Tournament cutlines and weekend PWR outlook

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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.

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