Monthly Archives: February 2015

Last weekend of February tournament cutlines

As we enter the final full weekend of regular season play (there is some regular season play next weekend, and the Big Ten pushes into the weekend beyond that, but over half the remaining regular season games occur this weekend), I want to remind readers that these forecasts will be through the end of the regular season only.

Conference tournaments don’t provide a lot of downside risk, because they tend to be single elimination (the notable exception being that it’s possible to go 0-2 in conference play in conferences with play-in series). However, there can be significant upside opportunity because teams in conferences with play-in series can put together something like a 4-1 run (a perfect record in conference play would earn the autobid, thus rendering the final PWR ranking unimportant).

Because of those games remaining to be played, I loosely define ending the regular season ranked 13-17 as “on the bubble”. Teams in those rankings can secure an autobid with a decent conference tournament performance.

#7 Denver is the highest ranked team with a decent chance of falling to the bubble if they slump.

denver

#10 Minnesota and below actually need to do pretty well (e.g. above .500) to avoid falling to the bubble (note this chart was made before last night’s win).

Minnesota

Former top-ranked #18 Harvard and below need good performances to climb onto the bubble.

Harvard

Though it’s unlikely that #23 Robert Morris will climb into contention, #24 Western Michigan, #25 Bemidji State, and #26 Penn State are long shots if they win out.

robertmorris

westernmichigan

bemidjistate

pennstate

#27 Dartmouth and below are unlikely to make the NCAA tournament without significant success in their conference tournaments.

dartmouth

Methodology

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.

Resources

A new #1 in KRACH

Unlike PWR (which mimics the tournament selection process) , KRACH is just for fun. But, a lot of people like it and it’s what I use to estimate team strength when simulating game outcomes.

When writing yesterday’s post, I noticed there’s a new king of the hill in PWR – #2 North Dakota.

Only once this season has #1 Minnesota State been knocked out of first place in KRACH, on Dec. 29 by then second-in-PWR Harvard. The following week Harvard also took over first place in PWR. Harvard’s reign was short-lived, as Minnesota State took back the top rankings in both PWR and KRACH on January 12 and have held both until this week.

krach

pwr

Big PWR games of the week

#10 Minnesota appears in the Big PWR Game of the Week for a second time. Buoyed by a road split last weekend, the Gophers probably need a better performance hosting #33 Michigan State to avoid falling back down to the bubble.

Getting swept could incite numerous “Time to get rid of the stupid PWR?” forum threads, as Minnesota would likely fall 8-9 places.

minnesota_oneweek

The runner-up, #22 Northeastern, could provide a shock in the other direction by appearing on the bubble if they sweep #6 Boston University.

northeastern_oneweek

Finally, #1 Minnesota State faces the biggest threat to its ranking in weeks with a series hosting #5 Michigan Tech. The Mavericks need a sweep to hold off #2 North Dakota.

mankato_oneweek

michtech

Big PWR game of the week

The big PWR game of the week is #14 Yale vs. #10 Quinnipiac. They only play one game vs. each other, but then another each vs. #56 Princeton and #48 Brown, respectively.

A single win this weekend for either most likely results in a small decline in ranking. The interesting outcome is if the loser of the head-to-head also loses their other game, which could result in falling of at-large bid position in the PWR.

yale

quinnipiac

The runner-up big PWR game is #23 Western Michigan vs. #2 North Dakota. North Dakota isn’t moving much, even if they get swept; it doesn’t seem possible to overtake idle #1 Minnesota State this weekend. However, Western Michigan could jump just below the bubble with a sweep.

westernmichigan

northdakota

Methodology

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.

Resources

Tournament cutlines and weekend PWR outlook

Welcome new visitors. You might want to start with my introductory post, Hello world, to see what this blog is about. It may not be for everyone.

Review of last week’s cutlines

I don’t report on the cutlines (the rankings above which teams are locks for the tournament and below which teams are unable to make the tournament at-large) weekly, because their movements are usually pretty intuitive. If I reported that a team needs to win 5 out 8 and it subsequently wins 2 games, it then needs to win 3 out of 6; the PWR curves usually look about same, just the curve labels change from “5 more wins” to “3 more wins” and so forth. To illustrate that, let’s quickly review a few of the teams that had charts in last week’s article (you may want to open its charts side-by-side for comparison if you can).

