How many teams will each conference put into the playoffs?

Repeating a similar post that was inspired by message board chatter last year, I ran simulations of the remaining games and tracked how many teams each conference had in the top 14 at the end of the regular season (a reasonable guess as to the PWR rank that would guarantee an invitation to the NCAA tournament).

Let’s start with the current PWR.

Number of teams in top 14 of PWR right now
Atlantic Hockey 0
Big 10 1
Hockey East 4

A far cry from last year when the post was inspired by inquiries about whether the NCHC was underperforming.

Now for the results of the simulations. Each chart shows the likelihoods of how many teams a conference will have in the top 14 at the end of the regular season.







Remember that the simulations assume each team will continue to perform similarly to how it has to date. So, it’s not surprising that each conference is predicted to finish with about the same number of teams in the top 14 as they have today.

More interesting is seeing how easy (or not) it is for conferences to move up or down. Atlantic Hockey is pretty unlikely to get an at-large bid. The Big Ten is more likely to fall to 0 at-large bids than climb to 2.


Forecasts include the results of games played through Sunday of this week, unless otherwise noted.

Each forecast is based on at least one million monte carlo simulations of the games in the described period. For each simulation, the PairWise Ranking (PWR) is calculated and the results tallied. The probabilities presented in the forecasts are the share of simulations in which a particular outcome occurred.

The outcome of each game in each simulation is determined by random draw, with the probability of victory for each team set by their relative KRACH ratings. So, if the simulation set included a contest between team A with KRACH 300 and team B with KRACH 100, team A will win the game in very close to 75% of the simulations. I don’t simulate ties or home ice advantage.