Tag Archives: Nebraska-Omaha

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

Weekend PWR outlook (Jan 29-31)

If you missed yesterday’s article, you might want to start with Playoff cutline movers to get some perspective on big movers over the last few weeks and where teams are likely to end the regular season. This article will look at what movements are likely this weekend.

Teams in the top 20 tend to face significantly more downside potential each week than upside. It is pretty intuitive if you think about winning percentages—for a .500 team to climb to the top, it needs to net win a lot more games than the top teams do (which is especially difficult, given that the top teams’ past success is likely correlated with continued wins). However, a few losses can result in a precipitous drop. Teams in the 45-55 range often face similarly disproportionate upside potential, but we don’t notice that as much because it’s less interesting.

#19 Minnesota-Duluth exemplifies the imbalance—with a sweep the Bulldogs are most likely to climb to #18 (though could do a bit better, particularly with SCSU and Denver wins), but if swept is most likely to fall to about #24.

This is a good time for a warning about edge cases. Unexpected things can and do happen. When I talk about “likely” outcomes, those generally only cover 60-70% of the possibilities. So, you could infer that something other than what I call “likely” will occur every 3rd or 4th prediction. That’s why I usually also show you the entire possibilities curve in a graph. Using UMD’s outcomes for this weekend as an example, ranks 15-27 come up in over 1% of scenarios, while ranks 14-30 are mathematically possible (albeit extremely unlikely).

duluth

Having lost 5 of its last 6, #9 Nebraska-Omaha is at risk of falling to the bubble with two more losses.

uno

#10 Yale also faces significant downside facing Rensselaer and Union. A pair of losses could result in a drop to the 15-16 range.

yale

#12 Mass.-Lowell shows the risks of hosting a bottom-ranked team. A pair of wins over Arizona St could result in no movement at all, though a pair of losses would probably drop the River Hawks to 18-19.

masslowell

#26 St Lawrence has plummeted after losing 6 of its last 7. The hole is so deep now that it would take the rest of the regular season to climb back out, with a pair of wins this week most likely only resulting in a climb of about 2 rank positions.

stlawrence

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

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