10,000 Sims: Missouri Valley Conference

The Missouri Valley is the elite of the mid-major leagues this season (depending on your feelings about if the A-10 qualifies). There are three Top 50 Pomeroy teams that should battle it out for the league title. Creighton is the favorite, but a few other teams have legitimate shots.

Considering Creighton and Wichita St. are 11-1 (and amongst the nation’s best mid-majors) heading into conference play this looks like it’ll be a difficult race. Indiana St. just upset Miami (FL) in an ugly game on Christmas Day. Here’s how the race shapes up through the lens of 10,000 simulations:

Title Percentage (Outright):

  1. Creighton – 77% (62%)
  2. Wichita St. – 26% (14%)
  3. Illinois St. – 14% (6%)
  4. Northern Iowa – 2% (0.4%)
  5. Indiana St. – 0.3% (0.1%)
  6. Evansville – 0.1% (0.02%)
  7. Bradley – 0.06% (0.01%)
  8. Drake – 0.01% (0%)

Neither Southern Illinois nor Missouri St. managed to win a league title during the simulations. More than 17% of the league’s seasons ended in ties, which is relatively high for a conference with an 18-game schedule.

One thing you’re almost assuredly not going to see this season is a team running the table in conference play. Creighton managed to do it in 3% of sims, which is a really low number. Considering thanks to the MVC’s true round-robin format the Blue Jays have to go to the Shockers and Redbirds during conference play, it’s not that surprising. Wichita (20 times) and Illinois St. (2 times) also managed to go undefeated during at least one sim.

On the other hand, it’s quite possible that Missouri St. could go winless. The Bears have been plummeting down the Pomeroy rankings since the beginning of the season and are now at 298 overall. That’s more than 100 spots below the next closest team. That’s why MSU went winless in more than 12% of the simulations. It’s also why their average wins came out to fewer than two per season. Even its best season was still below .500 (8-10).

When I looked at the Summit League yesterday North Dakota St. never finished below .500. Creighton on the other hand did, finishing 8-10 in at least one season. That was the worst record the Blue Jays finished with and would require an epic amount of bad luck.

Finally, here are the average win totals. I know you can’t win a tenth of a game, but I think it’s informative so you can see what side of the whole number a team skews towards.

Average Wins:

  1. Creighton – 15.1
  2. Wichita St. – 13.3
  3. Illinois St. – 12.5
  4. Northern Iowa – 10.2
  5. Indiana St. – 8.6
  6. Evansville – 8.2
  7. Bradley – 7.8
  8. Drake – 6.6
  9. Southern Illinois – 5.6
  10. Missouri St. – 1.9

Coming Sunday: Big Ten, Big East

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