. Still, this is a home game in Morgantown and BPI gives West Virginia a one in three chance to pull off the upset. Kansas State is a 7.5-point favorite, which is significant but certainly not insurmountable. With Dean Wade out for Kansas State (they’re 0-2 in Big 12 play without him), you just never know. Kansas State’s other game this week is at home against Oklahoma State, a much more certain victory. If Tech is going to get any help evening their Big 12 record with the Wildcats this week, it’s more likely to come from this matchup.

Saturday

Iowa State @ TCU. The Cyclones will be slightly favored as BPI gives them a 57.5 percent chance to win, but that’s far short of a guarantee. TCU didn’t help Tech last week when the Jayhawks won in Fort Worth, so the Frogs owe us one.

Kansas @ Texas Tech. This is the premiere matchup in Big 12 play this week, and looks like a de facto elimination game. Both teams have all week to prepare. Tech has a great chance according to BPI, but never consider Kansas out of the picture when it comes to Big 12 basketball. This will be a huge win or a devastating loss for the Red Raiders.

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