Tag Archives: Yale

How Yale could miss the NCAA tournament

Background

You may want to read the Background on how PWR matters for tournament selection and How the “can make it at-large teams” can make it sections of NCAA tournament possibilities (with less math), if you haven’t already.

How Yale could miss

Given that idle Yale can fall no further than #13, the most important contributor to excluding Yale is to have conference tournaments won by low-ranked teams. That chews up spots that could otherwise have gone to at-large teams, what we call “moving the cutline”.

But, Yale also needs to lose some RPI comparison(s) that it’s currently winning to get knocked out of the safe #10 PWR spot. Given that they’re not playing this weekend, Yale’s RPI can only be pushed downward by moving their opponents’ (and opponents’ opponents’) win percentages. Here are Yale’s top opponents by weighted games played (from Yale RPI details):

Dartmouth 4.2 (still playing)
Princeton 3.4
Union 2.4
Cornell 2.2
Massachusetts 2.2
St. Lawrence 2 (still playing)
Harvard 1.8 (still playing)
Clarkson 1.8
Rensselaer 1.6

Having Dartmouth lose can have a big downward effect on Yale’s RPI, as would having Harvard and St. Lawrence lose. But, they play each other. Having Harvard win is more useful because it allows the Crimson to hold onto enough comparisons to stay ahead of Yale, pushing Yale down a PWR spot.

That only flipped one comparison, but looking at Yale’s PWR details, we can push a couple of the bubble teams’ RPIs up over Yale’s. In the example scenario linked below, Notre Dame and Duluth’s RPIs rise enough that they overtake Yale’s and flip those two comparisons, for a total drop of 3 PWR spots.

Yale fans don’t need to worry much, these events come together in about 1.2% of remaining possible scenarios because they require a large number of low ranked teams to win conference tournaments. Here’s one example:

http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e6ce1d307b6

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).

yale

michigan

bu

notredame

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.

harvard

uml

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

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

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

 

Unlikely scenarios and how they might happen

How Yale could make the NCAA tournament

Here’s an example: http://goo.gl/VukVIh

The keys are:

  • A large number of conference tournaments being won by top teams. In this case 4 conference tournaments go to top teams so the top 14 in PWR will make the NCAA tournament.
  • Enough teams lose for Yale to climb to #14. In this case Quinnipiac, Bowling Green, Colgate, Minnesota, and Mass.-Lowell all fall below Yale. Passing five instead of four is needed to allow Vermont to pass Yale so it can absorb the autobid.

That set of conditions come together in only about 4% of scenarios to get Yale in.

How Boston College could miss the NCAA tournament

Here’s an example: http://goo.gl/lkricG

The keys are:

  • A large number of conference tournaments won by low ranked teams to take up more slots. In this example, all but 2 conference tournaments go to lower ranked teams so only the top 12 in PWR will make the NCAA tournament.
  • Move idle BC’s PWR down as much as possible. In this case, BC falls from #9 to #13 by losing the comparison to Bowling Green, St Cloud, and Colgate, to fall from 49 comparisons won to 46 (see BC’s PWR). It does so on a combination of their RPIs rising just a hair and a BC’s falling just a hair.
  • The intersection between the above two is what makes this scenario very unlikely — teams that pass BC must do so without winning the conference tournament so lower ranked teams can still take up spots. Looking back at all the possibilities, only a small number of teams have the potential to climb to #12 or higher without winning their conference tournaments. In this case, St Cloud St and Bowling Green are able to flip their comparisons with BC without too much success because they’re already so close in RPI to BC.

That set of conditions come together in only about .8% of scenarios to keep Boston College out.

How St Cloud St could make the NCAA tournament without any more wins

Here’s an example: http://goo.gl/fVsULS

The keys are:

  • As discussed in Odds and Ends, SCSU is perilously close to a .500 record so must take advantage of the possibility of a tie in the NCHC consolation game to end up with exactly a .500 record without winning another game.
  • Have only 3 conference tournaments go to lower ranked teams so #13 makes the NCAA tournament.

That set of conditions come together in about 40% of the scenarios in which SCSU loses the semifinal but goes on to tie in the consolation game.

How Hockey East could send five teams to the NCAA tournament

Here’s an example: http://goo.gl/n0L3on

The keys are:

  • In addition to BU (which makes it for sure), we need four of Mass.-Lowell, Vermont, Boston College, Providence, and New Hampshire.
  • It’s easy to get BC and idle Providence highly ranked (that’s two).
  • Because Vermont and Mass.-Lowell are long shots who play each other, we can really only get one highly ranked (one more).
  • Give New Hampshire the conference championship (outbid for one more), but also give 3 conference championships to highly ranked teams so the HE teams we positioned in 11-13 all make it.

That set of conditions come together in about .3% of scenarios to get 5 Hockey East teams in.

How Hockey East could be limited to only two teams in the NCAA tournament

Here’s an example: http://goo.gl/JxVA6l

The keys are:

  • Because Boston University is going to make the tournament anyway, the conference championship either needs to go to BU or another team that’s going to make it at-large.
  • BC is exceptionally hard to push out (see above), so instead preventing any of Mass.-Lowell, Providence, or Vermont from climbing is easier. Vermont is coming from far enough behind that despite a first round win, it’s easy to keep their PWR low with wins by neighbors Harvard, Bowling Green, and St Cloud St.
  • Finally, enough conference tournaments (in this scenario, 3) go to low ranked teams to keep out any remaining Hockey East teams on the bubble.

Those factors come together to limit Hockey East to two NCAA bids in only about 5% of scenarios.

How the ECAC could send three teams to the NCAA tournament

Here’s an example: http://goo.gl/dp9e7S

The keys are:

  • Colgate, Harvard, and Quinnipiac are all on the bubble. But, because Harvard plays Quinnipiac in the first round, the winner of which plays the winner of St. Lawrence vs. Colgate, it’s really hard to get all three in. Both Harvard and Colgate are long shots, so in this scenario we sacrifice one to get the other in, sending Harvard all the way to the championship.
  • Advancing Harvard damaged Quinnipiac, so we then need to make sure as many conference tournaments as possible go to top teams. In this scenario, that’s 4, allowing #14 Quinnipiac in at-large. That requirement also allows Yale to slip in (see “How to get Yale in” above).

Those factors come together to get 3 ECAC teams in the NCAAs in about 6% of scenarios, so it can also happen without Yale being one of the teams

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

Big PWR game of the week

The big PWR game of the week is #14 Yale vs. #10 Quinnipiac. They only play one game vs. each other, but then another each vs. #56 Princeton and #48 Brown, respectively.

A single win this weekend for either most likely results in a small decline in ranking. The interesting outcome is if the loser of the head-to-head also loses their other game, which could result in falling of at-large bid position in the PWR.

yale

quinnipiac

The runner-up big PWR game is #23 Western Michigan vs. #2 North Dakota. North Dakota isn’t moving much, even if they get swept; it doesn’t seem possible to overtake idle #1 Minnesota State this weekend. However, Western Michigan could jump just below the bubble with a sweep.

westernmichigan

northdakota

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