#1 Quinnipiac has held the top PWR ranking for as long as it has been calculable this season, and the top three have been unchanged for about a month. However, the Bobcats haven’t been perfect and last week’s forecast revealed the first possibility of a new leader. QU held onto its top ranking with a win and a tie, but the odds of someone overtaking them continued to increase.
Though Quinnipiac hasn’t lost since December 12, a string of ties (4 out of 7 games in 2016, including 3 of the last 5) has chipped away at their once formidable PWR lead.
On a 5-0-1 streak until last weekend, #2 St. Cloud St. has been nipping at the Bobcats’ heels the last couple weeks. However, St. Cloud’s position also weakened a bit with a split last weekend.
#3 North Dakota, in contrast, has continued to strengthen its position with a 12-1-1 run since Thanksgiving. With St. Cloud St. idle this weekend, UND is the most likely beneficiary of any additional stumbling by Quinnipiac. Not only do the Fighting Hawks stand their first measurable chance of taking #1 this weekend, but it’s a pretty realistic chance.
Even if Quinnipiac wins both its games this weekend, North Dakota can give itself about a 28% chance of taking #1 by also sweeping. A complicated mix of other game outcomes would determine the RPI leader between QU and UND, who would then also win the PWR comparison, and take #1.
If Quinnipiac loses one of its two games this weekend and North Dakota sweeps, the Fighting Hawks are almost certain (over 99% of scenarios) to take #1. A single win doesn’t seem likely to do it for UND, as that would make it difficult to overtake idle St. Cloud St.
If the Bobcats keep up their undefeated streak, but earn another draw, that will also open the door for North Dakota. Those scenarios give UND about a 95% chance of taking #1 with a sweep.
Finally, though they don’t control their own fate, St. Cloud St. still stands a chance of taking #1. If UND loses one, the Huskies would have about a 33% chance of taking #1 with one Quinnipiac loss, or about a 94% chance with two losses by QU (again, those would come down to complicated RPI movements based on other games).