Tag Archives: Harvard

How Harvard can reach #1 overall

You might want to follow along with a sample scenario – https://goo.gl/Zc38am (CHN You are the Committee)

Harvard getting to #1 overall is possible, though not very likely. The Crimson only advance to #1 in about 2% of the scenarios in which they win the ECAC tournament.

Poor performance by Minnesota-Duluth and Denver is obviously required for Harvard to be able to overtake each in RPI. Each needs to lose their opener, but they then would meet in a consolation game in which both can’t lose. Duluth must defeat Denver in that game to knock Denver’s RPI just a hair below Harvard’s, while not allowing Duluth to climb enough to overtake Harvard.

Even if Duluth and Denver both lose their semifinal games and the Bulldogs lose the consolation game, Harvard still only advances to #1 in about 11% of those scenarios. Other tournament outcomes then need to push Harvard’s RPI up enough to catch Denver, but there’s no single linchpin team or game that would do it, it will take a lucky combination of outcomes. I’ll post updates throughout the tournament as the odds change.

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.

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Six teams have an opportunity to dramatically increase NCAA at-large odds this weekend

Likely in—#7 Yale, #8 Michigan, #9 Boston University, #10 Notre Dame

These teams are in good shape and likely to get an at-large bid if they win more than they lose in the coming two weekends.

If swept this weekend, their worst likely outcomes are falling to the 11-12 range, which would require keeping an eye out for potential additional downward movement and the cutlines (that is, how many of the at-large spots are taken away by autobids ranked lower than 16 in the PWR).

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Of course, for Yale, Boston University, and Notre Dame, a pair of wins means another game. A loss in that game would probably result in giving back up some ground. But, that would still probably result in a safe position unless a lot of low ranked teams win their conference tournaments.

Note that Michigan’s position is slightly different because the Big Ten is still in regular season play. Even if swept by Penn State this weekend, the Wolverines would still have an additional game in the Big Ten tournament to either climb or fall. That worst possible outcome this weekend could drop Michigan as low as #12, from which another loss could push them out of position for an at-large bid.

Likely in if they win—#11 Harvard, #12 Mass.-Lowell

These teams would be in trouble if swept this weekend. Harvard’s likely fall could be to as low as 16, and Mass.-Lowell as low as 15. While it’s possible to climb a little bit while idle and have the cutline low enough to sneak into an at-large bid, it would be a bit of a longshot. I’ll also note that there are some extremely unlikely cases that could push these teams as low as 18 and 17 respectively if swept.

Sweeping, on the other hand, has the possibility of putting either in great shape — as high as 8 or 9 (though 9 to 11 more likely) with only 1 potential loss remaining.

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With two weeks until conference tournaments begin, teams on the bubble need to get hot

Picking up where I left off yesterday, in A few top teams are starting to look like locks for the NCAA tournament, those teams currently ranked #10 and below in the PWR need to do some work to ensure being positioned for an NCAA tournament bid.

If #10 Yale and below lose more than they win, they risk going into conference tournaments in the teens and having to glue themselves to this blog. #11 Boston University and #12 Harvard have very similar outlooks to Yale, each with 4 scheduled regular season games remaining, and each wanting two wins to maintain their current position.

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#13 Mass.-Lowell can also maintain its current position, or slip slightly, with a pair of wins. But, that would leave them squarely on the bubble going into conference tournament play.

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Because the Big Ten regular season extends later into March, #14 Penn State has 6 games remaining. But, the Nittany Lions need 4 wins to make maintaining their #14 ranking the most likely outcome.

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#15 St. Lawrence has kept me in business this year, with a wild ride from #10 in my inaugural January article, down to as low as #27 at the end of January. I noted back in January that they would need to win about 9 of their last 10 to go into the conference tournament on the bubble. After a 5-0-1 run, the Saints are still positioned for a #13-14 ranking with no more losses, or a #15-16 ranking with one loss.

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The #16 Minnesota Gophers have 6 games remaining, and most likely need 5 wins just to maintain that ranking going into the conference tournament.

That should be no surprise, as all the way back on January 6, I published a chart on Minnesota that suggested Minnesota needed to win about 12 of its remaining 16 to end up ranked #15-16. Including two additional tournament games, Minnesota has gone 8-4 over that period, leaving them little room for additional losses.

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#17 Rensselaer, #18 Cornell, #19 Michigan Tech, #20 Miami, #21 Dartmouth, and #22 Clarkson all need to win out to be most likely to end the regular season in the #13-14 range.

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#23 Minnesota-Duluth has a bit more wiggle room, with a finish in the #14-16 range likely with even just 4 wins in its remaining 6 games. The Bulldogs have the notable RPI improvement possibility, and challenge, of playing #2 St. Cloud and #3 North Dakota on the road.

