Penultimate weekend PWR/NCAA tournament outlook

Stability at the top

#1 Denver and #2 Minnesota-Duluth are again duking it out for #1 this weekend, with neither likely to drop below #3.

Only #3 Harvard is also safely in the top 10, and thus a near certainty for the NCAA tournament (Harvard is very unlikely to fall below #5 this weekend, even with a pair of losses which would preclude any additional games and much opportunity to fall further).

#4 Western Michigan is pretty safe, with a pair of losses dropping them to the 6-10 range. But, with some bad luck of falling to #10, some additional bad luck while idle, and some additional bad luck on the cutline, it’s possible for the Broncos to miss the tournament.

#5 Minnesota appears at first to be in a similar situation to Western Michigan, but because the Big Ten season hasn’t ended, the Gophers’ worst case scenario is tacking an additional loss next weekend on a pair of losses this weekend, which could push them into the teens.

#6 Mass.-Lowell, #7 Boston University, and #8 Union are likely to end up in the top 12 after this weekend even with a pair of losses. While certainly more vulnerable than Denver through Minnesota, all three are likely in barring unlikely PWR movement while idle and a harsh cutline.

Bubble teams

#9 Penn State could easily fall to the bubble with a pair of losses and then would still have another game in the Big Ten tournament, which could result in a further decline.

#10 Cornell through #21 Northeastern are all fighting for their lives. Wins improve their chances, losses hurt them. From about #12 North Dakota to about #15 Vermont, a pair of wins this weekend is required to be comfortably in bubble position. From about #16 Air Force down, it seems almost impossible to make the tournament without a pair of wins this weekend.

#10 Cornell
#11 Providence
#12 North Dakota
#13 Wisconsin
#14 Notre Dame
#15 Vermont
#16 Air Force
#17 Ohio State
#18 St Cloud St
#19 Boston College
#20 Nebraska-Omaha
#21 Northeastern

Mathematical long shots

#22 St. Lawrence and #23 Quinnipiac are mathematical long shots for at-large bids. Each could conceivably move into the teens with a pair of wins, from which position it would still take another win and a lot of luck to get an at-large bid.

Need to win their conference tournaments

#24 Clarkson and below really need to focus on winning their conference tournaments if they want to see the NCAA tournament.

#24 Clarkson
#25 Mankato
#26 Canisius
#27 Bemidji St
#28 Michigan Tech
#29 Robert Morris
#30 Merrimack
#31 Princeton
#32 Miami
#33 Yale
#34 Army
#35 Connecticut
#36 Colorado College
#37 New Hampshire
#38 Bowling Green
#39 Michigan
#40 Holy Cross
#41 Bentley
#42 Sacred Heart
#43 Dartmouth
#44 Arizona State
#45 Mercyhurst
#46 Maine
#47 Northern Michigan
#48 Michigan State
#49 Colgate
#50 Ferris State
#51 RIT
#52 Alaska
#53 Lake Superior
#54 American Int’l
#55 Rensselaer
#56 Alabama-Huntsville
#57 Alaska Anchorage
#58 Massachusetts
#59 Brown
#60 Niagara

A data note

All conferences except the Big Ten are in conference tournaments, and thus playing best-of-three series this weekend. Their “win 2” curves include both the 2-0 and 2-1 scenarios. A 2-0 scenario is almost always preferable to a 2-1.

Methodology

Forecasts include the results of games played through Tuesday of this week.

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.

Resources

Weekend PWR outlook – first playoff weekend

Watching the top

#1 Denver, #2 Minnesota-Duluth, and #3 Harvard will probably keep the top 3 spots among themselves after this weekend, with the ordering of the three dependent on their outcomes. Duluth is capable of taking #1 from Denver, even if Denver gets a pair of wins. Idle Harvard isn’t moving much, most likely staying at #3 with a slim chance of climbing to #2 if a team above them stumbles and some other lucky breaks occur.

With much of the top 8 idle, little movement is likely.

#4 Minnesota, #5 Western Michigan, #6 Mass.-Lowell (idle), #7 Boston University (idle), and #8 Union (idle) are all near locks to stay in the top 10, and thus firmly in control of their own destiny.

Note that the Big Ten teams, including #4 Minnesota, have another weekend of regular season play remaining after this one. With a bad enough string of losses, Minnesota could find itself on the bubble going into the Big Ten tournament.

