Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 Men's College Basketball Conference Tournament Probabilities: Big Sky

Part 13 of a 30 part series. Using Sagarin's Predictor ratings in a prediction formula, I'll weigh the probability of each conference team in each possible tournament matchup and through a Markov chain determine their chances of winning the tournament.

The Big Sky wisely culls their tournament field to a relatively paltry six teams, eliminating three conference also-rans (Eastern Washington, Idaho State and Sacramento State) and cutting the crap while quickly determining their tournament champion.

However, while their method of re-seeding the teams before the semis is competitively sound, it seriously complicates my efforts to project a winner. Composing a Markov chain of possible tournament matchups is one thing in a static bracket, but when the bracket fluctuates based on which combination of teams wins the opening round games, it requires Markov chains on top of Markov chains and convolutes the process.

Fortunately for Weber State, their tournament scenario isn't convoluted at all. They not only are easily the best team in this field and the top seed, earning a bye to the semis along with #2 Northern Colorado, but the tournament's also being held right in their backyard in Ogden, giving them an even greater advantage. That makes them an odds-on favorite to win. Plus, even with the pared down field, the relatively elite group still isn't all that tough a challenge, with only much improved Northern Colorado and Montana having a remote possibility to win this tournament.

Montana State or Portland State could thread the needle with a lot of luck, but Northern Arizona hasn't much more than a shot in hell of taking this. This is Weber State's tournament to lose.

Here are the Big Sky odds for every team involved:

1. Weber State: 52.9%
2. Northern Colorado: 7 to 2 (21.6%)
3. Montana State: 20 to 1
4. Montana: 5.2 to 1
5. Northern Arizona: 272.7 to 1
6. Portland State: 48.8 to 1

Next: The Summit League

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