2019 Final Tiebreakers

This year, there aren’t as many tiebreakers due to the following:

  1. Minnesota State is locked into the top spot.
  2. Alaska-Anchorage is locked into the 10th spot and has been for some time.
  3. Ferris State, by virtue of its loss to Lake Superior on Friday night, is locked into 9th and misses the playoffs.
  4. Alabama-Huntsville, with the Lake State win and their own defeat of Bowling Green, has secured 8th.
  5. Alaska will finish 7th, as they cannot be overtaken by Huntsville, nor can they catch up to Michigan Tech.
  6. Northern Michigan (17-0-2-8/53), BG (15-3-1-8/52), and LSSU (16-0-2-9/50) are all within three points of each other and will finish 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in some order.
  7. Bemidji State (13-2-2-10/45) and Tech (13-1-2-11/43) are separated by just two points and will finish 5th and 6th in some order.

Bemidji – Tech

This is the easiest tiebreaker to consider. If MTU gets a standard win and Mankato gets a standard win over the Beavers, the Huskies are 5th. In any other result, BSU finish 5th having won the season series.

Northern – BG – Lake State

This is the tough one. Let’s consider the options.

Three-Way Tie

A three-way tie requires NMU to lose outright (17-0-2-9/53), BGSU to lose to UAH after 65:00 (15-3-2-8/53), and LSSU (17-0-2-9/53) to win outright.

  • A: All three teams did not play four (4) games against each other. PUSH
  • B: League winning percentage sees the Falcons drop out of the comparison, as the Wildcats and Lakers have identical records that are better than BG’s.
  • A (again): NMU won the season series and would win the 2nd seed in this scenario.

Final result: NMU 2, LSSU 3, BGSU 4.

Two-Way Ties

Northern – Lake State

As noted above, NMU wins at A. If BGSU picks up two or three points in this scenario, the standings are BGSU – NMU – LSSU; if the Falcons lose outright, it’s NMU – LSSU – BGSU.

Northern – BG

The teams tie with any result where BG gets one more point on Saturday than Northern does.

  • A: The teams split their season series.
  • B: In all scenarios, NMU wins since their league winning percentage is higher.

BG – Lake State

The teams with with any result where LSSU has two more points than BGSU does on Saturday night: an LSSU win coupled with UAH winning after 65:00, or LSSU winning after 65:00 while BGSU loses outright.

  • A: The teams played just twice this season.
  • B: In the first scenario, LSSU finishes with a .732 W% and BGSU .625; in the second, LSSU still finishes at .732 and BGSU at .607.

In the first scenario, the teams could be in a three-way tie as noted above. If they finish tied at 52, the teams finish NMU – LSSU – BGSU.

Sadly, no prediction

I’ve ripped my code apart enough that I can’t put it together in time for picking tomorrow’s games. Besides, I have a rocket launch to monitor.

A brief status

I expect that few of you are surprised by this, but I’ve been overcome by work. I have a 90% solution for my season-wide Monte Carlo simulation, but I haven’t been able to touch it since October due to training at work. I almost assuredly won’t have time for that this season, BUT I intend to look at it retroactively here with you in the offseason.

I can now officially say that I am from the government, and I’m here to help.

Quarterfinals Predictions

TeamBELOW / EWPSweeps SeriesWins in ThreeWins Overall
Minnesota State1704 / 87%76.221%17.611%93.832%
Northern Michigan1639 / 73%54.742%24.514%79.256%
Bowling Green1618 / 72%53.328%24.699%78.027%
Bemidji State1531 / 47%30.267%29.118%59.385%
Michigan Tech1555 / 53%17.095%23.519%40.614%
Ferris State1455 / 28%10.108%11.865%21.973%
Alabama-Huntsville1466 / 27%9.460%11.284%20.744%
Alaska1372 / 13%2.424%3.745%6.169%

##### —– #####

The results of this ABOVE run of 10,000,000 trials are:

##### Total tournament wins #####

Quarterfinal 1: Fairbanks at Mankato

Mankato sweeps 76.221% and wins in 3 17.611%.

Fairbanks sweeps  2.424% and wins in 3  3.745%.

Quarterfinal 2: Huntsville at Northern

Northern sweeps 54.742% and wins in 3 24.514%.

