Last night cleared up the conference tournament seeding picture quite a bit. Minnesota beat Michigan State, Ohio State beat Michigan, and Penn State beat Wisconsin. Minnesota clinched a first round bye in the tournament, Penn State guaranteed a top 3 finish, Ohio State cannot finish last, and Wisconsin will finish in one of the bottom two slots. Minnesota, Michigan, and Penn State can all still finish in first. The Gophers are firmly in the drivers seat and can clinch the outright title this weekend with a win tonight and a Michigan loss tomorrow.
Minnesota and Michigan
The Gophers have opened up a 4 point lead with 3 games to play. Michigan can only match the Gophers in conference wins if they win out and Minnesota only loses and ties. Any ties at less than 44 points go to the Gophers. Any combination of 6 total points gained by the Gophers and lost by the Wolverines eliminates Michigan from the conference title. Five points means the two tie and the only scenario where Michigan wins the tie break is if Michigan wins out and the Gophers only get points in ties and shootouts. Michigan essentially has to out-gain Minnesota by at least 5 points over the next three games to finish ahead. Minnesota finishes ahead of Michigan in 79 of 100 possible outcomes, Michigan in 15 of 100, and they tie (almost all going to MN) in 6 of 100.
Minnesota and Penn State
The Gophers lead the Nittany Lions by 7 points with 3 games to play. Penn State is eliminated from the title by any combination of 3 points (MN gained+PSU lost) and from the top seed by any combination of 2. Penn State's odds aren't very good. Minnesota finishes ahead of Penn State in 94 of 100 outcomes, Penn State in 3 of 100, and they tie (all go to MN) in 3 of 100.
Michigan and Penn State
Penn State cut Michigan's lead to 3 last night and these teams finish their seasons in Ann Arbor. Michigan clinches over Penn State with any combination of 7 points (MI gained+PSU lost), 6 points gives them a tie and most ties go Penn State's way. Michigan finishes ahead of Penn State in 38 of 58 possible outcomes, Penn State in 17 of 58, and they tie in 3 of 58. If the standings hold after tonight, Penn State will need at least 5 points next weekend.
Ohio State and Michigan State
Ohio State's win over Michigan ensured they won't finish last and put them in the drivers seat for the 4 seed. Michigan State trails OSU by 6 points with 3 games left. Any combination of 4 pts (OSU gained, MSU lost) will clinch the 4 seed for OSU, 3 ties it and most ties go to MSU. These teams face off in East Lansing the final week of the season and MSU will need at least 5 points that weekend. If the current standings hold, MSU will need to sweep OSU. OSU finishes ahead of MSU in 48 of 58 possible outcomes, MSU in 6, and they tie in 4.
Michigan State and Wisconsin
Michigan State leads Wisconsin by 7 with 3 to play. Wisconsin cannot catch the Spartans in the win column so any combination of 2 points (MSU gianed+WI lost) clinches a last place finish for the Badgers. Michigan State finishes ahead of Wisconsin in 94 of 100 possible outcomes, Wisconsin in 3, and they tie in 3 (all to MSU).
I predicted that the Gophers and Nittany Lions would sweep while Michigan and Ohio State split. I still feel that way which would put Wisconsin in 6th after the weekend, MSU needing a sweep to jump to 4th, Penn State needing at least 5 to jump into second and a first round bye, Michigan needing 2 to clinch a first round bye, and Minnesota needing 2 to clinch a share of the title plus the top seed and 3 to clinch it outright.