2015-16 Week 22 BELOW

It’ll be a busy week here, so I’ll get started early.  Here’s the penultimate BELOW rankings:

TeamW20 BELOWW20 Rk (W19)StandingsW19 -> W202016 +/-
8-MTU16751 (1)2nd (tie)+6+82
7-MSU16702 (2)1st+23-21
4-BGSU16633 (3)2nd (tie)+48+8
3-BSU15424 (6)6th+8+73
9-NMU15425 (4)4th-49+21
5-FSU15236 (5)5th-48+2
6-LSSU14687 (7)7th+49+5
2-UAF14098 (8)8th-6-18
1-UAA13709 (9)9th-23-125
0-UAH132310 (10)10th-8+3

Series predictions will come out tomorrow, and I will have my yearly guide to the end of the season by Friday (and hopefully sooner).

Saturday Update: 15 games left!

Friday’s results in the WCHA have resulted in a few items:

  • Minnesota State (35 points) has clinched home ice.  Neither Ferris State nor Northern Michigan can get to 35, so the Mavericks will finish no worse than third.
  • Bowling Green and Michigan Tech kept pace with the leaders, even if the Huskies had to put off a wild comeback by Alaska after carrying a 4-0 lead into the first intermission.
  • Losses by the Bulldogs and Wildcats kept them knotted at 28 points in the race for home ice.  As I noted yesterday, the tiebreakers between the two teams are indistinct pending the BG-Ferris game tonight.
  • Lake Superior’s win at home against their UP brethren pushed them into the playoffs.  Alaska-Anchorage can still pass the Lakers and move into 8th position, but Alabama-Huntsville can’t get to 22 points, and Alaska loses at B if they win out and get to 22.
  • Losses by Anchorage and Fairbanks and a tie for Huntsville in Bemidji means that time is running out for the Chargers, who have to pass both teams while hoping that each Alaska school loses on Saturday night while they split the Governor’s Cup series next weekend (ideally with two ties) while the Chargers make a run.  That’s quite the clause-laden sentence, and it’s emblematic of what UAH coach Mike Corbett told the Lakeland TV before Friday’s game: UAH’s dismal performance in November and December have turned every 2016 game into a playoff game.

Here’s the standings table as of Friday night’s games, with updated BELOW and best/worst:

2016-02-26 WCHA Standings Table

FSU12942815492nd7th? (D w/ LSSU)

Yes, Lake Superior can still get home ice!  Here’s how:

  1. They beat Northern Michigan tonight and sweep Ferris State next weekend, and the Lakers finish 12-12-4.  This has LSSU winning at A against FSU and at C against NMU if …
  2. Northern is swept by Tech next weekend, finishing 12-12-4, and …
  3. Bowling Green beats Ferris tonight, meaning that the Bulldogs finish 12-12-4, and …
  4. Bemidji State don’t win out and get to 29 points.  The Beavers could get to 28 by going 2-0-1 to finish 11-13-6, but they’d lose at B in the four-way comparison with the Bulldogs, Wildcats, and Lakers (oh, my!).

Now with all three teams at 12-12-4, we go to tiebreakers.  The A tiebreaker doesn’t fix all three teams, as LSSU would be 2-0-0 over NMU and 3-1-0 over FSU while FSU and NMU split 2-2-0.  B doesn’t break this tie, so you go to C, where LSSU wins the comparison with superior records over teach team.  (5th/6th goes to the D tiebreaker.)

Week 22 Predictions

A crazy week at work hampered my ability to do a Game 121-140 projection.  Alas.  Here’s Week 22, though.

Ferris State @ Bowling Green

OutcomeOddsFSU PointsBGSU Points
BGSU 3 Pts20.62%2835
BGSU Sweeps16.01%2934
FSU Sweeps15.65%3231
FSU 3 Pts13.81%3132

If #TalonsUp is your rallying cry, you like a weekend where you have a solid result 70% of the time.

Alaska @ Michigan Tech

OutcomeOddsUAF PointsMTU Points
MTU Sweeps32.28%1635
MTU 3 Pts20.41%1734
UAF 3 Pts9.38%1932
UAF Sweeps7.34%2031

Tech fans are the most likely to make me show my work, but they may just look at that table and not want to know more.