Watching the bubble

This is where the action is this time of year. #9 Penn State to #19 Vermont could land somewhere on the bubble this weekend, and most are playing this weekend, so have significant control over their own fate.

#9 Penn State
#10 Cornell (idle)
#11 Notre Dame (idle)
#12 Providence
#13 Wisconsin
#14 St Cloud St
#15 Ohio St
#16 North Dakota
#17 Nebraska-Omaha
#18 Air Force (idle)
#19 Vermont

Need conference tournament success

No team #20 or below seems likely to climb to at least 16 this weekend. However, teams down to about the mid-20s in PWR have slim possibilities of an at-large bid with some success in their conference tournaments.

#20 Boston College (idle)
#21 St Lawrence
#22 Quinnipiac
#23 Northeastern
#24 Bemidji St
#25 Canisius (idle)
#26 Clarkson
#27 Mankato
#28 Merrimack
#29 Miami
#30 Robert Morris
#31 Michigan Tech
#32 Princeton
#33 Connecticut
#34 Army (idle)
#35 Yale
#36 Colorado College
#37 New Hampshire
#38 Holy Cross
#39 Bowling Green
#40 Michigan
#41 Dartmouth
#42 Bentley
#43 Sacred Heart
#44 Maine
#45 Arizona St (idle)
#46 RIT
#47 Ferris St
#48 Mercyhurst
#49 Northern Michigan
#50 Colgate
#51 Alaska
#52 Lake Superior
#53 Michigan St
#54 American Int’l
#55 Rensselaer
#56 Alabama-Huntsville (idle)
#57 Alaska Anchorage (idle)
#58 Massachusetts
#59 Brown
#60 Niagra

A data note

The Eastern teams are already in conference tournaments, and thus playing best of three series this weekend. Their “win 2” curves include both the 2-0 and 2-1 scenarios. They are generally double-topped, and the 2-0 scenario is the better outcome.

What to watch for in PWR this weekend

This article looks at the most interesting outcomes of games this weekend, with a focus on what PWR might look like next Monday. If you want a more general analysis of the remaining regular season and NCAA tournament likelihood, check out the article, NCAA tournament outlook as conferences enter final regular season weekend, and the table, Wins needed to likely end regular season at PWR rank.

Biggest upside potential

#20 Wisconsin, visiting the red hot #4 Gophers in Minneapolis, has an opportunity to surge. The Badgers could climb to the 9-11 range with a sweep (as high as 7 is realistic), but will likely just stay put if swept. Of course, in the long run staying put is not good enough for the Badgers who needs 3-4 wins in their final 6 games to climb to the bubble (see NCAA tournament outlook).

#18 Boston College has a similar opportunity facing #8 Mass.-Lowell for a home-and-home series. Sweeping would provide a broad range of possible outcomes, from #8-#15 quite possible. Getting swept would likely result in a modest decline to the 19-20 range.

Biggest downside potential

As past readers of these articles know, just as teams around #20 usually have the most upside potential, teams around #10 usually have the most potential to fall.

#10 Cornell faces the most downside potential, with ranks 15-21 possible if swept by Rensselaer and Union. Given that these are the last two games of the regular season for Cornell, that would put the Big Red firmly on the bubble.

#9 Providence faces a similar outlook, with ranks 15-20 possible with a pair of losses to Massachusetts.

All of #8 Mass.-Lowell, #11 Penn State, #12 St Cloud St, #13 Ohio St, and #14 North Dakota face similar chances of a slightly more modest plunge with a pair of losses. Only Mass.-Lowell’s regular season ends this weekend, so others would have some opportunity to recover.

Top seeds?

#1 Denver and #2 Minnesota-Duluth each look unlikely to leave the weekend outside of the 1-3 range, regardless of outcome, and one of the two is almost certain to come out #1. Denver doesn’t quite control its own destiny, as Minnesota-Duluth stands about a 10% chance of sneaking into #1 even if both sweep. Other teams fighting for spots in the top 4 this weekend are #3 Harvard, #4 Minnesota, #5 Western Michigan, and #6 Boston University.

Methodology

Forecasts include the results of games played through Tuesday of this week.

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.