Huntsville sweeps  9.460% and wins in 3 11.284%.

Quarterfinal 3: Ferris at BG

BG sweeps 53.328% and wins in 3 24.699%.

Ferris sweeps 10.108% and wins in 3 11.865%.

Quarterfinal 4: Tech at Bemidji

Bemidji sweeps 30.267% and wins in 3 29.118%.

Tech sweeps 17.095% and wins in 3 23.519%.

Semifinals 1-2-3-4: 34.454%

Semifinals 1-2-3-5: 23.565%

Semifinals 1-2-4-6:  9.707%

Semifinals 1-2-5-6:  6.639%

Semifinals 1-3-4-7:  9.018%

Semifinals 1-3-5-7:  6.173%

Semifinals 1-2-4-6:  2.543%

Semifinals 1-2-5-6:  1.733%

Semifinals 2-3-4-8:  7.154%

Semifinals 2-3-5-8:  1.555%

Semifinals 2-4-6-8:  0.637%

Semifinals 2-5-6-8:  0.433%

Semifinals 3-4-7-8:  0.593%

Semifinals 3-5-7-8:  0.404%

Semifinals 4-6-7-8:  0.167%

Semifinals 5-6-7-8:  0.114%

Runtime: 1490.7702 seconds.

Go Chargers!

Where We Are: 2018-02-24

Final Probabilities after FSU-LSSU:

  • Ferris State: 6th, 100%
  • Alaska: 7th, 59%; 8th, 41%
  • Alabama-Huntsville: 7th, 41%; 8th, 59%
  • Lake Superior: eliminated

By my BELOW-based system, Fairbanks should beat Alaska-Anchorage about 59% of the time.

Final Probabilities after BGSU-UAH:

  • Alabama-Huntsville: 6th, 21%; 7th, 50%, 8th, 29%
  • Ferris State: 6th, 48%; 7th, 21%; 8th, 31%
  • Alaska: 6th, 18%; 7th, 30%; 8th, 39%; 9th, 13%.
  • Lake Superior: 8th, 13%; 9th, 87%

Final Probabilities before BGSU-UAH:

  • Alabama-Huntsville: 6th, 49%; 7th: 33%, 8th, 18%.
  • Ferris State: 6th, 32%; 7th, 37%; 8th, 31%.
  • Alaska: 6th 18%; 7th, 30%; 8th, 39%; 9th, 13%.
  • Lake Superior: 8th, 13%; 9th, 87%.

I thought that I’d put the bottom line up front.  This will be updated as today’s games progress.

What We Know

  1. Minnesota State has won that MacNaughton and will be the overall #1 seed after a 2-1 win over Bemidji State.
  2. Northern Michigan locked up the second seed with a 2-1 win over Michigan Tech.
  3. Bowling Green lost 3-2 to Alabama-Huntsville, but they have the third seed as consolation.
  4. Bemidji rounds out home ice, which we already knew.
  5. Tech will, as previously known, face BSU in the quarterfinals.
  6. Huntsville has made the postseason.  They can finish as low as eighth.
  7. Ferris State made the postseason with a 4-1 win over LSSU.
  8. Alaska (5-3 loss to UAA) and Lake Superior are still scuffling for the final two spots.

Based on Friday’s results, only three of tonight’s games matter: BG -Huntsville, Lake State – Ferris, and Anchorage – Fairbanks.  There are 64 possible combinations.  Based on the figuring below and my BELOW-based prediction system, which is based on the following:

  • UAH wins 34% of the time this afternoon against BGSU.
  • FSU wins 53% of the time this evening against LSSU.
  • UAF wins 64% of the time late tonight against UAA.

My screenshot of the attached spreadsheet gives you the rundown, but in short:

  • 6th: Huntsville in 53 combinations, Ferris in 10, and Fairbanks in one (the dreaded three-way tie at 10-1-1-16)
  • 7th: UAH eight times, FSU 42 times, and UAF 14 times
  • 8th: UAH three times, FSU 12 times, UAF 45 times, and LSSU four times (anytime that UAF takes a standard loss and LSSU gets a standard win).
  • 9th: LSSU 60 times, UAF four times.