In late January, I suggested that the Bulldogs would need to win 8/9 out of their final 11 to end up in the 14-16 range. In the interim, they’ve delivered a 3-2 performance, so it’s a modest upside surprise that they might be able to afford two more losses.

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A first look at the 2016 at-large bid cutlines

If you’re new here, you might want to start with Welcome to collegehockeyranked.com. While anything related to college hockey rankings is fair game for this site, in most articles I try to provide insight as to where teams are likely to end up in the PairWise Rankings (PWR) that mimic the NCAA’s men’s ice hockey tournament selection process (and, thus, which teams are likely to be selected for the tournament).

In last year’s When to start looking at PWR, I noted that the early January PWR does give us some useful information as to what each team needs to do to make the tournament at-large. Top teams can still fall out of contention (though it takes a notable collapse for the top few), and it’s pretty unusual for a team ranked much lower than 25 at this time of year to climb to an at-large bid.

To test those larger trends against this year’s schedule and results, I ran simulations for the remaining scheduled regular season games to see where each team is likely to end up. The full methodology is described at the bottom of this article.

Before we jump into the data, I do want to remind you that starting simulations now (with over 450 scheduled games remaining) makes it pretty likely that some of the 1% events will happen. So, just telling you the average outcome for each team wouldn’t be particularly useful, because it would include an assumption about the team’s future performance that will prove wrong for some teams. Instead, I tell you where a team is likely to end up conditional on how many games they win (or, how many games a team needs to win to achieve an outcome such as making the NCAA tournament at-large).

Which teams are likely to get an at-large bid?

Around this time last year, I asked, “Is anyone safe?”, and answered,

Not completely. Even #1 Harvard could slip to the bubble if it wins only 6-7 of its remaining 14 scheduled games. That’s not particularly likely

Harvard went 5-10-1 in its next 16 games to fall to #22 in the PWR at the end of the regular season. The Crimson were still very much on the bubble until they secured a bid by winning the ECAC tournament. Though the assumption that Harvard would keep performing as it had to date (and thus win far more than 6-7 more games) proved wrong, the simulated prediction proved correct that Harvard would be on the bubble if that happened.

#1 Quinnipiac’s KRACH is so strong relative to its scheduled competitors that none of my simulations (which weight likely outcomes by KRACH) had them winning fewer than 6 games! However, knowing that past results aren’t a perfect predictor of future results, we can look at the positioning of the “win 6” and guess that they could get into trouble if they win just 2-4 of their remaining scheduled games.

quinnipiac

If you’re feeling deja vu, let me add that #2 Harvard could find itself in trouble with only 6 wins in its remaining 16 scheduled games.

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Down to about #11 Penn State, teams just need avoid a slump that approaches (or goes beneath) .500 to stay positioned for the at-large field.

1 Quinnipiac
2 Harvard
3 Nebraska-Omaha
4 St Cloud St
5 North Dakota
6 Providence
7 Cornell
8 Michigan
9 Yale
10 St. Lawrence
11 Penn State

pennstate

From about #12 Boston University to about #19 Minnesota, teams need to win 60-80% of their remaining games.

12 Boston University
13 Notre Dame
14 Mass.-Lowell
15 Rensselaer
16 Boston College
17 Minnesota State
18 Union
19 Minnesota

bostonuniversity

minnesota

The lowest rank at this time of year from which a team usually climbs to an at-large bid is in the mid-20s. It takes a hot streak, but someone usually does it.

20 Dartmouth
21 Denver
22 Bowling Green
23 Holy Cross
24 Robert Morris
25 Minnesota Duluth
26 Western Michigan

dartmouth westernmichigan

Is anyone out of contention?

#27 Michigan Tech to #45 Mercyhurst aren’t mathematically eliminated, but need something approaching a perfect remaining season to get an at-large bid. It’s a bit easier for teams near the top of the list (2-3 losses for most) than those at the bottom (almost no losses and a bit of a luck).

27 Michigan Tech
28 Miami
29 New Hampshire
30 Alaska Anchorage
31 Merrimack
32 Clarkson
33 Massachusetts
34 Wisconsin
35 Ferris State
36 Northern Michigan
37 Brown
38 Vermont
39 Princeton
40 Bentley
41 Bemidji State
42 Air Force
43 Ohio State
44 Connecticut
45 Mercyhurst

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mercyhurst

For #46 Lake Superior State and below it looks like the only path to the NCAA tournament is through the conference tournaments. Those include:

46 Lake Superior State
47 Colgate
48 RIT
49 Northeastern
50 Sacred Heart
51 Alaska
52 Maine
53 Michigan State
54 Army
55 Arizona
56 Canisius
57 Colorado College
58 Alabama-Huntsville
59 Niagara
60 American International

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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.

