Tag Archives: Denver

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

The 1 seeds – UND and three of QU, SCSU, PC, BC, DU

The 1 seeds

These teams have a shot at 1-seed:
North Dakota (lock)
Quinnipiac
St Cloud St
Providence
Boston College
Denver

Extracted from PWR Possibilities:

Team Result 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
UND Win 0 34% 41% 21% 4%
Win 1 63% 30% 7% < 1%
Win 2 100%
Quinnipiac Win 0 < 1% 35% 39% 25% < 1% < 1%
Win 1 4% 46% 38% 12% < 1%
Win 2 57% 42% 1%
SCSU Win 0 < 1% 29% 40% 24% 7%
Win 1 8% 18% 48% 25% 1%
Win 2 62% 27% 11%
Providence Win 0 1% 58% 32% 9%
Win 1 7% 44% 41% 7%
Win 2 14% 51% 30% 5%
Boston College Win 0 82% 18%
Win 1 < 1% 4% 81% 15%
Win 2 < 1% 29% 41% 29% < 1%
Denver Win 0 98% 2% < 1%
Win 1 1% 3% 93% 2%
Win 2 31% 36% 8% 24% < 1%

UND will finish in the top 4 and get a 1-seed.

Quinnipiac, St Cloud St, and Providence are each guaranteed a top 4 finish, and a 1-seed, if they win their conference tournament.

Quinnipiac is nearly (but not quite!) a lock for a 1-seed regardless of outcome, and St Cloud St is nearly (but not quite!) a lock for a 1-seed if they win 1.

Boston College and Denver each need at least one win, preferably two.

BC to #1 overall

An example:
http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e6c9fa056fc

Obviously Boston College needs to win and North Dakota, Quinnipiac, St Cloud St, and Providence need to lose enough to be passed by BC. Finally, it takes an unusual combination of other outcomes to give BC a small RPI advantage over those teams (note, for example, that the linked scenario actually has Providence win one then lose one to give BC just enough of an RPI edge; note also that the top 4 in that example end up within .0003 in RPI).

This is pretty unlikely, occurring only in about 1 of 940 scenarios in which Boston College wins its conference championship.

Quinnipiac missing a 1 seed

An example:
http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e8cbd15d592

Even with a win, it’s possible for Quinnipiac to fall to 5th and miss out on a 1 seed. Success by other teams eligible for #1 is a key, in this case Boston College, Denver, and St Cloud St. Note how unusual this scenario is, with a 3-way tie in pairwise comparisons and the RPI tie-breaker settled by just .001 between the three teams.

This is pretty unlikely, occurring in only about 1 of 1900 scenarios in which Quinnipiac wins one, or 1 in 210 scenarios in which Quinnipiac loses its first game.

One more team you should expect to see in the NCAA tournament

The first five—Quinnipiac, St Cloud St, Boston College, North Dakota, and Providence

On Feb. 23, I called the top 5 “starting to look like locks” for the NCAA tournament (in order of their ranking at the time)—#2 Quinnipiac, #3 St Cloud St, #5 Boston College, #1 North Dakota, and #4 Providence. While those 5 have shuffled a bit amongst themselves, they obviously remain the top 5, and are even more certain locks.

None of them are likely to drop out of the top 7 in this weekend’s conference tournament play. Because a worst case scenario for any of those teams would also mean no more games before NCAA selection, there would be limited opportunity for additional downward movement.

und

qu

scsu

providence

bc

Almost had it—Michigan

In that Feb. 23 article, I called (then #6) #8 Michigan too close and too many games remaining to call. The Wolverines have rewarded me for my caution, going 1-3, dropping two spots, and being at risk of hitting the bubble if they continue to lose.

michigan

The new “next one”—Denver

But what about the new #6 Denver (then #8)? They’ve been the hottest PWR team of 2016 with a 14-1-3 record since the New Year, including a 4-0 run since that article.

top10

The Pioneers are facing an elimination best-of-3 that is likely to result in no worse than a #8 PWR ranking, I’m comfortable saying you should expect to see Denver in the NCAA tournament.

