Week 4 BELOW for the 2016-17 WCHA Regular Season
2016-17 BELOW, Week 4
|Team||Wk4 BELOW||+/-||Wk2 EWP|
The Lakers Impress
While Alabama-Huntsville seems to be in a free-fall after a road sweep at Ferris State — they’re 3rd in league points but have already played 21% of their schedule — Lake Superior went down to Dixie and took care of business, dropping two 3-goal elbows on the Chargers. The Lakers were 56% (Friday) and 63% (Saturday) picks to win, and they did so handily each time.
For this week’s predictions, I’ll look to break out 2- and 3- goal wins. These do make a difference, and with some separation at the top, it makes sense to consider it. I noted back last January that the big wins in the season to that point were generally in situations where there was a big gap in BELOW; that the gap for the Lakers was 44 and then 96 points is more in the realm of what we saw last year when UAH started fast with a road sweep in the Soo that finished with a 5-0 drubbing — the high-water mark for the Chargers’ 2015-16 season.
What does all this mean for the Lakers? Well, BELOW — being reflexive and moderately transitive — is sorting the middle of the league by saying that they’re just about even with Bowling Green, which continued to struggle mightily in being swept by Ohio State. Because UAH beat Ferris and NMU did, too, BELOW thinks that the Lakers are above the Chargers and Bulldogs and maybe better than the Wildcats. LSSU does have just the two games under their belt, but it’s a promising start.
NMU Pulls Ahead of FSU
BELOW doesn’t care much for the shutout — the adjustment bonus is just 10 points for the shootout because, you know, it just doesn’t stinking matter that much. I almost calculated it as a tie and went on with my life. The “win” didn’t move the needle much, but a solid win on Friday pushes Northern Michigan back closer to 1500 / .500, their standard place.
Mankato Stumbles in Fairbanks
I said last week that I thought that Minnesota State would sweep Alaska, and the numbers agreed with that, too. A resounding 7-1 trouncing seemed to bear that out, although the change in BELOW was just 15 points each direction because the Mavericks were expected to get positive results (wins in regulation or overtime) 75% of the time. That number jumped to 78% for Saturday’s matchup, but the homestanding Nanooks delighted the fans at the Patty with a two-goal win. Because the teams had a big gulf, and because order matters in BELOW, a split leaves Fairbanks +16 on the weekend.
There are four conference tilts this weekend:
- Alaska-Anchorage joins the 2016-17 WCHA party with a trip to Bemidji State. This looks pretty lop-sided (1625-1386, or 80% positive results for the Beavers), but it just comes down to the fact that we have no real data on the Seawolves just yet. This is one of those need-to-win series for BSU, being at home against a (presumably) weaker team. Wins from UAA would close this gap pretty significantly.
- Alaska traves to the UP to face Lake Superior. This will give us more information in answering whether either team is for real.
- Ferris State travels to Minnesota State. There’s a little doubt if the Mavericks are the tops of the league after a rough night in Alaska; there’s a lot of doubt in Ferris fans’ heads if the Bulldogs will stay in the top half of the conference. This looks to be an easy series for the Mavs, but so did the Fairbanks trip.
- Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech face off in a classic UP rivalry. Will the Wildcats have Shane Sooth and Dominik Shine at their disposal? Can Michigan Tech find a goaltender to be their rock? This one should be interesting and ought to go a long way in determining whether the carryover leg up that the Huskies have in BELOW is worth keeping.
Thanks as always for reading. I’m hoping to have a simulator later this season to help you noodle around with ABOVE and BELOW calculations to give you a sense of what’s going on here. Unless you follow the math, I imagine that this can be a bit impenetrable at times. I’ll keep trying to make it make sense!