Northern Michigan @ Lake Superior

OutcomeOddsNMU PointsLSSU Points
NMU Sweeps28.04%3220
NMU 3 Pts18.92%3121
LSSU 3 Pts10.90%2923
LSSU Sweeps9.91%2824

Northern Michigan is hot of late, and with an easier opponent this weekend than fellow 4th-place squad Ferris has, they can look to capitalize and take a shot at getting home ice.  Of course, Wildcat fans will turn around next week and root for the Lakers as they play the Bulldogs.

Alabama-Huntsville @ Bemidji State

OutcomeOddsUAH PointsBSU Points
BSU Sweeps29.74%1326
BSU 3 Pts19.53%1425
UAH 3 Pts10.29%1623
UAH Sweeps9.07%1722

Don’t think that Bemidji fans wouldn’t love to end UAH’s playoff bid this weekend.

Okay, I’m done sobbing.





Minnesota State @ Alaska-Anchorage

OutcomeOddsMSU PointsUAA Points
MSU Sweeps32.23%3718
MSU 3 Pts20.42%3619
UAA 3 Pts9.40%3421
UAA Sweeps7.36%3322

Mankato controls its destiny for the MacNaughton, and while they get their first trip to the 49th in their penultimate series of the season, both Alaska schools are truly struggling down the stretch, and you’ll forgive the student-athletes if they’re pre-occupied by whether their schools may have to drop varsity sports with system-wide budget cuts looming.

Most Likely Week 22 Standings Table


I’ll run down tiebreakers in full next week, but if Ferris and Northern finish with the same record over the last four games, it will matter which team has the #1 seed as to who gets home ice, as the teams split their four-game series and push to the D tiebreaker.

Presuming that Ferris splits with BG this weekend, they will win that comparison, as the teams have equivalent records in against the other two teams ahead of them.  If Ferris is swept this weekend but sweeps this weekend while Northern also goes 2-2-0, it goes all the way down to Bemidji State, where the Wildcats win at D. Crazypants.

The UAA-UAF tiebreaker hinges on the Governor’s Cup, and LSSU wins at A against Bemidji State if they end up tied (i.e., the Lakers get one more win than the Beavers).

Week 21 BELOW

We’re almost to the end.  This week, I’ll have predictions for the final outcome of this.  It’s pretty complicated from a  building-spreadsheets perspective, but once complete, it’ll be pretty powerful.

TeamW20 BELOWW20 Rk (W19)StandingsW19 -> W202016 +/-
0-UAH133110 (10)10th-32+11
1-UAA13939 (9)9th+22-102
2-UAF14158 (8)8th+28-12
3-BSU15346 (6)6th+38+65
4-BGSU16153 (3)2nd (tie)-28-40
5-FSU15715 (4)4th (tie)0 (idle)+50
6-LSSU14197 (7)7th-22-44
7-MSU16472 (2)1st0 (idle)-44
8-MTU16691 (1)2nd (tie)-38+76
9-NMU15914 (5)4th (tie)+32+70

With splits happening all around the league, save in Marquette, you saw the lower-ranked BELOW team make gains in every series that split.  This has the effect of compressing the field, which we all generally “know” by looking at the standings, especially all the ties.  In fact, six of the eight member schools are up in BELOW over the year, with only the UA$ schools and Minnesota State regressing.

The final two weeks of the season see all members in action.  Two matches this week are short trips: Northern Michigan at Lake Superior and Ferris State at Bemidji.  Two are long hauls: Minnesota State goes to Alaska-Anchorage, while Alaska treks to Michigan Tech.  Finally, Alabama-Huntsville makes the haul to Bemidji State for another renewal of the rivalry.

I’ll be back later this week with high/low and the first of four final predictions for the league standings.

2015-16 Week 21 BELOW-Based Predictions

I’ll do predictions early this week while I work on another post or two.  I’m trying to get clarification on my thinking of how tiebreakers work.  (If A, B, and C are tied, and a tiebreaker has A and B tied but C below them, does C drop out and the tiebreaker chain start again with just A and B?)