Notes on the tiebreakers (moving row-by-row down the sheet):

  1. If Ferris and Fairbanks are tied at 10-1-1-16 / 33, Alaska wins since they defeated Minnesota State while the Mavericks swept the Bulldogs.
  2. If FSU and UAF are tied at 32 or 31 points, Ferris wins at B, 10 wins to 9.
  3. If Ferris and Huntsville are tied at 34 points, FSU wins at B, 11 wins to 10.
  4. If Huntsville, Ferris, and Fairbanks are all tied at 10-1-1-16 / 33, UAF wins the first D comparison (they beat MSU), and UAH wins the 2nd (they beat NMU).

Where We Are, 2018-02-19

Again, here’s what we know:

  1. Bemidji State will be #4 and will host #5 Michigan Tech.
  2. Minnesota State wins the #1 seed if they get a single point this weekend, and they win the MacNaughton outright if they get two points or if they get one point while NMU gets five or NMU gets no more than four points.
  3. Northern Michigan wins the MacNaughton outright if they sweep Michigan Tech and Bemidji State sweeps Minnesota State; otherwise, they edge out Bowling Green for #2 anytime they get a standard win or end up with more points overall.
  4. Alabama-Huntsville and Alaska have the same record, 9-1-1-15.
  5. Huntsville, Fairbanks, Ferris State, and Lake Superior can all finish between 6th and 9th.
  6. If Ferris wins once, they will have at least 31 points and cannot finish below Lake State, Huntsville, or Fairbanks, so they would be 8th at a minimum.
  7. Lake State must get four points this weekend to advance to the postseason.  Here they would edge out Ferris (31-30), and tiebreakers would determine who progressed from there.  It’s complicated.

There are. a maximum of 4^10 ways for this to play out — 1,048,576 results all told, since there will be a winner and a loser, and the only question is whether it will be decided in a standard timeframe or in over-overtime.

I will be waiting to do a final branches-style result until Saturday morning.  Why?  If Minnesota State gets at least two points on Friday night (or if Northern Michigan doesn’t get a standard win), their Saturday night game means nothing in terms of seeding, since Mankato will be 1st and Bemidji will be 4th.  Even better, the Northern – BG seeding could be solidified, too, which allows us to be focused only on BGSU – UAH, UAF – UAA, and FSU – LSSU.

In fact, the following results set would just about set the field on Friday night:

  1. Minnesota State defeats Bemidji State. (MSU 1st, BSU 4th)
  2. Northern Michigan defeats Michigan Tech. (NMU 2nd, BGSU 3rd, MTU 5th).
  3. Ferris State defeats Lake Superior. (FSU cannot pass LSSU)
  4. Alabama-Huntsville gets any points from Bowling Green. (UAH in)
  5. Alaska gets any points from Alaska-Anchorage. (UAF in)


If Alabama-Huntsville and Alaska both pick up any points on Friday, LSSU is out, and the only questions for Friday would be the order of finish for FSU, UAF, and UAH.

If Fairbanks and Huntsville have the same result this weekend, the E tiebreaker is their record against MSU and NMU, which goes UAF’s way unless NMU gets to #1.


2017-18 WCHA Finish: Minnesota State, Northern Michigan, and Bowling Green

Minnesota State, with 63 points, will almost assuredly finish in 1st place and win the MacNaughton Cup.  They have a five-point lead on Northern Michigan, and there are only two situations that the teams tie:

  1. 64 points: Northern gets two standard wins and Minnesota State loses twice, once standard and one over-overtime.  Mankato and Northern tie at A, and Mankato wins at B, 21-20.
  2. 63 points: Northern gets two wins, one standard and one over-overtime, and Minnesota State suffers two standard losses.  Mankato and Northern tie at A, and Mankato wins at B, 21-19.

In short: if Bemidji State sweeps Minnesota State and Northern Michigan sweep Michigan Tech, the Wildcats win the MacNaughton.  In every other instance, Minnesota State is the #1 seed.