Resources

NCAA tournament outlook as conferences enter final regular season weekend

Despite being down to the last full weekend of conference play (two remain for the Big Ten and one for the NCHC), the outlook hasn’t changed much since last week’s article.

You may want to follow along with the data, this narrative is all based on the forecast of PWR by wins, which shows the number of wins necessary to be likely to end the regular season at a particular PWR ranking.

Keep in mind that conference tournaments could result in additional movements, though by then we generally know that teams in the mid-teens need to win to get an at-large bid.

Near locks

With a lossless weekend, the top three teams solidified their positions. It’s now probably pretty safe to add #3 Harvard to the list of near locks. Even with two losses this weekend, the Crimson are unlikely to fall below the the 3-6 range, so would still likely get an at-large bid even in the worst case 0-2 conference tournament scenario. Note that’s not yet a mathematical certainty, just quite likely.

#1 Denver
#2 Minnesota-Duluth
#3 Harvard

Likely in unless they collapse

Note that despite a sweep last weekend, I’m still nowhere near ready to call it for #4 Minnesota. The Gophers have six regular season games remaining and could easily plummet to the bubble if they lose them all. That’s probably not likely, but certainly possible.

Down to about #8 Mass-Lowell will be well positioned with just a single additional win. Note that many of those teams only have two regular season games remaining, so going winless is quite possible.

Note also that I dropped #9 Providence from this list after a loss and tie last weekend were the potential first step in the very type of collapse that could land the Friars on the bubble.

#4 Minnesota
#5 Western Michigan
#6 Boston University
#7 Union
#8 Mass.-Lowell

Control their own fate

#9 Providence is still in control of its own destiny. Two wins this weekend would likely put them in the 8-12 range, and in control of their own fate.

That holds true down to about #20 Wisconsin, which can still move into a top 10 spot with 5-6 wins in its final 6 games.

Note, however, that #17 Vermont is in a precarious position. While two wins is most likely to push the Catamounts up to around #14, there’s a reasonable chance of staying as low as #17.

#9 Providence
#10 Cornell
#11 Penn State
#12 St Cloud St
#13 Ohio State
#14 North Dakota
#15 Air Force
#16 Notre Dame
#17 Vermont
#18 Boston College
#19 Nebraska-Omaha
#20 Wisconsin

Need to do well in conference tournaments

Some of #21 Northeastern and below stand a chance of climbing to the bubble by the end of the regular season, but that alone won’t be enough to make the NCAA tournament. Some additional wins in the conference tournament or extremely good luck will be required to make the NCAAs at-large.

#28 Miami’s chances faded significantly with a pair of losses last weekend, but having two more games remaining than other teams in the 20s gives them one of the best chances at climbing back.

#21 Northeastern
#22 St. Lawrence
#23 Quinnipiac
#24 Bemidji St
#25 Clarkson
#26 Canisius
#27 MSU-Mankato
#28 Miami
#29 Merrimack
#30 Robert Morris
#31 Michigan Tech
#32 Army
#33 Yale
#34 Princeton
#35 Connecticut
#36 Colorado College
#37 New Hampshire
#38 Dartmouth
#39 Bentley
#40 Holy Cross
#41 Bowling Green
#42 Michigan
#43 Maine
#44 Arizona St
#45 Sacred Heart
#46 Mercyhurst
#47 Colgate
#48 Lake Superior St
#49 RIT
#50 Michigan St
#51 Ferris St
#52 Northern Michigan
#53 Alaska
#54 Alaska-Anchorage
#55 American Int’l
#56 Alabama-Huntsville
#57 Rensselaer
#58 Massachusetts
#59 Brown
#60 Niagara

Methodology

Forecasts include the results of games played through Thursday of this week.

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.

Resources

How many teams will each conference put in the playoffs? (2017 edition)

In the college hockey community, speculation about who is likely to make the NCAA tournament begins to reach a fevered pitch this time of year. That also leads to inevitable boasting from fans of those conferences having a strong season.

Looking at the top 14 (or 16) of PWR gives an interesting benchmark of performance to date, but this is a situation in which it can be interesting to try to determine the effects of the known remaining regular season schedule. By simulating the rest of the regular season (assuming teams will continue to perform as they have to date), we can see how each conference is likely to fare at the end of the regular season.

How many teams will each conference put in the playoffs?