Alabama-Huntsville @ Northern Michigan

OutcomeOddsUAH PointsNMU Points
NMU Sweeps28.70%1328
NMU 3 Pts20.53%1427
UAH 3 Pts10.90%1625
UAH Sweeps8.64%1724

Michigan Tech @ Bemidji State

OutcomeOddsMTU PointsBSU Points
MTU Sweeps29.40%3320
MTU 3 Pts20.79%3221
BSU 3 Pts10.61%3023
BSU Sweeps8.21%2924

Bowling Green @ Alaska

OutcomeOddsBGSU PointsUAF Points
BGSU Sweeps31.58%3314
BGSU 3 Pts21.64%3215
UAF 3 Pts9.79%3017
UAF Sweeps6.95%2918

Lake Superior @ Alaska-Anchorage

OutcomeOddsLSSU PointsUAA Points
LSSU Sweeps21.53%2216
LSSU 3 Pts17.56%2117
UAA 3 Pts13.87%1919
UAA Sweeps13.82%1820

Most Likely Week 21 Standings Table


For a couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking that UAH’s playoff hopes were lost (which saddens me as BSE MAE 2002), but they’re actually not.  A split in Marquette is perfectly reasonable, and struggles by the Alaska schools could place the Chargers within striking distance of a mid-march trip to the upper Midwest.

2015-16 Week 20 BELOW

TeamW20 BELOWW20 Rk (W19)StandingsW19 -> W202016 +/-
8-MTU17071 (1)2nd (tie)0 (idle)+114
7-MSU16472 (2)1st-30-44
4-BGSU16433 (3)2nd (tie)0 (idle)-12
5-FSU15714 (4)4th+5+50
9-NMU15595 (5)5th-5+38
3-BSU14976 (6)6th-33+27
6-LSSU14417 (7)7th+33-22
2-UAF13878 (8)9th0 (idle)-40
1-UAA13719 (9)8th0 (idle)-124
0-UAH136210 (10)10th+29+43

There’s not too much to say here, really: splits all around just move team towards each other unless there’s a win with big goal-differential values.  We had two ties in Huntsville (I watched those games, and … wow), and the splits in Michigan each had one big win, and the teams that got those big wins got the positive gains in BELOW.

Now, Bemidji fans, I hear you saying, “That’s a one-goal game with two empty-net goals.”  Until I start controlling for ENGs, I can’t mess with that, and also, you get credit for the ENG goal with another goal after in Huntsville, so … yeah.

I had some thoughts late last week about whether my banding practice for estimating ties and overtimes was right, and I’ll extend my thoughts from there this week, although what I was expecting was “Mankato is ranked so much better than Huntsville that these games are going to be blowouts and, thus, less likely to be tied,” and then … this weekend happened.  This goes along the lines of what I was thinking with the goal-differential bonus.  I’ll look at all 22 ties and the other nine OT games and see if there’s a pattern.

I’ll also do another round of high/low (this will be shorter), as well as predictions.  My Web-facing tool isn’t going to be ready, but I can do some pretty smart stuff between now and then in Excel.

2015-16 Week 20: Here we go!

It’s been a big week here at the ranch:

Here’s my thinking on how the weekend goes:

  • Mankato at Huntsville: I bleed blue (stop laughing, it’s a serious medical condition), but in no way, shape, or form are the Chargers taking a point from the Mavs.  Minnesota State sweeps and extends their leading in the standings table.
  • Bemidji at Lake State: it’s a three-game week for the Beavers, and they’re on the road to the Soo, facing a team just a game behind them in the standings.  But 1) BSU has been hot in 2016 (+60 BELOW), while LSSU hasn’t (-55).  Lastly, teams have had success in the Taffy Abel Arena (the Lakers are 4-8-1), and I think that Bemidji sweeps.
  • Northern at Ferris: By all accounts, this is a 50-50 series: the teams are two points apart in BELOW (a rounding error!), and the teams were both 1522 as the ball dropped in Times Square.  If there’s an edge, it’s home ice.  Ferris State is 5-3-5 at the Ewigleben, while Northern is 3-6-3 away from home.  That tempts me to lean the Bulldogs’ way, but I’m going to just call it a split.  Home ice is up for grabs in Big Rapids, especially if the Lakers take any points this weekend.

Catch me on Twitter for updates through the weekend.  I probably won’t update the site again until Monday.

2015-16 Week 20 BELOW Predictions

Hey, it’s Thursday, so it’s time to look at predictions!


Our first series is Northern Michigan at Ferris State.  The teams split (of course) their first series in Marquette.

OutcomeOddsNMU PointsFSU Points
NMU Sweeps17.71%2626
NMU 3 Pts15.22%2527
FSU 3 Pts15.22%2329
FSU Sweeps17.95%2230

This results table could be made into a nearly-perfec dartboard.  FSU is +2 in BELOW even though they’re +4 in the standings, which is easily explained by Northern having two games in hand.

