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Behind the Numbers: Sign Guy’s Valley Predictor (2/19)

Creighton fans know Sign Guy. He’s entertained Bluejays fans at the Civic and Qwest Center with his timely, witty, and sometimes downright disturbing poster boards held high in the middle of Section 122. Sign Guy also happens to be a math wiz, and he puts those talents to good use with his Valley Predictor model.

For the past four Missouri Valley Conference seasons, I have created a Valley Predictor model and tracked the results as the MVC season progressed. My desire to do so is rooted in two core beliefs:

  1. Creighton should compete for and win the MVC regular season title with more frequency than once every 8 years, and I want to know what has to happen to achieve that goal, and
  2. Because of the dynamics of college basketball, the allotment of NCAA Tournament bids, and the quality of basketball displayed in the Valley, there are few conferences in America where every game matters as much as the Valley, whether it be the effect on post-season implications, seeding for Arch Madness, or national perception.

If I was patient or less of a numbers person, I could just wait for Rob Anderson or the MVC office to communicate what the various post-season scenarios are prior to the last weekend of games. But I’m not, so here it is.

  • The tables below list the 10 Valley schools in order of their predicted finish according to the official Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Media Poll.
  • Below is the abridged look at the 2010 MVC Forecast, with a glance at the current standings and what projections show the final three games will look like.
  • A game shaded green is a forecasted Win, whereas a game shaded gray is a forecasted Loss.

As noted below, various scenarios should be looked at in a vacuum as there can be numerous moving parts. As you can see, with just 10 total games remaining, much of the Arch Madness jockeying for position still remains, and every game matters.  Some of the tie-breaker scenarios have razor-thin margins!  Even with just 10 league games remaining, that does create 64 possibilities, so I’ve just tried to condense the games that can/will have lasting effects on Arch Madness seeding (which, remarkably, is still just about every game except Evansville’s last 2 games).

Of extreme importance to Creighton Bluejays fans: As you’ll see in the “combo time!” section below, popular prediction would still indicate that the Jays will avoid the Thursday night play-in games. The #7 seed is still a possibility, but would require a few different scenarios to play out.



  • Northern Iowa has clinched the regular season title and the #1-seed for Arch Madness. Probability: 100%.
  • Wichita State has a 1-game lead over ISUred for the #2-seed. As noted below, Wichita State still needs 2 wins or an ISUred loss to clinch the #2-seed. Probability: Above average.
  • ISUred has a 2 game lead over its nearest competitors (Creighton, Bradley, ISUblue) in the battle for the #3-seed, but the Redbirds swept the season series from both the Jays and Braves. In perhaps the most remarkable illustration of why every game in this conference matters and how crazy things can get, if ISUblue wins out and ISUred loses out, ISUblue will own the season sweep over ISUred and get the #3-seed. ISUred’s magic number for the 3-seed: 1. Probability: Above average.
  • Seeds #4-#9: if the last 10 games play out as forecasted above:
    1. Creighton/Bradley/ISUblue T-4th:
      • Mini-round robin records: Creighton 3-1, ISUblue 2-2, Bradley 1-3
        • Creighton = #4-seed
        • ISUblue = #5-seed
        • Bradley = #6-seed
    2. Drake/Missouri State T-7th:
      • Head-to-head results: Drake 1-1, Missouri State 1-1
      • Tie-breaker points:
        • Unique Missouri State wins (vs. Bradley, vs. ISUblue) = 22 points = #7-seed
        • Unique Drake wins (vs. Wichita State, @ Southern Illinois) = 21 points = #8-seed
        • Note: I inadvertently flip-flopped these two teams and their corresponding power points in the 2/15 update under this scenario. Apologies if you already filled out your bracket and made a bunch of wagers using that information for the play-in games.
    3. Southern Illinois = #9-seed
  • Evansville has clinched 10th place. Probability: 100%.

Tie-breaker scenarios/remaining games of importance (ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL FROM ABOVE FORECAST):