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Tonight’s headlines – PWR effects of Hockey East games

The bulk of games are tonight, so there will plenty of PWR tables, simulations, blogs, and tweets about PWR implications of the outcomes. I’ll try to give you a preview of some of those in advance.

These claims are a little less certain than my usual articles because they involve a fair amount of human tweaking, tallying, and writing. So, I may have introduced some error, so I’ll use the words “appear to be” a lot.

Like the ECAC, Hockey East has quite a few teams near the bubble. However, the outcomes of their games tonight have far less impact on other teams’ scenarios than do the ECAC teams’.

  • Quinnipiac appears to be able to secure an at-large bid with just one additional win if Boston University and Mass.-Lowell win tonight.
  • Harvard appears to move into the position of needing at least one win to still have a chance at an at-large bid if New Hampshire and Vermont win tonight.

Plus the effects on the playing Hockey East teams themselves, previously discussed:

  • New Hampshire appears to need to win the conference tournament to advance
  • Mass.-Lowell appears to need at least one win to advance, so losing tonight would eliminate them
  • Vermont appears to need at least one win to advance, so losing tonight would eliminate them

 

A look at the bubble teams

If you haven’t read them yet, you might want to start with my articles from earlier this week, Who’s a lock for the NCAA tournament? and Who might fall out of contention for the NCAA tournament? Having visited those two extremes, this article goes into a little more depth on the teams in between.

Background on how PWR matters for tournament selection

Because we get lots of new readers during the tournament season, here’s some background information that my posts generally assume you know:

  • The PWR rankings are not a poll or computer model, but are instead an implementation of the same process the NCAA uses to select its tournament participants. They have correctly predicted the NCAA tournament participants for a decade or two.
  • Each conference gets to send one tournament winner to the NCAA tournament. So, we don’t need to look at the PWR of a team that wins its conference tournament.
  • The remaining 10 slots are given to top teams as ranked by the process implemented in PWR. So, PWR ranks 1-10 are in for sure; but, for 11-16 to make it requires some of the autobids to have gone to teams ranked above them (e.g. if an autobid goes to the team ranked #3, then an extra slot is open for the team ranked #11, and so on).

Because of that structure, we think of teams that are going to finish in the 12-15 range as “on the bubble”. Teams’ prospects are dependent not only on their final ranking, but also on how many lower ranked teams wins conference tournaments. Bubble teams’ chances for an at-large bid increase as slots are freed up by more conference tournaments being won by teams that would have made the NCAA tournament at-large.

A look at the bubble teams

#9 Providence would be on the bubble if eliminated from their conference tournament this weekend. They’d then need a bit of luck to make the NCAA tournament, needing to either climb a bit while idle and/or have a lot of conference tournaments won by top ranked teams.

If Providence wins this weekend, they’ll be in pretty good shape. A semifinal loss would probably push them back down to the high end of the bubble, while a win would nearly lock up a bid.

providence

#10 Boston College is in a very similar position to Providence. They’d be on the bubble if eliminated this weekend and would be watching the other conference tournaments carefully.

If they advance this weekend, they’ll be in pretty good shape — favored, though probably not mathematically secure, for an NCAA bid.

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#11 Bowling Green would likely be pushed down below the bubble if eliminated this weekend. It would take a lot of luck to climb back onto the bubble while idle and have most of the conference tournaments won by top ranked teams.

If Bowling Green advances, they would still probably need a semifinal win to stay on the bubble.

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#12 Quinnipiac has a chance of staying on the bubble if eliminated this week, but would have to watch future tournament results carefully.

If they advance, another win would probably be needed to stay atop the bubble.

quinnipiac

#13 Yale is likely to be pushed just below the bubble if eliminated this weekend, but would stand a slim chance of climbing onto it dependent on other tournament results.

Advancing this weekend would position them well, but not secure a spot in the NCAAs. With an additional win, Yale would be favored to secure a spot.

yale

#14 Minnesota hasn’t entered conference tournament play yet, so does not face elimination. Getting swept this weekend would put them in a bad spot for an at-large bid, but would also probably force them to play in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The extra game would give them the chance to go 2-1 in the conference tournament and possibly get back onto the bubble.

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#15 Mass.-Lowell is likely to end well below the bubble if eliminated this weekend. It would take a very unlikely confluence of events for them to move into an at-large bid from that position.

Advancing puts them in a precarious spot on the bubble, such that a subsequent loss would probably push them off.

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#16 St Cloud St is currently at 11-12-1 so needs one more win than loss in its remaining games to meet the .500 requirement for consideration for the NCAA tournament. So, the Huskies won’t be considered if eliminated this weekend. If they advance (either 2-1 or 2-0), they’ll be in a decent bubble position, but probably need at least one more win.