Your guess is as mine, but I’d go for a split.  It’s the biggest probability, it mirrors the previous result, and it’s what the Falcons do best.  BGSU is the only team to win the season series against the Wildcats, while the green and gold have only bested Bemidji (with UAH yet to come).

Anything better than a split for Northern moves them closer to getting home ice, because they play four against Huntsville and Lake State, where they are widely expected to do well.

Anything better than a split for Ferris makes it very, very hard for Northern to pass them and keeps them in position to move into 3rd if one of Mankato, BG, or Tech falters.  Third place likely keeps them from facing the Wildcats for three more contests and likely has them facing one of Bemidji, Lake State, or Anchorage.  Bob Daniels has to want that.


It’s a long weak for Bemidji State, who played Minnesota-Duluth on Tuesday and travel to the far edge of the UP to play Lake Superior.  Fortunately for Bemidji, they’re +122 in BELOW, and the results show that:

OutcomeOddsBSU PointsLSSU Points
BSU Sweeps24.92%2216
BSU 3 Pts18.23%2117
LSSU 3 Pts12.21%1919
LSSU Sweeps11.72%1820

The Lakers can vault the Beavers into 6th, and this is their best chance to pick up wins outside of next week’s series with the Seawolves, which would be do or die if BSU sweeps.  Bemidji gets a favorable result 76.1% of the time, as a split against a team that you lead really just runs the clock out on them.  It’s not unreasonable to expect the Beavers to sweep given that both Huntsville and Arizona State have come into the Taffy Abel and walked away with two wins.


Minnesota State knows that this is a “trap series”, as the kids say.  UAH is fighting for their lives, while Mankato has owned the Chargers since banjos came to the WCHA.  Mankato is +344 in BELOW, the greatest disparity in 2015-16 WCHA play.  This is truly best at worst.

OutcomeOddsMSU PointsUAH Points
MSU Sweeps35.58%3511
MSU 3 Pts22.17%3412
UAH 3 Pts8.27%3214
UAH Sweeps5.34%3115

BELOW-based banding gives the Chargers a lot of (probably undue) credit here, considering that their only wins have come against Lake Superior, Alaska-Anchorage, and Alaska, the three teams directly in front of them in the standings.  That said, the Chargers don’t want to return to the basement after making the playoffs last year, and they know that they can play a spoiler’s role this weekend.

Most Likely Standings After Week 20

If we take the most likely results in these table: split in Big Rapids and the Soo and a Mankato sweep in Huntsville, the standings look as follows:

TeamWLTPtsGms Left

I’ll be back tomorrow with a roundup of what we know going into this weekend’s games.

2015-16 WCHA High/Low, Week 20

It’s time for our favorite game: high/low!  What’s the ceiling and floor for each team?  I’ll present the results with the best- and worst-case for each, and the BELOW differential will be displayed as well.


High: 12-13-3 (27 points), 4th.  In this situation, they sweep Minnesota State (-344 BELOW), Northern Michigan (-231), Bemidji State (-190), and Bowling Green (-310).  These aren’t Powerball odds, but they’re pretty small.

At this spot, the Chargers could vault to home ice if:

  • Ferris  (11-7-4) goes no better than 0-5-1, and
  • Northern (9-9-4 with the UAH result; UAH wins at A) goes no better than 3-2-1 in its other six games, and
  • Bemidji (7-11-4 with the UAH result; tied at A and C) goes no better than 4-1-1 in its other six games (UAH wins at B), and
  • Lake State (6-10-4, UAH wins at C) goes no better than 5-2-1 (UAH wins at B), and
  • Anchorage (7-13-2, UAA wins at A) goes no better than 4-0-2.

Low: 4-21-3 (11 points), 10th.  It’s great golfing weather in Alabama in March.


High: 13-13-2 (28 points), 4th.  The Seawolves would sweep Lake Superior (-37), Minnesota State (-306), and Alaska (-16).  It is important to note two things: 1) UAA has just six games left and 2) they’re all in Alaska.

To get home ice, UAA would need:

  • Ferris (11-7-4) to go no better than 1-7-0 (UAA wins at B), and
  • Northern (9-7-4) to go no better than 3-5-0 (UAA wins at B), and
  • Bemidji (7-9-4) to go no better than 5-3-0  (UAA wins at B).

