Weekend PWR outlook (Jan 29-31)

If you missed yesterday’s article, you might want to start with Playoff cutline movers to get some perspective on big movers over the last few weeks and where teams are likely to end the regular season. This article will look at what movements are likely this weekend.

Teams in the top 20 tend to face significantly more downside potential each week than upside. It is pretty intuitive if you think about winning percentages—for a .500 team to climb to the top, it needs to net win a lot more games than the top teams do (which is especially difficult, given that the top teams’ past success is likely correlated with continued wins). However, a few losses can result in a precipitous drop. Teams in the 45-55 range often face similarly disproportionate upside potential, but we don’t notice that as much because it’s less interesting.

#19 Minnesota-Duluth exemplifies the imbalance—with a sweep the Bulldogs are most likely to climb to #18 (though could do a bit better, particularly with SCSU and Denver wins), but if swept is most likely to fall to about #24.

This is a good time for a warning about edge cases. Unexpected things can and do happen. When I talk about “likely” outcomes, those generally only cover 60-70% of the possibilities. So, you could infer that something other than what I call “likely” will occur every 3rd or 4th prediction. That’s why I usually also show you the entire possibilities curve in a graph. Using UMD’s outcomes for this weekend as an example, ranks 15-27 come up in over 1% of scenarios, while ranks 14-30 are mathematically possible (albeit extremely unlikely).


Having lost 5 of its last 6, #9 Nebraska-Omaha is at risk of falling to the bubble with two more losses.


#10 Yale also faces significant downside facing Rensselaer and Union. A pair of losses could result in a drop to the 15-16 range.


#12 Mass.-Lowell shows the risks of hosting a bottom-ranked team. A pair of wins over Arizona St could result in no movement at all, though a pair of losses would probably drop the River Hawks to 18-19.


#26 St Lawrence has plummeted after losing 6 of its last 7. The hole is so deep now that it would take the rest of the regular season to climb back out, with a pair of wins this week most likely only resulting in a climb of about 2 rank positions.



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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