Most college basketball fans intuitively understand win shares. Football guys freak out when their team loses, whereas basketball guys understand that teams lose. Even if a team is projected to be favored in every remaining game, as Wichita State currently is, that doesn't mean they'll go undefeated. In fact, the odds are overwhelmingly against them going undefeated in the regular season.
A 15-point favorite is going to win roughly 90% of the time. So if a team played 10 straight games in which they were 15-point favorites, the odds are that they would go 9-1. It's just math.
Those are win shares. Teams lose.
Heading into Saturday there were 16 teams which had yet to drop a game. Two lost, leaving us with 14 undefeateds. Using Ken Pomeroy's projected point spreads for all 14 teams' remaining games, I was able to generate a rough look at the odds facing them if they want to be the first team since Indiana in 1976 to go undefeated. This obviously only considers the regular season, as post-season matchups won't be determined for months. This also ignores multiple games in Christmas tournaments, as those matchups haven't been set either.
The list is ordered from the strongest team in the nation (according to Pomeroy) and working down from there. Does Ohio State, since they're the best team in his system, have the best chance of going undefeated?
The 'Underdog?' column shows how many games Pomeroy projects for each team where they won't be the favorite. Win shares are simply wins broken down by odds. That 15-point favorite (a 90% chance of victory) is credited with 0.9 future wins. The other columns are self explanatory.
|Team||Remaining Games||Underdog?||% Perfect||Win Share Record|
Wichita State, who is currently favored in every remaining game, has the best chance at 2.6%, while no one else even tops 1/5 of 1%. And this doesn't even include the postseason. In other words, it's hard. Indiana 1976 looks pretty safe.
Two undefeated teams play today. Oregon travels to Ole Miss, while Saint Mary's hosts Eastern Washington.