As mentioned above, a good quick first check is how many teams each conference currently has in the top 14. (The cut line of 14 is based on a historical guess, but also fits quite well with the current situation of two conferences with autobids not having any teams in the top 14).

Teams currently in the top 14 of PWR
Atlantic Hockey 0
Big Ten 3
ECAC 3
Hockey East 3
NCHC 5
WCHA 0

But, by simulating the rest of the regular season (assuming teams will continue to perform as they have to date), we can see how the remaining schedule might affect those numbers.

Likelihood of each conference’s number of teams in top 14 PWR at the end of the regular season
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Atlantic Hockey 41% 59%
Big Ten 2% 35% 57% 6%
ECAC 9% 91%
Hockey East 2% 37% 48% 13% 1%
NCHC 21% 50% 29% 1%
WCHA 100%

Comparing the two tables, Atlantic Hockey and Hockey East are more likely to make a small gain before the end of the regular season than stay at their current level. That’s not surprising, as Atlantic Hockey and Hockey East teams currently hold PWR spots 15 and 16-18, respectively. The NCHC is more likely than not to lose a team, with St Cloud St and North Dakota sitting at #12 and #14, respectively. In fact, the NCHC seems about as likely to end with just 3 teams in the top 14 as its current 5. The Big Ten, with teams in PWR spots 11 and 13, is also reasonably likely to lose a team.

Methodology

Forecasts include the results of games played through Tuesday of this week.

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.

Resources

NCAA field shaping up with three weeks left in regular season

With three weekends of left of regular season play for most conferences (the Big Ten has four), the field of who is likely to make the NCAA tournament has really shaped up in the last week.

You may want to follow along with the data, this narrative is all based on the forecast of PWR by wins, which shows the number of wins necessary to be likely to end the regular season at a particular PWR ranking.

Keep in mind that conference tournaments could result in additional movements, though by then we generally know that teams in the mid-teens need to win to get an at-large bid.

Near locks

Only the top two, #1 Minnesota-Duluth and #2 Denver actually seem to be locks regardless of outcomes. Neither is likely to fall below the #4-7 range, even if swept, so would likely still get an at-large bid even in the worst case 0-2 scenario in the subsequent conference tournament. Note that’s not yet a mathematical certainty, just quite likely.

#1 Minnesota Duluth
#2 Denver

Likely in unless they collapse

#3 Harvard through #9 Mass.-Lowell need at least one win to be likely to finish in the top 13, and thus well positioned for a tournament spot. Because there is an extra weekend of Big Ten play remaining, #4 Minnesota and #6 Penn State actually 3-4 wins to be well positioned for a tournament spot.

#3 Harvard
#4 Minnesota
#5 Boston University
#6 Penn State
#7 Western Michigan
#8 Providence
#9 Mass.-Lowell

Control their own fate

#10 North Dakota through #21 Wisconsin plus #25 Miami control their own fate in reaching the NCAA tournament. #10 North Dakota appears to need 3 wins in its remaining 6 games to be top 13 going into conference tournament play, while #20 Air Force needs to win out its final 4 to stand a decent chance of finishing the regular season in the top 13. #21 Wisconsin has much more room to move because of the extra weekend of Big Ten play remaining. #25 Miami is the lowest ranked team that still seems to control its own ability to jump onto the bubble, with a sweep out of 6 wins likely to land them in the 10-13 range to close out the regular season.

#10 North Dakota
#11 Union
#12 St Cloud St
#13 Cornell
#14 Ohio St
#15 Boston College
#16 Vermont
#17 Nebraska-Omaha
#18 Notre Dame
#19 St. Lawrence
#20 Air Force
#21 Wisconsin
#25 Miami

#22 Quinnipiac through #24 Bemidji State and #26 Canisius and below are unlikely to crack the top 15 in the regular season, so would need near perfection and some luck to sneak into position for an at-large bid. Then, continued success in the conference tournament would be required not to fall out of position. These teams should plan to do well in their conference tournaments.

