Tag Archives: Minnesota

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

This weekend’s big PWR movers

Sorry for the lateness and any errors, had to crank this one out in a hurry…

More upside than you might expect

Not this week. Usually a team or two in the mid-20s have the opportunities for jumps approaching 10 spots. Plenty of teams in that range have the chance to jump about 5 spots, maybe even 6 if all goes well, but anything approaching a 10 spot jump from a team of any consequence is very unlikely.

More downside than you might expect

The high teens is a tough place to be this time of year.

#14 Penn State, idle last weekend but on the list of potential big drops two weeks ago, is in familiar territory — win 2 to stay in place, or be prepared to fall. A 10 spot drop to #24 is possible.

pennstate

#15 Minnesota-Duluth, which jumped 10 spots (as predicted) with an impressive pair of wins last weekend, doesn’t have much upside potential but stands to give back its ground if it doesn’t keep up its winning streak. An 11 spot drop to #26 is possible.

minnduluth

#16 Minnesota, which was also on last week’s potential big drop list, finds itself there again. Two wins won’t do much for the Gophers, but losses could result in up to a 9 spot drop to #25.

minnesota

#17 Michigan Tech, #18 Miami, and #20 Cornell also face potentially significant drops of up to 7-8 positions if they lose 2. They each, however, face more normal upside potential with success.

mtech

miami

cornell

This weekend’s big PWR movers

Looking up!

As mentioned in yesterday’s PWR outlook article, all the teams from #20 St. Lawrence to #26 Clarkson have the potential to climb into the teens this weekend. But, #25 Minnesota-Duluth and #26 Clarkson, in particular, have the potential to make huge jumps.

The #25 Bulldogs could find themselves as high as #14, a jump of 11 spots, with a sweep of #2 St. Cloud St. Most likely with a sweep is a still unusual climb of 8-9 positions to #16-17.

duluth

#26 Clarkson could find itself as high as 16 with wins over Dartmouth and Harvard, though #19-21 are more likely. The likely outcomes for Clarkson with two wins cover a surprising #16-#23 span. Clarkson’s outcome with two wins would rest a lot on other games, with the Golden Knights cheering for sweeps from Alaska Anchorage over Minnesota St, St. Cloud St over Minnesota-Duluth, Maine over Northeastern, Alaska over Michigan Tech, and Canisius over Robert Morris.

clarkson

Going down?

Every team in the #14-22 range, except idle #15 Penn State, could fall more than five positions with a pair of losses. #14 Cornell, #17 Miami, #18 Michigan Tech, and #16 Minnesota are facing particularly steep falls.

Cornell could see itself fall as low as #24 with losses to Rensselaer and Union, though the spread of likely outcomes stretches a huge span of 17-24.

cornell

Miami faces a steep drop to as low as #29 if swept by Colorado College, with a still significant drop to 26-27 most likely.

miami

Michigan Tech could find itself as low as #28 if they drop a pair to Alaska, though #24-26 are more likely.

mtech

If Minnesota gets swept by Michigan, it will face a broad range of potential outcomes that stretches as low as #25. #19-23 are all reasonably likely in that scenario.

minnesota

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.

yale

#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.

masslowell

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.

pennstate

#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.

stlawrenceride

stlawrence

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.

minnesota

#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.

rpi

clarkson

#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.

minnesotaduluth

What teams need to do to advance

Looking back at Saturday – what’s still possible, 11 teams are already a lock for the 16 team tournament.

The winner of Atlantic Hockey will definitely take a spot, leaving 4 spots for other teams

The winners of NCHC and WCHA are guaranteed to come from among the 11, so have no additional effect on number of slots.

Only Hockey East can go to a team that is already guaranteed a spot, making the Boston University-Mass.-Lowell game the most important game for most teams hoping to make it at large. If Mass.-Lowell wins, they take another spot, leaving only 3. If BU wins, there are still 4.

Finally, the Big Ten and ECAC tournaments each contain one team that can only advance by winning the tournament and one team that can make it at-large, so they will effectively each be taking a spot, leaving just 1-2.

What each at-large team needs

The bubble team scenarios are all pretty complex given the questions about how many slots will be available for at-large teams

Minnesota’s slim risk comes from losing and having their PWR fall as low as #15. Because Minnesota losing would involve Michigan winning the Big Ten and thus taking another slot, #15 in the PWR would not make it. To avoid that, if they lose, Minnesota would need any of Harvard, Boston University, or St Cloud State to win. If all of them lose, then Minnesota makes it only about 58% of the remaining scenarios, dependent on weird combinations of the outcomes of UND/Denver, Mich Tech/Mankato, and RIT/Mercyhurst.