Northern is not guaranteed 2nd place, as Bowling Green is just three points back.  The teams tie in the following scenarios:

  1. 61 points: Bowling Green gets two standard wins, and Northern Michigan gets one.   The teams tie at A; Northern Michigan wins at B, 19-18.
  2. 61 points: BG gets two standard wins, and Northern Michigan wins once in over-overtime and loses once in over-over time.  The teams tie at B, 18-18, and BGSU wins at C, five standard losses to six.
  3. 60 points: BG gets one standard win and one over-overtime win; NMU gets one over-overtime win and a regulation loss.  NMU wins at B, 18-17.
  4. 60 points: BG gets one standard win and one over-overtime win; NMU gets two over-overtime losses.  NMU wins at B, 18-17.
  5. 59 points: BG gets one standard win and one over-overtime loss; Northern gets one over-overtime loss and one standard loss.  NMU wins at B, 18-17.
  6. 59 points: BG gets two standard over-overtime losses; Northern gets one over-overtime loss and one standard loss.  NMU wins at B, 18-16.
  7. 58 points: BG gets one standard win and one standard loss; Northern is swept.  Northern Michigan wins at B, 18-17.
  8. 58 points: BG gets two over-overtime losses; Northern is swept.  Northern Michigan wins at B, 18-16.

In short: Bowling Green can finish in 2nd if they pass Northern Michigan or if they sweep Alabama-Huntsville and Northern Michigan gets three points in two over-overtime games.  Otherwise, Northern Michigan finishes 2nd.

2017-18 WCHA BELOW, Week 18

2017-18 Week 18 BELOW

Above are the 2017-18 BELOW rankings after Week 17 of WCHA conference play (130 of 140 games played).

What we know:

  1. Minnesota State will finish either 1st or 2nd.
  2. Northern Michigan will finish either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.
  3. Bowling Green will finish 2nd or 3rd.
  4. Bemidji State will finish 4th.
  5. Michigan Tech will finish 5th.
  6. Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska, Ferris State, and Lake Superior could all finish anywhere between 6th and 9th.

Thoughts on the weekend ahead will be broken up into smaller posts due to the length of discussions of the interactions.

2017-18 Final Stretch – Best/Worst

Note: I made a mistake here that needs correction.  I’ll let the league handle it:

I know where the error came from — I had the maximum points for BSU wrong on Sunday, and that error propagated.  As always: double-check your work at 4am.

I discussed the various groupings of teams on Monday, and today I’d like to look at best/worst outcomes for every team.  I want to establish a few conventions:

  1. I will list team records in a (3)-(2)-(1)-(0) / (Points) format.  This is superior to the W-L-T-3/SW format that the league uses.  I understand why they do it that way, but it’s easier to know that it’s W-(X+Y)-L and know that X+Y = T.
  2. Three-point wins (that is, a game decided in the first 65:00) will be called “standard wins”.
  3. Two-point wins will be called “over-overtime wins”.  (Calling them “overtime wins” could be confusing.)
  4. One-point losses will be called “over-overtime losses”.
  5. Zero-point losses (that is, losses in the first 65:00) will be called “standard losses”.

Groupings below are listed in likeliest order of finish.

Top Teams

Minnesota State (19-0-0-5/57, currently 2nd)

Best: 1st

Minnesota State’s path is pretty straightforward since they’ll one point back and have two games (and six possible points) in hand.

If you ignore the tiebreakers, Mankato has to get eight points down the stretch (or have the competition fall short of their maximum).  Seven points can get them there per the above tiebreaker, which has an error in expression.  Read it as “… and get two points in one game.”

In short: three wins would do it as long as at least one of them is a standard one.  (MSU hasn’t played past 65:00 all season, the only WCHA team to do so.)

If the Mavericks only get six points, they need NMU to not pick up six points.  The teams push at the A tiebreaker (2-2-0 season split), and MSU would very likely win at the B tiebreaker, as Mankato has a one standard win margin at this point.  You can concoct a scenario like …

  • MSU: 19-3-0-6 / 63 points with three over-overtime wins paired with a standard loss.
  • NMU: 19-3-0-6 / 63 with a standard win and an over-overtime win.

The chances of that happening are pretty darn small.  That pushes you all the way to the E tiebreaker, where NMU wins, having defeated Bowling Green 2-0-0 while MSU went 2-2-0 against the Falcons.

Worst: 3rd

As long as BG has one more point than Mankato, the Falcons would leapfrog the Mavericks.  MSU will win at B between the two schools regardless of how the Falcons play down the stretch.  In this scenario, it would be fairly easy for Northern to pace Mankato, who can’t pick up more than three points.

