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Tuesday, December 29, 2015


We are boldly predicting the regular season record of the Michigan Men's Basketball team. Our forecast is based on choppy information, as the UM pre-conference schedule was littered with teams ranked below #200 in Division One. All of those teams were drilled by the Wolverines in home games, but John Beilein sports only a single victory against an opponent ranked in the Top 150. Hard to get a line on his team at this point, but here we go:

Michigan will finish the regular season 19-11,
with a 10-8 conference record.

They will be "on the bubble" to make the
NCAA Tournament for the entire final month of the season.

Where they go from there is
beyond the scope of our "Crystal Ball".

To make this guess, we first assigned "rankings" to the nine teams that UM has defeated, along with the three teams that have defeated them. We used three comprehensive data-based systems that rank all 351 teams in Division One, listed below, with their team ranking of Michigan in parentheses:

  • ESPN RPI (UM #68)
  • ESPN BPI (UM #50)
  • SAGARIN (UM #35)

The teams on the UM schedule are listed below by their composite ranking, with the RPI-BPI-Sagarin ranks in parentheses.


#2 XAVIER (#1 - #1 - #4)
Lost, 86-70

Lost, 82-58

#66 CONNECTICUT (#121 - #41 - #37)
Lost, 74-60


#33 TEXAS (#22 - #45 - #33)
Won, 78-72

#78 NORTH CAROLINA STATE (#97 - #75 - #63)
Won, 66-59

#157 ELON (#151 - #160 - #159)
Won, 88-68

#244 CHARLOTTE (#209 - #256 - #267)
Won, 102-47

#246 YOUNGSTOWN STATE (#251 - #231 - #255)
Won, 105-46

#261 NORTHERN KENTUCKY (#278 - #241 - #265)
Won, 77-62

#281 HOUSTON BAPTIST UNIVERSITY (#265 - #288 - #290)
Won, 82-57

#340 DELAWARE STATE (#323 - #350 - #346)
Won 80-33

#331 BRYANT (#325 - #338 - #331)
Won, 96-60

The composite team ranking for UM from the three sources (listed above) suggest the Wolverines are the #51 team in the country. Their record against the Top 100 is 2-3, supporting the #51 ranking.

  • Their record against teams ranked #33 or higher is 1-2.
  • Their record against teams ranked #34 to #78 is 1-1.

There are five B1G teams ranked below #78 and three ranked above #33. Six teams (including UM) are in the "middle group":
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Northwestern
  • Ohio State
  • Wisconsin

To complete our prediction, count up the games in the conference schedule against each of these three groups of teams:

  • Games against the Top Three = 5
  • Games against the Middle Six = 6
  • Games against the Bottom Five = 7

We assume UM will go 0-5 against the top group, 7-0 against the bottom group, and 3-3 against the teams in the middle. That adds up to 10-8.


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  1. Well done. However,

    It falls well within a reasonable error budget, but given UM is 1-2 against teams #33 and above it is conceivable that they could win 33% of those 5 games, which would come out to 1.67 games more than the 10 wins in your prediction. It really depends on the distribution of rankings in those 5 games.

    So, lacking the rankings of the opponents and where they would fall on the ranking distribution curve the only guess that could be made with the data presented is 11-7 in conference.

    1. Thanks, I know it's a pretty crude formula. They could also lose to one or two of the bottom teams, right? Plus I didn't look at the venues for the games against each group. Then there are injuries, match-ups, etc.

      But let's just say the Over/Under is 10.5 wins, and you can take the "Over" and I can take the "Under".

      I still think it's funny that UM fans can't understand that going 11-7 in the B1G and heading to the Big Dance is a good season, one that you take in stride and move forward. On the other hand, Beilein signed the #27 class in the country for next year, and LeVert won't be back, so maybe some are viewing this season as Johnny's Last Stand?

      (Sorry I couldn't have painted a more bleak picture for UM. It still could be worse then predicted, but based on what I can see right now, there it is.)

    2. Crude formula or not, it comes up with a reasonable prediction. Still, as you pointed out, the games have to be played and the results tallied as we go through the season.

      As far as painting a bleak picture? That is not our purpose or goal. Our purpose and our goal is to counter undeserved media favoritism and present accurate data with reasonable, informed, and well constructed conclusions. In this you excelled!

    3. THANK YOU, 76! Sorry so slow replying to comments, now catching up through January. Appreciate your compliment on the crude formula. So far, it is within one-game of accuracy, with half the league schedule remaining.

    4. So far, true, but taking into account my simplistic statistical modification, they really are right on track.

    5. Absolutely correct. You have them at 11 wins, while I have them at 10 wins. They are on track to hit your number.


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