Bowling Green’s slim opportunity comes from climbing to #15 and having that spot get an at-large bid. So, no low ranked teams can win their conference tournaments and steal a spot, meaning BG needs wins from Minnesota, Harvard, and Boston University. They also needs Michigan Tech to beat Mankato, and some specific combinations of RIT/Mercyhurst, UND/Denver, and Miami/SCSU outcomes.

Yale’s opportunity has gotten a bit larger. They can climb a little higher than BG, as high as #13-14 in PWR, so have a more opportunities even if lower ranked teams win conference tournaments. They seem to need Harvard and Boston University to win. If those two came through, Yale would advance in about 90% of remaining scenarios. If Mankato won, they would advance; if Mich Tech won, they would need more help. A Mich Tech and Denver win seems to get them in, while a Mich Tech and North Dakota win would leave them still needing help. A Mich Tech, North Dakota, and RIT win seems to get them in, while a Mich Tech, North Dakota, and Mercyhurst win leaves them needing a little more help. A Mich Tech, North Dakota, Mercyhurst, St Cloud St, and Michigan win would get them in.

Providence is a quagmire of all the leftovers from the above. Sorry for mailing it in on this one, but the single biggest factor is Minnesota winning which jumps them from 48% to 93% of remaining scenarios. Beyond that, it’s all weird combinations.

Tonight’s headlines – PWR effects of ECAC outcomes

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.

I’m starting with the effects of ECAC outcomes because the large number of bubble teams in the ECAC makes those among the most interesting.

  • Minnesota appears not to be able to make it at-large with 0 wins if Harvard wins today.
  • Boston College appears to be guaranteed an at-large bid if Harvard and St. Lawrence win today.
  • Mass.-Lowell appears not to be able to make it at-large (though could still be alive in their own tournament) if Harvard wins today.
  • Yale appears not to be able to make the tournament if Quinnipiac and Colgate win today.
  • Vermont appears not to be able to make it at-large (though could still be alive in their own tournament) if Harvard and Colgate win today.

Plus the effects on the playing ECAC teams themselves, previously discussed:

  • St. Lawrence appears to need to win its conference tournament to get a bid
  • Colgate appears to need at least one win to make the tournament, so would be eliminated with a loss tonight

 

Friday morning’s PWR headlines today

There are two Big Ten games today, so while people will be poring over PWR tables and running simulations tonight, I’ll predict their headlines now:

[OSU or Penn St] and [Michigan or UW] advance in first round of Big Ten tournament, knocking [Penn St or OSU] and [UW or Michigan] out of NCAA contention. Share of remaining scenarios in which Minnesota advances with one win [cut in half/double].

That is pretty much it. The primary tournament effects appear to be that the teams that lose are eliminated, which you probably already knew. The possibilities of other teams advancing in certain scenarios will shift a few percentage points here and there, with the only significant shift being Minnesota’s chance of advancing with 1 win going from 35% as of now to 50-55% if Michigan wins or 16-18% if Wisconsin wins.

No teams other than those playing today seem to have any potential scenarios closed off as a result of today’s action.

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.

bostoncollege

#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.

bowlinggreen

#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.

minnesota

#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.

masslowell

#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.

stscloudst

#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.

harvard

#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.

colgate

#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.

vermont

#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.

michigan

#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.

bemidjist

#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.

stlawrence

#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.

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

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

Big PWR games of the week

#10 Minnesota appears in the Big PWR Game of the Week for a second time. Buoyed by a road split last weekend, the Gophers probably need a better performance hosting #33 Michigan State to avoid falling back down to the bubble.

Getting swept could incite numerous “Time to get rid of the stupid PWR?” forum threads, as Minnesota would likely fall 8-9 places.

minnesota_oneweek

The runner-up, #22 Northeastern, could provide a shock in the other direction by appearing on the bubble if they sweep #6 Boston University.

northeastern_oneweek

Finally, #1 Minnesota State faces the biggest threat to its ranking in weeks with a series hosting #5 Michigan Tech. The Mavericks need a sweep to hold off #2 North Dakota.

mankato_oneweek

michtech