Note, however, that Denver has not mathematically secured the bid. In very obscure scenarios, they could fall as low as 9 this weekend if swept (about a .1% of KRACH-weighted outcomes in which Denver goes 0-2). It’s conceivable, though incredibly unlikely, that the then idle Pioneers could slip enough further to fall below the cutline if almost all of the conference tournaments are won by teams outside the top 16. That scenario is extremely unlikely to still be in play after this weekend, but if it is, I’ll give full details of the likelihood and how it could happen.

denver

A few top teams are starting to look like locks for NCAA tournament

For the first time this season, the top PWR teams are starting to look like locks for the NCAA hockey tournament. Aside from current PWR ranking, the biggest determinant in how possible it is for a top team to fall out of contention is how many games it has remaining (because when looking for the worst case, each is a potential loss). Some teams are down to 4 regular season games remaining while others have as many as 8 (plus up to 2 conference tournament losses, in the worst case, for most teams).

While it’s tough to imagine #1 Quinnipiac or #2 St Cloud St losing out, including a pair in the conference tournament, even that probably wouldn’t be enough to bump them (dependent on how many conferences’ tournament champions come from outside the top of the PWR).

quinnipiac scsu

While #3 North Dakota is mathematically vulnerable, getting swept 4 more weekends (including into the conference tournament) seems unlikely.

und

With only 4 games remaining, #4 Boston College and #5 Providence are near locks (again, dependent on how many conferences’ tournament champions come from outside the top of the PWR).

bc providence

#6 Michigan is the highest ranked team with a significant chance of falling to the bubble, largely by virtue of having more games remaining than any other similarly ranked team.

michigan

Despite a brutal schedule of series against #5 Providence and #11 Boston University, #7 Notre Dame won’t fall much with only 4 regular season games remaining. But, 11-12 going into the conference tournament would leave the Irish vulnerable to being excluded with a poor performance.

notredame

With 6 regular season games remaining for each, it’s too early to call #8 Denver and #9 Nebraska-Omaha safe. It would take a slump for either to miss the NCAA tournament, but they do play each other head-to-head and the Mavericks have a particularly brutal schedule (#8 Denver, #3 North Dakota, and #2 St Cloud).

denver uno

Who’s in position for the NCAAs with four weeks left in the regular season?

With most conferences having just four weeks of games remaining before their tournaments begin (the Big Ten has five), the field is tightening up a bit compared to my first look at the cutlines.

Still, no one is mathematically a lock — leaving the regular season in the 10-14 range, as is possible for even the top teams, is not safe because each can accumulate two additional losses and no wins in the conference tournament (only in the Big Ten conference tournament is the worst case scenario exiting immediately with a single loss and no wins).

#1 Quinnipiac
#2 St Cloud St
#3 North Dakota
#4 Boston College
#5 Providence
#6 Michigan
#7 Notre Dame
#8 Boston University
#9 Nebraska-Omaha
#10 Yale
#11 Harvard
#12 Denver

Through #12 Denver should be safe for an at-large bid unless they slump and sink below .500 in their remaining games. Teams near the top have more margin for mistakes than near the bottom.

qu

denver

From #13 Mass.-Lowell through #26 Minnesota-Duluth can position themselves for an at-large bid, with those near the bottom requiring near perfect records.

#13 Mass.-Lowell
#14 Cornell
#15 Penn St
#16 Dartmouth
#17 Clarkson
#18 Michigan Tech
#19 Robert Morris
#20 Rensselaer
#21 Minnesota St
#22 Minnesota
#23 Bowling Green
#24 Miami
#25 St. Lawrence
#26 Minnesota-Duluth

masslowell

umd

#27 Northeastern and below would need near perfection and some luck to sneak into position for an at-large bid. Even then, success in the conference tournament would be required to not fall out of position. These teams should plan to do well in their conference tournaments.