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#17 Harvard will be below the bubble if eliminated this weekend and it’s very unlikely they could slide into position for an at-large bid while idle.

Advancing would put them right on the bubble, such that they’d probably want another win to stay there.

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#18 Colgate is out if eliminated this weekend. Advancing puts them on the low end of the bubble, such that a subsequent loss would probably push them off. Best to advance and win one more.

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#19 Vermont is very likely out if eliminated this weekend. Advancing would put them right on the low end of the bubble, such that another win would probably be required to make the tournament at-large.

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#20 Michigan is not yet in its conference tournament so is not facing elimination this weekend. Two losses would likely put an at-large bid out of reach, while two wins would bring the bubble within sight. A first round bye, though, would reduce their opportunities to climb in the PWR.

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#21 Bemidji State is out if eliminated this weekend. It’s possible, though not particularly likely, that Bemidji State could position itself for an at-large bid by advancing to the conference tournament final and losing.

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#22 St. Lawrence is almost identical to Bemidji State. They’re out if they lose this weekend. It’s possible, though not particularly likely, that St. Lawrence could position itself for an at-large bid by advancing to the conference tournament final and losing.

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#23 Dartmouth is out if they fail to advance. Dartmouth is better positioned than the teams above it to get an at-large bid by winning a few games then losing the conference final. Winning the conference tournament would be a safer bet.

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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.

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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.

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#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).

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

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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.

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

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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

A new #1 in KRACH

Unlike PWR (which mimics the tournament selection process) , KRACH is just for fun. But, a lot of people like it and it’s what I use to estimate team strength when simulating game outcomes.

When writing yesterday’s post, I noticed there’s a new king of the hill in PWR – #2 North Dakota.

Only once this season has #1 Minnesota State been knocked out of first place in KRACH, on Dec. 29 by then second-in-PWR Harvard. The following week Harvard also took over first place in PWR. Harvard’s reign was short-lived, as Minnesota State took back the top rankings in both PWR and KRACH on January 12 and have held both until this week.

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Tournament cutlines and weekend PWR outlook

Welcome new visitors. You might want to start with my introductory post, Hello world, to see what this blog is about. It may not be for everyone.

Review of last week’s cutlines

I don’t report on the cutlines (the rankings above which teams are locks for the tournament and below which teams are unable to make the tournament at-large) weekly, because their movements are usually pretty intuitive. If I reported that a team needs to win 5 out 8 and it subsequently wins 2 games, it then needs to win 3 out of 6; the PWR curves usually look about same, just the curve labels change from “5 more wins” to “3 more wins” and so forth. To illustrate that, let’s quickly review a few of the teams that had charts in last week’s article (you may want to open its charts side-by-side for comparison if you can).

By winning 2 games, #4 Minnesota-Duluth made the old “win 0” curve drop off and now just needs 1 or 2 more wins to stay on or above the bubble.

minnesotaduluth_endofseason

#5 Bowling Green also won 2 games, so now just needs about 4 wins to go into conference tournaments on the bubble.

bowlinggreen_endofseason

Further down the chart, #14 Minnesota shifted all of its curves with a pair of wins — the Gophers now need about 6 or 7 wins out of 10 (consistent with last week’s 8 or 9 out of 12) to climb onto the bubble before conference tournaments.

minnesota_endofseason

#30 Bemidji State, which I said last week could only afford about 2 losses, has racked up 2 losses. They would pretty much need to win out for a shot at an at-large bid.

bemidjistate_endofseason

Interesting potential movements this weekend

First, is this the week #1 Minnesota State falls out of first? It only seems possible if they get swept (which KRACH gives about a 2.6% chance of happening), and even then someone nipping at their heels (North Dakota seems the only possibility) has to do well. You can’t see the “Win 1” curve because it’s in exactly the same place as “Win 2″—100% at 1.

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The matchup of the weekend is definitely #12 Michigan vs #14 Minnesota. Neither has much upside potential, but if either sweeps the other will plummet up to 10 spots.

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#15 Mass.-Lowell needs a sweep to hang on, but pair of losses could send them into the twenties.

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Remember when #16 Harvard was ranked 1st and I said that a “not particularly likely” bad 2nd half could still push them out? Two more losses this weekend could push them into the twenties.

harvard

#22 St Cloud State, mentioned last week as the lowest ranked team with a good chance of climbing into contention, can make up some ground this weekend. An unlikely sweep of #5 Minnesota-Duluth could catapult them up onto the bubble, while even a split could result in a climb of a position or two.

stcloudst

#26 Western Michigan is also poised for huge jump with an also unlikely sweep over #4 Nebraska-Omaha.

westernmichigan

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