UAA wins at A over Lake State, Fairbanks, and Huntsville.

Low: 7-19-2 (16 points), 10th.  Alaska passes them if the Nanooks sweep in Fairbanks, and UAH would just need to get six points in some way, shape, or form.  Losing out means the Seawolves miss the playoffs regardless of what anyone else does, because the Nanooks would pass them.


High: 11-13-4 (26 points), 5th.  The Nanooks would have to beat Bowling Green (-256), Michigan Tech (-320), and Alaska-Anchorage (+16).  Like their in-state foes, they also have just six games left, but they travel to far-flung Houghton in between games with the Falcons and Seawolves.  They probably have the toughest schedule left in the WCHA, even with just six games to play.

Before anything else can happen, we must consider a tiebreaker with Ferris State.  The Bulldogs swept the Nanooks this year, but they played just twice, so Alaska winning out and Ferris losing out puts each team at 11-13-4.  The teams press to the C tiebreaker, and FSU wins and limps in to home ice.

To get fifth place, UAF needs:

  • Northern (9-7-4) to go no better than 2-6-0, and only then if BGSU is the #1 seed (UAF wins at D); so realistically, no better than 1-6-1, and
  • Bemidji (7-9-4) to go no better than 3-4-1 (BSU wins at A), and
  • Lake Superior (6-10-4) to go no better than 5-2-1 (LSSU wins at C).

It wouldn’t matter what Anchorage did, as the Seawolves would lose the A.

Low: 5-19-4 (14 points), 10th.  UAH would have to get four points in some way, shape, or form to avoid last place in two of three seasons.

Bemidji State

High: 15-9-4 (34 points), 1st.  The Beavers face Lake Superior (+122), Michigan Tech (-177), Alabama-Huntsville (+197), and Minnesota State (-147).

Bemidji gets to the MacNaughton if they win out and:

  • Mankato (13-6-5) goes no better than 1-2-1 in their other four games (BSU wins at B), and
  • BG (12-5-5) goes no better than 2-4-0 (BGSU wins at C), and
  • Tech (13-8-3) goes no better than 2-1-1 in its other four games (BSU wins at C), and
  • Ferris (11-7-4) goes no better than 3-2-1 (FSU wins at A), and
  • Northern (9-7-4) goes no better than 5-2-1 (NMU wins at C).

Low: 7-17-4 (18), 10th.  No, really.

Bemidji loses out, and

  • Huntsville needs just needs to go 1-5-1 in the other games to push it to the D tiebreaker (who knows who’ll win there), and
  • Fairbanks would need five points (BSU wins the A), and
  • Anchorage would need to go 1-4-1 or better, and
  • Lake Superior would need to win at least once or tie at least three times.

Bowling Green

High: 18-5-5 (41 points), 1st.  The Falcons face Alaska (+257), Ferris State (+77), and Alabama-Huntsville (+310) in their final three games.

The Falcons would need to win out, and:

  • Mankato go no better than 5-1-0 (BGSU wins at D tiebreaker, as the Falcons had a better season against Tech than the Mavericks), and
  • Tech goes no better than 5-0-1 (Tech wins any tiebreaker where the teams have the same number of wins from now to the end).

They are your classic win-and-in team.

Low: 12-11-5 (29 points), 7th.

As noted last weekend, all three of Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, and Bowling Green are in the playoffs, as all teams have 29 points, and there is no way in which all of the UA$ schools can pass them at this point.

For Bowling Green to get stuck playing one of its two season nemeses, they would have to lose out, and:

  • Michigan Tech (13-6-3) wins at A, and
  • Ferris State would already have 30 points, and
  • Northern (9-7-4) has to go better than 3-4-1 (BG wins at C), and
  • Bemidji (7-9-4) has to go better than 5-2-1 (BG wins at C), and
  • Lake Superior (6-10-4) has to go better than 6-1-1 (BGSU wins at D in most reasonable comparisons).

Ferris State

High: 17-7-4 (38 points), 1st.  The Bulldogs face Northern Michigan (+2), Bowling Green (-77), and Lake Superior (+158) in their final three series.

For Ferris State to win the MacNaughton, the Bulldogs have to win out, and:

  • Mankato goes no better than 3-4-1 (FSU wins the B), and
  • Michigan Tech goes no better than 4-1-1 (here the teams would go to the D tiebreaker, and if MSU is 3rd, FSU wins).