Northern Michigan (18-2-0-6/58, currently 1st)

Best: 1st

All Northern has to do is maintain their lead despite Minnesota State having two games in hand.  If the Wildcats pace the Mavericks, they win.  As noted above, it’s hard to find a scenario where a tiebreaker goes the Wildcats’ way — they essentially have to finish with the same record.

Worst: 3rd

Both Minnesota State and Bowling Green would have to leap past NMU in points.  A three-way tie would be broken at B in MSU’s favor unless, as noted previously, the teams finish with the exact same record.  NMU wins at B over BGSU, so the Falcons must finish higher.

This result is possible, since the Falcons do have two games in hand, but BGSU’s margin is pretty slim.

Bowling Green (14-2-3-5/49, currently 3rd)

Best: 1st

Worst: 3rd

The above two sections should explain the outcomes here.  Neither Bemidji State nor Michigan Tech can catch the Falcons.

The Battle for Fourth

Bemidji State (12-2-2-8/42, currently 4th)

Best: 4th

Bemidji has two games In hand and a two-point cushion on Michigan Tech, whom they split with last weekend, which would have them push at D if B and C are also pushes.  This is theoretically possible, with something like …

  • BSU: an over-overtime win and an over-overtime loss paired with two standard losses to finish 12-3-3-10 / 45
  • MTU: a standard win and an over-overtime loss to finish with the same record.

That’s probably not happening, though.  (Also, Tech probably wins at E.)

Worst: 5th

Simply put, Tech has to get three more points than Bemidji.

Michigan Tech (11-2-3-10 / 40, currently 5th)

Best: 4th

You can invert the Bemidji State worst case scenario above.

Worst: 6th

Hang with me here:

  • MTU: 11-2-3-12 / 40 (loses out)
  • UAF: 13-1-0-14 / 41 (wins out)
  • FSU: 13-0-1-14 / 40 (wins out)

Ferris State wins at A, 3-1-0.  UAF can’t make it a three-way tie at 12-2-0-14/40 because there’s actually a three-way tiebreaker at A that UAF loses to MTU (0-4-0) and splits with FSU (2-2-0).  Points percentage is what solves this, and that goes MTU (6-2-0 or 75%), then FSU (5-3-0), then UAF (2-6-0).

Should this happen, I think that I’ll have a bunch of angry Tech fans on my doorstep.

On the precipice

Alaska (9-1-0-14/29, currently 7th)

Best: 5th

Fairbanks can best Tech as noted above, but they cannot pass Bemidji.

Worst: 9th

Hoo boy.  For one, UAF would have to be swept out, which means that Huntsville stays ahead of them.  It only takes one point to tie with Ferris, and the possibilities abound here since the squads are 9-1-0-14 and 9-0-1-14, respectively.  For the sake of argument, FSU gets a win.  Then Lake State just has to have a standard win over the Bulldogs to leapfrog the Nanooks.

Alabama-Huntsville (9-1-1-15/30, currently 6th)

Best: 6th

The Chargers currently sit in sixth and just have to stay there.  Winning helps, of course — getting to 11-1-1-15 / 36 pushes them past Lake State and makes it hard for Fairbanks and Ferris to pass them.  Since some of the other teams at the bottom of the rankings do face off down the stretch — Fairbanks at Anchorage, Lake State at Ferris — this isn’t impossible.  UAF travels to Bemidji and FSU visits Mankato, so poor performances at each are realistic.

Worst: 9th

UAH could lose out and finish 9-1-1-17 / 30.  UAF can tie them with that same record, which pushes all the way to E, but they’ll probably pick up more points than that.  Ferris similarly just needs two to tie and three to pass.  UAH and FSU can also tie at 9-1-1-17, and … oh, it’s tough.  Lake State would just need a single standard win here, as they would win at the C tiebreaker.


Ferris State (9-0-1-14 / 28, currently 8th)

Best:  5th

See Michigan Tech’s worst-case above.