  • Wichita State @ Bradley (Wednesday, Feb. 24):
    1. If ISUred wins out and finishes T-2 with Wichita State at 12-6, ISUred will earn the #2-seed at Arch Madness only if Bradley beats Wichita State. A Shocker victory @ Bradley coupled with a home loss to Southern Illinois would still earn Wichita State the #2-seed based on power points.
    2. If Wichita State wins @ Bradley, creating a T-4th between Creighton and ISUblue at 9-9 and a T-6th between Bradley, Drake, Missouri State at 8-10:
      • Creighton/ISUblue: power points to determine color of jersey worn by each school it appears from a scenario below that Creighton has the power points advantage over ISUblue). One will wear blue, the other white. Jays are 11-4 this season in white unis (13 home games + 1 Orlando game + 1 game @ Wichita) and 2-10 this season in blue unis (10 road games + 2 Orlando games)
      • Mini-round robin records: Bradley 3-1, Missouri State 2-2, Drake 1-3
        • Bradley = #6-seed
        • Missouri State = #7-seed
        • Drake = #8-seed
  • Drake @ Missouri State (Wednesday, Feb. 24):
    1. If Drake wins @ Missouri State, resulting in a 4-way T-4th with Creighton, Bradley, ISUblue, and Drake all finishing at 9-9:
      • Mini-round robin records: Creighton 4-2, ISUblue 4-2, Bradley 3-3, Drake 1-5.
      • Tie-breaker points:
        • unique Creighton wins (vs. Wichita State, @ Bradley) = 27 points = #4-seed
        • unique ISUblue wins (vs. ISUred, @ Drake) = 25 points = #5-seed
        • Bradley = #6-seed
        • Drake = #7-seed
      • Missouri State then also falls into T-8th with Southern Illinois at 7-11:
        • Head-to-head results: Southern Illinois 1-1, Missouri State 1-1
        • Tie-breaker points:
          • Unique Southern Illinois wins (@ Bradley) = 11 points = #8-seed
          • Unique Missouri State wins (vs. Bradley) = 10 points = #9-seed
  • Missouri State @ ISUblue (Saturday, Feb. 27):
    1. If Missouri State wins @ ISUblue, and Creighton, Bradley, Missouri State finish T-4th at 9-9:
      • Mini-round robin records: Creighton 3-1, Missouri State 2-2, Bradley 1-3.
        • Creighton = #4-seed
        • Missouri State = #5-seed
        • Bradley = #6-seed
      • ISUblue then also falls into T-7th with Drake at 8-10
        • Head-to-head records: ISUblue 2-0, Drake 0-2
          • ISUblue = #7-seed
          • Drake = #8-seed
  • Bradley @ Creighton (Saturday, Feb. 27):
    1. If Bradley wins @ Creighton, creating a 3-way T-6th among Creighton, Missouri State, Drake at 8-10:
      • Bradley 10-8 = #4-seed
      • ISUblue 9-9 = #5-seed
      • Mini-round robin records: Creighton 2-2, Missouri State 2-2, Drake 2-2
        • Tie-breaker points:
          • Unique Creighton wins (vs. Wichita State, vs. Bradley, @ Bradley, vs. ISUblue) = 55 points = #6-seed
          • Unique Drake wins (vs. Wichita State, vs. ISUred, vs. Bradley, @ Southern Illinois) = 48 points = #7-seed
          • Unique Missouri State wins (vs. ISUred, vs. ISUblue) = 26 points = #8-seed

Combo time!

  • If Creighton wins @ Southern Illinois AND loses vs. Bradley AND Bradley loses vs. Wichita State, creating 3-way T-4th among Creighton, Bradley, ISUblue at 9-9:
    • Mini-round robin makes Creighton #4-seed, ISUblue #5-seed, Bradley #6-seed
  • If Creighton wins @ Southern Illinois AND Bradley wins out, creating 2-way T-5th between Creighton and ISU at 9-9 (Bradley 4th at 10-8):
    • Head-to-head results: Creighton 1-1, ISUblue 1-1
    • Tie-breaker points:
      • Unique Creighton wins (vs. Wichita State, @ Bradley, @ Southern Illinois) = 35 points = #5-seed
      • Unique ISUblue wins (vs. ISUred, vs. Bradley, @ Drake) = 29 points = #6-seed
  • If Creighton loses out AND Missouri State wins out, creating a 3-way T-6th among Creighton, ISUblue, and Drake at 8-10:
    • Bradley 10-8 = #4-seed
    • Missouri State 9-9 = #5-seed
    • Mini-round robin: ISUblue 3-1, Creighton 2-2, Drake 1-3
      • ISUblue = #6-seed
      • Creighton = #7-seed
      • Drake = #8-seed
  • If Creighton loses out AND Drake wins out:
    • Bradley 10-8 = #4-seed
    • ISUblue 9-9 = #5-seed (season sweep of Drake)
    • Drake 9-9 = #6-seed
    • Creighton 8-10 = #7-seed
    • Southern Illinois 7-11 = #8-seed (more power points vs. Missouri State from above)
    • Missouri State 7-11 = #9-seed
  • If Creighton loses out AND Drake wins out AND Wichita State defeats Bradley, creating a 3-way T-4th among Bradley, ISUblue, Drake at 9-9:
    • Mini-round robin records: Bradley 3-1, ISUblue 3-1, Drake 0-4
    • Tie-breaker points:
      • Unique Bradley wins (vs. Northern Iowa, @ Creighton, @ Southern Illinois) = 32 points = #4-seed
      • Unique ISUblue wins (vs. ISUred, vs. Creighton, vs. Southern Illinois) = 26 points = #5-seed
      • Drake = #6-seed
      • Creighton 8-10 = #7-seed
      • Southern Illinois 7-11 = #8-seed
      • Missouri State 7-11 = #9-seed

Make sense?

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