If Ferris sweeps BG, the Falcons can’t get to 38 points.

Low: 11-13-4 (26 points), 9th.

Ferris State would have to lose out, and:

  • Northern (11-7-4) wins at A, and
  • Bemidji State (7-9-4) would need to go no worse than 4-3-1 (FSU wins at A), and
  • Lake Superior (6-10-4) would have to go no worse than 3-3-0 (LSSU wins at A) in their other six games.
  • Anchorage (7-13-2) would have to go 4-0-2 or better and win at D, which they would no matter the order of the Big 3; if Northern leapfrogs any of them, Anchorage wins.
  • Huntsville (4-13-3) would have to win out.

Fairbanks is out

The Alaska schools have an interaction here.  Either Anchorage (4-0-2 or better) or Fairbanks (6-0-0) can get to 26 points, but:

  • A.  If Fairbanks wins out, Anchorage can’t go 4-0-2, and
  • B.  If Anchorage tied those games with the Nanooks, Fairbanks wouldn’t go 6-0-0.
  • If Fairbanks goes 6-0-0, UAA finishes behind the other two and the A tiebreaker gives the Bulldogs 7/8th.
  • If Anchorage goes 4-0-2, we go to the D tiebreaker, which UAA wins if it’s MTU or BGSU at #1 and FSU wins if it’s MSU.
I had thought that Ferris was surely in, but all of the above could happen, one Alaska school could get to 26, and UAH could get to 27. Could.
Lake Superior
High: 14-10-4 (32 points), 1st.  The Lakers face Bemidji State (-122), Alaska-Anchorage (+37), Northern Michigan (-156), and Ferris State (-158).
The Lakers could win the McNaughton if they win out and:
  • Mankato (13-4-5) goes no better than 0-5-1 (LSSU wins at B), and
  • BG goes no better than 1-6-1 (LSSU wins at B), and
  • Tech goes no better than 0-4-2 (MTU wins at A), and
  • Ferris goes no better than 3-3-0 (goes to the D, too many interactions), and
  • Northern goes no better than 5-1-0 in their other contests (LSSU wins at C).

LSSU sweeping out puts the Beavers behind the Lakers.

Low: 6-18-4 (16 points), 10th.

If the Lakers lose out:

  • Anchorage just needs a point.
  • Fairbanks needs three points in any way, shape, or form; if UAF went 0-4-2, LSSU wins B.
  • Huntsville needs five points, but they need it with at least two wins (going 1-2-3 or 0-1-5 has LSSU win at B).

Minnesota State

High: 19-4-5 (43 points), 1st.  The Mavericks face Alabama-Huntsville (+344), Alaska-Anchorage (+306), and Bemidji State (+147).

If the Mavericks win out, they win the MacNaughton.

Low: 13-10-5 (31 points), 7th.

The Mavericks would need to lose out, and:

  • Bowling Green (12-5-5) would need just three points (MSU can win at D with a better record against Tech), and
  • Michigan Tech (13-6-3) would need to win or get two ties (MTU wins at C), and
  • Ferris State (11-7-4) would need to be 2-3-1 while splitting or better with BG (FSU wins at D), and
  • Northern (9-7-4) would need to go 4-3-1 or better to push it to  and MTU to be better than BGSU (NMU wins at D), and
  • Bemidji State (7-11-4) would need to be 6-0-2 or better (MSU wins at A), and
  • Lake Superior (6-10-4) would need to win out (LSSU wins at C).

Michigan Tech

High: 19-6-3 (41 points), 1st.  The Huskies play Bemidji State (+177), Alaska (+320), and Northern Michigan (+143).

The Huskies would need to win out, and Mankato (13-4-5) goes no better than 5-1-0 (MTU wins at B).  If BG wins out, they get to 41 points as well, but MTU wins at A.

Low: 13-12-3 (29 points), 7th.

The Huskies would need to lose out, and:

  • Bowling Green (12-5-5) needs just one point, and
  • Ferris State (11-7-4) needs to go at least 2-3-1 (MTU wins at B if the Bulldogs go 1-2-3 or 0-0-5), and
  • Northern Michigan (9-7-4) needs to go better than 1-4-1 in their other six contests (NMU wins at A), and
  • Bemidji State (7-9-4) needs to go better than 3-2-1 in their other six contests (MTU wins at B with that record for BSU), and
  • Lake Superior (6-10-4) goes better than 6-1-1 (MTU wins at A).

