We’ve got three conference games under our belts now, and with that comes some fresh data from a bunch of analytical sources. Believe it or not, Texas Tech’s standing improved in nearly every model despite the 1-2 start to Big 12 play. I’m not trying to feed anybody moral victories, and Texas Tech definitely has a lot to improve on. But playing close with Baylor and losing on the road to West Virginia is far from a worst case scenario. Here’s what the analytics say heading into the second week of conference play.
ESPN Basketball Power Index
BPI predicts the margin of victory for a team against an “average” team on a neutral court. Here is how the Big 12 stacks up nationally.
BPI predicts individual game outcomes as well. Here are Texas Tech’s odds to win each conference game. I’ve added a column showing the difference in predicted win percentage from last week.
|Opponent||Chance to Win (%)||Difference|
|@ Kansas St||61.9||+5%|
|@ Oklahoma St||48.2||+9.4%|
|@ Iowa St||44.5||+11.2%|
In 12 of its remaining 15 games, Texas Tech’s odds improved from the beginning of conference play, which seems counter intuitive coming off of consecutive losses. The average remaining win percentage is 56.9 percent, which we can use to calculate the probability of Texas Tech’s final conference record (I excluded possible records with less than a 5 percent chance of happening).
BPI gives Kansas (57.3 percent) and Baylor (50.3 percent) the best odds to win the Big 12. West Virginia is next at 14.5 percent, then Texas Tech with 1.5 percent, and the rest of the conference with less than 1 percent. The total percentages are more than 100 due to the possibility of a split championship.
“KenPom” is one of the most widely cited and well respected models for college basketball. Here is how KenPom has the Big 12 prior to conference play.
|National Rank||Team||KenPom Rating|
Sagarin is a model that predicts outcomes for many sports, including college basketball. Here’s how it has the Big 12.
|National Rank||Team||Sagarin Rating|
Eric Haslam has a model that predicts outcomes for every team in the country if it were to play any other team in the country on a home court, at a neutral site, or on the road. Here are his score predictions for Texas Tech’s two games this week.
- Texas Tech 62, Kansas State 58
- Texas Tech 73.5, Iowa State 66.5
- NET rating: 35
- This is up seven spots from before conference play began. The two teams Texas Tech lost to last week are ranked 1 (Baylor) and 11 (West Virginia) in NET.
- RPI rating: 93
- Texas Tech’s RPI isn’t very good, but is better than it was prior to Big 12 play and will continue to improve as the strength of schedule improves. The Big 12 has three of the top seven RPI teams in the country right now (West Virginia 1, Kansas 2, Baylor 7)
- Bracket Matrix: 7 seed
- Again, Texas Tech improved from where they were prior to their 1-2 start.
- Haslam: Eighth team out (Note: his tournament predictions are based on how the committee would judge each team’s resume if the season were to end today – not a prediction of where things will be at the end of the year. This should get a little more accurate as the season goes on.)
My Two Cents
Baylor put itself in excellent position by winning road games in Lubbock and Lawrence last week. For now, I think it’s best if fans set aside any hopes or talks about Texas Tech winning the Big 12 again. Not to say that Tech can’t have a good season, but they’re already two games back of the lead and don’t have their two toughest games (@ Baylor and @ Kansas) out of the way yet like Baylor does.
Last January, Texas Tech hit a three game skid in Big 12 play and lost four out of five during the same stretch. Things looked bleak on the offensive end and most thought that the Red Raiders wouldn’t be able to match the Elite Eight appearance from the season prior. Sound familiar?
We have been spoiled as fans the last two years, and the last thing I mean to imply is that a deep tournament run is guaranteed. But I’ll be damned if as a fan I give up hope on a season so long as Chris Beard is the head coach. He’s proven his teams can improve drastically from January to March, so I’ll sit back and see how that transformation unfolds this season.
The next four games include a road game against the worst team in the conference (Kansas State), a home game against a mediocre Iowa State team, a neutral site game against TCU (zing!), and a return to Lubbock for a winnable rematch against West Virginia. I don’t think the sky is falling yet, and while there is major room for improvement, let’s see how this team responds to adversity.