#22 Quinnipiac
#23 Northeastern
#24 Bemidji State
#26 Canisius
#27 Clarkson
#28 Robert Morris
#29 Merrimack
#30 Princeton
#31 Michigan Tech
#32 MSU-Mankato
#33 Yale
#34 Connecticut
#35 Army
#36 New Hampshire
#37 Colorado College
#38 Dartmouth
#39 Holy Cross
#40 Bentley
#41 Michigan
#42 Bowling Green
#43 Maine
#44 Arizona State
#45 Colgate
#46 Sacred Heart
#47 Mercyhurst
#48 RIT
#49 Michigan State
#50 Lake Superior
#51 Northern Michigan
#52 Ferris State
#53 Alaska
#54 Alaska-Anchorage
#55 American Int’l
#56 Alabama-Huntsville
#57 Rensselaer
#58 Brown
#59 Massachusetts
#60 Niagara

Methodology

Forecasts include the results of games played through Thursday of this week.

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.

Resources

New forecast presentation – PWR by wins

I’m pleased to announce an improvement to the way I present PWR forecasts this year. There were two guiding principles to the design of the new presentation:

  • The question people are really asking until conference tournaments begin is, “what will it take for my team to make the playoffs (or finish top 4)?”
  • Everyone is interested in something a little different—some are fans of a single team and just care about that team, some want to check up on rivals, and some want to dig through all the data to look for interesting outcomes.

My forecast posts in past years gave some insight into what it takes for a team to make the playoffs, but was limited to the teams I chose or scenarios I found interesting. To help expand that analysis to all teams, I sought a useful way to present all the data.

The table on the PWR By Wins page shows you how many wins each team needs to likely finish at each PWR ranking. If you want more detail on a specific team, you can click a team name to see the probability curves of how likely that team is to end the regular season with each PWR ranking with a given number of wins out of its remaining scheduled games.

This is the first public presentation of this, so I’m sure there will be some tweaks and improvements in coming weeks. Check it out, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to make this data more useful to you.

What does it take for each team to finish at each PWR rankings: PWR By Wins

Methodology

The page notes when the forecast was last run (assume that it includes all games that had been completed as of that time).

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.

New ranking tables and tools

I’m pleased to announce CollegeHockeyRanked’s new ratings tables and tools. Though everything covered by this announcement is based on a previous product from another site of mine, SiouxSports.com, each has been redesigned from the ground up. The rankings include tables for RPI, PWR, and KRACH plus a comparison table of teams’ ranks across multiple ranking schemes. The historical charts page lets you view the history of KRACH, RPI and/or PWR over the course of the season in a graphical format (with coverage of over 10 seasons). Finally, the conference standings “what if” calculator lets you see what effect predicted game outcomes will have on the conference standings.

Two major design principles make these tables and tools different from previous versions on SiouxSports.com and other sites:

  • Phone, tablet, and computer support – Each was designed to be responsive to screen size to have full functionality on any size screen, but still take advantage of the extra real estate available if viewed on a large screen.
  • Supporting details – The RPI and PWR ranking tables provide a wealth of background information as to how the rankings were calculated, including information that could help you think about how future games are likely to affect those rankings. The RPI Details page (see Minnesota Duluth example) in particular was designed from the ground up to give better insight into the impact of individual game outcomes on RPI under the new RPI formula that has been in use the last couple seasons.

Getting these basic tables and tools designed for the modern web, a variety of devices, and the new RPI formula is the foundation on which I hope to build some exciting new tools and analysis in coming months and years. Stay tuned!

What Yale, Northeastern and Minnesota Duluth need

Remember that 11 teams are already in.

These teams can’t get in at-large, but can claim a spot by winning their conference tournament:

  • Minnesota
  • Robert Morris or RIT
  • Minnesota State or Ferris State

These teams are hoping for at-large bids:

  • Yale (idle)
  • Minnesota-Duluth
  • Northeastern

The Big Ten Championship is the biggest determinant of who gets in, because it’s the only one in which it’s not yet known whether its winner will take away an at-large spot. If Minnesota wins the Big Ten and takes away a spot, then Northeastern can only get in by winning, otherwise Yale and Minnesota-Duluth get the two spots. If Minnesota wins and Northeastern does take one of the spots, then Minnesota-Duluth needs to win to get the last spot, otherwise it goes to Yale.

Here’s how each team gets in

Yale

Michigan wins
or
Northeastern loses
or
Minnesota-Duluth loses

Minnesota-Duluth

Michigan wins
or
Minnesota Duluth wins
or
Northeastern loses

Northeastern

Michigan wins
or
Northeastern wins