By winning 2 games, #4 Minnesota-Duluth made the old “win 0” curve drop off and now just needs 1 or 2 more wins to stay on or above the bubble.

minnesotaduluth_endofseason

#5 Bowling Green also won 2 games, so now just needs about 4 wins to go into conference tournaments on the bubble.

bowlinggreen_endofseason

Further down the chart, #14 Minnesota shifted all of its curves with a pair of wins — the Gophers now need about 6 or 7 wins out of 10 (consistent with last week’s 8 or 9 out of 12) to climb onto the bubble before conference tournaments.

minnesota_endofseason

#30 Bemidji State, which I said last week could only afford about 2 losses, has racked up 2 losses. They would pretty much need to win out for a shot at an at-large bid.

bemidjistate_endofseason

Interesting potential movements this weekend

First, is this the week #1 Minnesota State falls out of first? It only seems possible if they get swept (which KRACH gives about a 2.6% chance of happening), and even then someone nipping at their heels (North Dakota seems the only possibility) has to do well. You can’t see the “Win 1” curve because it’s in exactly the same place as “Win 2″—100% at 1.

mankato

The matchup of the weekend is definitely #12 Michigan vs #14 Minnesota. Neither has much upside potential, but if either sweeps the other will plummet up to 10 spots.

michigan minnesota

#15 Mass.-Lowell needs a sweep to hang on, but pair of losses could send them into the twenties.

masslowell

Remember when #16 Harvard was ranked 1st and I said that a “not particularly likely” bad 2nd half could still push them out? Two more losses this weekend could push them into the twenties.

harvard

#22 St Cloud State, mentioned last week as the lowest ranked team with a good chance of climbing into contention, can make up some ground this weekend. An unlikely sweep of #5 Minnesota-Duluth could catapult them up onto the bubble, while even a split could result in a climb of a position or two.

stcloudst

#26 Western Michigan is also poised for huge jump with an also unlikely sweep over #4 Nebraska-Omaha.

westernmichigan

Methodology

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.

Resources

Tournament cutlines, revisited

It’s been about a month since my First look at the tournament cutlines. Since then, things have firmed up just a little bit, so it’s worth revisiting.

First a couple of things to keep in mind while looking at the pictures: 1) there are still about 250 games remaining in the regular season alone, so we should fully expect some of the “1% likelihood” events to happen; and 2) teams have wildly different numbers of games remaining in their regular season, from 6 to 12, so their potentials to make big moves will also differ accordingly.

Is anyone a lock?

Mathematically, still no. But the top four teams would need to win just one or two of their remaining games to fall out:
#1 Minnesota State
#2 North Dakota
#3 Boston University
#4 Nebraska-Omaha

#5 Minnesota-Duluth and #6 Bowling Green could each fall out with a particularly bad performance—winning about 1/3 of their remaining games.

MinnesotaDuluth

BowlingGreen

Who controls their own destiny?

Teams that should make it if they continue to do we’ll are from #7 Michigan Tech down to about #18 Merrimack, which approaches the bubble with a bit over .500 in its remaining games. Those include:
#8 Miami
#9 Denver
#10 Providence
#11 Harvard
#12 Boston College
#13 Mass.-Lowell
#14 Michigan
#15 Quinnipiac
#16 Vermont
#17 Yale

Merrimack

#19 Minnesota approaches the bubble by winning about 2/3 of its remaining regular season games.

Minnesota

#20 Colgate needs to win about 3/4 to climb to the bubble. Teams down through about #23, Western Michigan, have a similar outlook.

That includes:
#21 St. Lawrence
#22 Penn State
#23 Western Michigan

#24 Robert Morris has a tough, but mathematically possible, road to the bubble.

RobertMorris

Down through #31 Dartmouth have a similar outlook. That group includes:
#24 Robert Morris
#26 Cornell
#27 Northeastern
#29 Northern Michigan
#30 Union

Note that I left out #25 St Cloud St and #28 Bemidji St, each of which stand a slightly better (though still difficult) chance than their neighbors at climbing to the bubble.

StCloud

BemidjiState

Who needs to win their conference tournament?

Alaska

From #32 Alaska down are unlikely to make the bubble at-large, even if they win out. That group includes
#33 Clarkson
#34 Michigan State
#35 Connecticut
#36 Ohio State
#37 Notre Dame
#38 Bentley
#39 Ferris St
#40 Mercyhurst
#41 Canisius
#42 Rensselaer
#43 Maine
#44 New Hampshire
#45 Alabama-Huntsville
#46 Massachusetts
#47 Colorado College
#48 RIT
#49 Alaska-Anchorage
#50 Holy Cross
#51 Lake Superior
#52 Air Force
#53 Sacred Heart
#54 Brown
#55 Wisconsin
#56 Princeton
#57 Army
#58 American Int’l
#59 Niagara

How are last month’s predictions holding up?

Finally, let’s do a results check on last month’s predictions. The two movements that seem most surprising looking back are Harvard and Bemidji State.

I noted that no one was a lock, and that even #1 Harvard could fall to the bubble if they won only about half of their remaining games. Since then, Harvard has gone 2-6 and has fallen to #11. The current forecast matches the original pretty well—that Harvard would now need to win about 5 of its remaining 9 games to end the regular season on the bubble.

I noted that Bemidji State was the cutoff for being unlikely to advance without a major run. A 5-2-1 run since then has helped propel Bemidji State from #37 to #28. The forecasts now show that they stand a slightly better chance of making the tournament than seemed possible a month ago, but that they’d still need a run of winning at least 8 if not 9 of their remaining 10 to hit the bubble.

Methodology

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.

Resources