#27 Northeastern
#28 Ferris St
#29 Union
#30 Northern Michigan
#31 Air Force
#32 Holy Cross
#33 Bemidji St
#34 New Hampshire
#35 Vermont
#36 Western Michigan
#37 Ohio St
#38 Wisconsin
#39 Mercyhurst
#40 RIT
#41 Merrimack
#42 Bentley
#43 Connecticut
#44 Colgate
#45 Massachusetts
#46 Alaska Anchorage
#47 Michigan St
#48 Maine
#49 Colorado College
#50 Army
#51 Lake Superior
#52 Princeton
#53 Brown
#54 Sacred Heart
#55 Canisius
#56 Alaska
#57 Alabama-Huntsville
#58 Niagara
#59 Arizona St
#60 American International

northeastern

These lines are approximate because it’s entirely possible for a currently lower ranked team to have a better chance of a higher finish than a higher ranked team. Individual teams’ records, remaining games, and opponents can result in different potentials. For example, most of the teams in the 30s have literally no chance of rising onto the bubble, see #35 Vermont, but then you occasionally stumble across a chart like #36 Western Michigan.

vermont

westernmichigan

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

Playoff cutline movers

It’s been three weeks since my first look at the 2016 cutlines, in which I identified five different tranches of teams. With most teams having played about 6 games and having about 10 remaining, some have managed to noticeably shift their fates.

The article noted that no one was safe (which is still true), but that 1-11 would be fine as long as they didn’t slump with performances approaching .500.

#9 Nebraska-Omaha (then #3) is demonstrating just such a swing, with a 1-5 run since that article. They now need to win about 5 of the remaining 10 to stay on or above the bubble going into conference playoffs.

#14 Cornell (then #7) is also teetering on the edge following a 2-3-1 run. The Big Red need to take at least 6 of the remaining 10 for a chance to stay on the bubble at the end of the regular season.

#26 St. Lawrence (then #10) has plummeted with a 1-6 run, and now needs an improbable 9 out of 10 wins to get back into at-large position.

uno

cornell

stlawrence

The article also observed that the 12-19 teams were very much alive, and generally needed to win 60-80% of their games to stay positioned for an at-large bid. A 3-0-3 run has treated #7 Boston College well (rising from #16). An 0-3-2 run has treated #29 Union (formerly #18) poorly.

bc

Union

In the 20-26 block, which I noted is the lowest from which a team usually manages to break out for an at-large bid, #13 Denver has thus far delivered with a 5-0-1 run. The Pioneers need to keep up that success and win about 6 of the remaining 10 scheduled regular season games to go into the conference tournament on the bubble.

denver

I noted that 27-45 weren’t mathematically eliminated, but needed a near perfect season for a shot (and that those near the top were in much better shape than those near the bottom). Of that group, #22 Miami (then #28) has come the closest with a 3-1-1 performance that still leaves them needing near perfection for a shot at the bubble.

miami

From the 46-60 block, which I predicted needed to win the conference tournament for a bid, #27 Northeastern (formerly #49) has made the most noise with an unexpected 6-0 run (the Huskies were 3-12-4 until that run). However, even if they improbably maintain perfection over the remaining 9 scheduled games, the bubble still seems just on the edge of their reach.

northeastern

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.

Resources

Last weekend of February tournament cutlines

As we enter the final full weekend of regular season play (there is some regular season play next weekend, and the Big Ten pushes into the weekend beyond that, but over half the remaining regular season games occur this weekend), I want to remind readers that these forecasts will be through the end of the regular season only.

Conference tournaments don’t provide a lot of downside risk, because they tend to be single elimination (the notable exception being that it’s possible to go 0-2 in conference play in conferences with play-in series). However, there can be significant upside opportunity because teams in conferences with play-in series can put together something like a 4-1 run (a perfect record in conference play would earn the autobid, thus rendering the final PWR ranking unimportant).

Because of those games remaining to be played, I loosely define ending the regular season ranked 13-17 as “on the bubble”. Teams in those rankings can secure an autobid with a decent conference tournament performance.

#7 Denver is the highest ranked team with a decent chance of falling to the bubble if they slump.

denver

#10 Minnesota and below actually need to do pretty well (e.g. above .500) to avoid falling to the bubble (note this chart was made before last night’s win).

Minnesota

Former top-ranked #18 Harvard and below need good performances to climb onto the bubble.

Harvard

Though it’s unlikely that #23 Robert Morris will climb into contention, #24 Western Michigan, #25 Bemidji State, and #26 Penn State are long shots if they win out.

robertmorris

westernmichigan

bemidjistate

pennstate

#27 Dartmouth and below are unlikely to make the NCAA tournament without significant success in their conference tournaments.

dartmouth

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.

Resources