Mid-February update—who’s likely to make the NCAA tournament?

It’s been just over a month since I posted the First PWR forecast of the season, and things have really settled in.

PWR Forecast (by wins)

Most teams only have 4-6 remaining scheduled games before the playoffs, so dramatic opportunities for repositioning themselves are diminishing.

Just a few weeks ago, in First look at 2018 tournament likelihoods, I noted that all but Notre Dame and Clarkson still needed to win about half their remaining games to stay well-positioned for the NCAA tournament.

Thanks to sufficient performances since then, quite a few more teams are starting to look pretty safe.

Through #6 are nearly guaranteed to stay top 12, even if they lose out, leaving them well-positioned going into the playoffs. Those teams are:

#1 St Cloud St
#2 Denver
#3 Notre Dame
#4 Cornell
#5 Mankato
#6 Ohio State

Through #9 Minnesota are almost sure to stay top 12 with even just one more win. That adds the following to the well-positioned (though not at all guaranteed!):

#7 Clarkson
#8 Providence
#9 Minnesota

How it works

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.