Northern Michigan

High: 17-7-4 (36 points), 1st.  The Wildcats play Ferris State (-2), Alabama-Huntsville (+231), Lake Superior (+156), and Michigan Tech (-143).

The Wildcats would need to win out, and:

  • Minnesota State (13-4-5) goes no better than 4-3-1 (where we get to the D tiebreaker; MSU wins if it’s BGSU, NMU wins if it’s MTU), and
  • Bowling Green (12-5-5) goes no better than 3-2-1 (NMU wins at B).

Ferris State cannot pass the Wildcats in this scenario.

Low: 9-15-4 (22 points), 10th.

The Wildcats would have to lose out, and:

  • Bemidji State (7-9-4) would have to go 2-3-1 or better (NMU wins at C), and
  • Lake Superior (6-10-4) would have to go 3-5-0 or better (LSSU wins at D),
  • Alaska-Anchorage (7-13-2) would have to go 2-1-3 or better (NMU wins at C), and
  • Alaska (5-13-4) would have to go 4-2-0 or better — with no more than one of those wins against UAA — and sweep BG and have the Falcons be the #1 seed (which is a tough combination!), or better just go 4-1-1 and seal the deal, and
  • Alabama-Huntsville (4-13-3) would have to go 5-1-2 or better (NMU wins at C).

I’ll look at likely bands tomorrow.  If you find a mistake, please leave it in the comments or where you found the link.

I’ll have Week 20 BELOW predictions tomorrow, and Friday I plan to pull all the strings together for a comprehensive look at the playoffs going forward.  Next week, I’ll run this analysis again (when it will be far simpler) and hopefully start applying some probabilities to it.

Thanks as always for reading.

2015-16 WCHA Tiebreakers

We are close enough to the end of the season that tiebreakers start to become something that we think about when evaluating the WCHA playoff picture.

Some items to note:

  1. I’m pretty sure that everyone knows this, but only seeds 1-8 make the playoffs.  The 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5 matchups happen in the first round.  So the tiebreakers not only help you decide in-or-out, but they also potentially help with figuring out home ice.
  2. The first tiebreaker, which I call the “A Tiebreaker” or simply “A”, is head-to-head record between two or more teams if all teams have played all other teams in the tiebreaker four times.  Because the WCHA plays an unbalanced schedule, the A is often passed up.
  3. The “B Tiebreaker” (“B”) is conference wins.  This applies when 1) all teams in the A haven’t played four games against each other (common) or 2) they have, but the tie wasn’t broken (highly unlikely).
  4. The “C Tiebreaker” (“C”) is winning percentage in games amongst all teams tied.
  5. The “D Tiebreaker” (“D”) is winning percentage against each team, down the standings table.  I have run scenarios where this comes to play, but I’ve not seen it in the first two years of the current league setup.
  6. The “E Tiebreaker” (“E”) is goal differential.  I doubt we’ll get this far.
  7. The “F Tiebreaker” (“F”) is a coin flip.  If this happens, I think that Matt Hodson and I may go to Vegas and play roulette.

For the purposes of this exercise, I want to look at the three bands of teams this season:

  • Headlining at the Super Bowl: Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, Bowling Green
  • Hoping to play MSG: Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Bemidji State
  • Happy to play your local dive bar for gas fare: Lake Superior, Alaska, Alaska-Anchorage, Alabama-Huntsville.

Let’s first look at, in these bands, who plays four times:

MSU-MTU-BGSU: Michigan Tech went 2-1-1 against Bowling Green; Bowling Green and Minnesota State split 1-1-2.

FSU-NMU-BSU: Ferris State and Northern Michigan play this weekend (1-1-0 so far); Ferris State went 2-1-1 against Bemidji State.

LSSU-UAA-UAF-UAH: Alaska-Anchorage went 2-1-1 against Alabama-Huntsville; Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage will play in the final games of the season (Fairbanks leads 1-0-1); Lake Superior travels to Alaska-Anchorage (currently split 1-1-0) in Week 21.

As all 4x tiebreakers will be sewn up by February 21st (save the Governor’s Cup), we’ll deal with them after that weekend.  At that point, we should be pretty close to figuring out tiebreakers, even with 20 games left.