Worst: 9th

All they would need is to lose out, which would see Lake State pass them at 33 points while everyone keeps position ahead of FSU.  The FSU – LSSU interaction is perhaps the most interesting one here, as the teams could enter the final weekend just a point apart in the standings.  The teams went 1-1-0 in the first series, so any win by the Lakers is a postseason-making one.

Lake Superior (8-0-3-15 / 28, currently 9th)

Best: 6th

Pretty much everyone above them has to lose out while the Lakers win out.  This isn’t unrealistic: the teams between them and 6th all play top teams down the stretch (FSU – MSU, BGSU – UAH, UAF – BSU).  For a team that looked destined to miss the playoffs by the end of the first weekend in February, this would be a very surprising result.  They need a lot of help, though.

Worst: 9th

They’re already in 9th, and the teams above them just have to stay there. Ferris can keep the Lakers down directly.  LSSU doesn’t win any A tiebreakers, and they have one fewer standard wins than the teams ahead of them.

Alaska-Anchorage (2-3-0-19 / 12, currently 10th)


2017-18 WCHA Week 17 BELOW

2017-18 Week 17 BELOW

Above are the 2017-18 BELOW rankings after Week 14 of WCHA conference play (124 of 140 games played).

Not much changed over the weekend.

The scenario that I presented at bottom would’ve virtually ended Lake Superior’s season and put seven teams solidly into the postseason, but the exact opposite happened.

Let’s consider the possibilities:


Minnesota State has two games in hand on Northern Michigan, who is just a point ahead of them.  Each school plays a rival looking to lock up home ice (Bemidji State and Michigan Tech, respectively) on the final weekend, but Mankato hosts Ferris State this weekend, where the Mavericks are 8-2-0 in league play.  It seems pretty likely that MSU will leap-frog Northern Michigan into the MacNaughton.

Bowling Green still has a puncher’s chance at the MacNaughton, but they will need to lose no more than one time while hoping for both the Mavs and Wildcats to falter.  This feels pretty unlikely, even though they’re favored down the stretch against Alaska-Anchorage (88%) and Alabama-Huntsville (72%), even though both of those series are on the road in two of the farthest-flung parts of the WCHA.

Tiebreakers that matter:

  • MSU – NMU are tied at A, and MSU has one more regulation win already.
  • BGSU is tied with MSU at A, but they would have to win all four games to win at B against NMU — and they can’t beat MSU at B.

In the Middle

BGSU can finish no lower than fourth, as Tech has just two games left and can’t reach the Falcons’ eyrie.  Bemidji will have a crack at third, but their recent performance doesn’t make that seem likely.

Tiebreakers that matter: None apply at A, and BG has a two-win lead over Bemidji at B.  As long as Bemidji State gets one win, they will tie Tech at B, where Tech actually could win since any realistic tie has Bemidji lose at least twice.

Down Low

Goodness, what a mess.  The tiebreakers are too close to call with these teams, who are all tied at A if they played four times (or, with Lake State and Ferris, the final games pending), and UAH, UAF, and FSU all have nine league wins, while LSSU has eight.  Good luck figuring this one out.

  • Huntsville awaits Bowling Green for their final games of the season, and will spend next weekend grinding their teeth watching the two teams just below them playing.
  • Fairbanks visits Bemidji (40%) before traveling to Anchorage (74%) to close the season.
  • Ferris visits Mankato (22%) before finishing with Lake Superior (47%).
  • Lake State also sits and waits this next weekend.

More thoughts later this week.

What we know after the games of 2018-02-09

Who’s in: Northern Michigan, Minnesota State, Bowling Green, Bemidji State, and Michigan Tech

Who’s at home: Northern, Mankato, and BG

Who’s out: Alaska-Anchorage

Plenty of things could firm up tonight.  If:

  1. Alaska comes back to pick up a split at NMU, and
  2. Bemidji finishes their sweep of Tech, and
  3. Anchorage comes back to pick up the split with Lake Superior, and
  4. Alabama-Huntsville comes back to pick up a split with MSU:

BSU would clinch home ice (Fairbanks could make it to 44, and MTU could make it to 43), Huntsville and UAF would be in, and the final spot would be the final spot would be Ferris State – Lake State, a race that could come down to the last weekend.  (Oh, and BG would love this scenario since the teams ahead of them would remain in striking distance.

I’ll be back tomorrow.