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
#5 Minnesota-Duluth and #6 Bowling Green could each fall out with a particularly bad performance—winning about 1/3 of their remaining games.
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:
#12 Boston College
#19 Minnesota approaches the bubble by winning about 2/3 of its remaining regular season games.
#20 Colgate needs to win about 3/4 to climb to the bubble. Teams down through about #23, Western Michigan, have a similar outlook.
#21 St. Lawrence
#22 Penn State
#23 Western Michigan
#24 Robert Morris has a tough, but mathematically possible, road to the bubble.
Down through #31 Dartmouth have a similar outlook. That group includes:
#24 Robert Morris
#29 Northern Michigan
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.
Who needs to win their conference tournament?
From #32 Alaska down are unlikely to make the bubble at-large, even if they win out. That group includes
#34 Michigan State
#36 Ohio State
#37 Notre Dame
#39 Ferris St
#44 New Hampshire
#47 Colorado College
#50 Holy Cross
#51 Lake Superior
#52 Air Force
#53 Sacred Heart
#58 American Int’l
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.
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.
- Current PWR Rankings (SiouxSports.com)
- Current RPI Rankings (SiouxSports.com)
- CHN PWR Rankings (CollegeHockeyNews.com)
- USCHO PWR Rankings (USCHO.com)
- Explanation of how PWR mimics NCAA tournament selection (CollegeHockeyNews.com)