How the WCHA Play-In Alternative Might Have Worked

Back in 2014, I proposed a play-in tournament where Seeds 7-10 would travel to the top two seeds to play single-game match-ups to determine who plays the home team in a best-of-three series.  It’s admittedly a slightly-silly idea, given that the league’s struggling financially and Edina would be footing the bill.  But I want to revisit the topic anyway.

2014-15 would’ve been hard to pull off because of Alaska’s postseason ban.  Presumably Minnesota State would merely have hosted Lake Superior and Alaska-Anchorage, who finished in the bottom two slots. while Michigan Tech would’ve still had the joy of outlasting Carmine Guerriero in that 3OT thriller.

This season, it would’ve been especially painful financially, with the 8-9-10 seeds all being from the farthest-flung reaches of the league. Would UAF and UAA have played a fifth game in Anchorage with the winner getting on a plane for Minnesota immediately afterward?  Would the Huskies have taken the team from the 49th rather than a potential matchup against another hot Charger goaltender?  It would’ve been fun to find out.

2015-16 WCHA Final Five Pick: Minnesota State

A 2-1 Minnesota State win over Bowling Green, followed by a 1-0 upset of Michigan Tech by Ferris State leaves us with a finale of the Bulldogs (1614 BELOW) against the Mavericks (1673).  My pick: Minnesota State wins about 58.5%.

Now I know that’s not a huge upset by any means, and anyone can pick chalk, right?  But you might look at the WCHA standings and compare a team that went 16-5-7 with a team that went 13-11-4 and go, “Oh, that will be a cakewalk.”  BELOW likes the Bulldogs’ chances, though.  (Tech fans want Ferris to win.)

Why is this relevant?  (Why is any of this relevant?)  Any Elo-based rating system gives you more value for beating a good team than a bad one, and a bigger hit for losing to a bad team than a good one — all because of expectations.  So Ferris got a big jump — 36 points worth — because of Friday night’s win.

How big is that jump?  I have a handle for it because I look at the numbers all of the time, but let’s make it easy for you:

  1. It’s important to remember that the ranking system considers 1500 to be average, and if two teams with identical BELOW rankings play each other, the system predicts a 50-50 matchup.
  2. If a team that’s 1600 plays a team that’s 1500, the better team should win 64% of the time.  That’s also true of a matchup of teams at 1500-1400, 1700-1600, etc.
  3. If a team that’s 1700 plays a team that’s 1500, the better team should win 76% of the time.
  4. If a team that’s 1536 plays a team that’s 1500, the better team expects to win 55.2% of the time.

Note that the absolute values really don’t matter; it’s the relative ones that do.  Ferris’s win on Friday night convinces BELOW that it’s 5.2% better than the system thought that it was the night before.

With that in mind: the relative BELOW between these two teams is -59.  I decided to pull up every game with a BELOW differential between 50 and 75 for the entire 2015-16 regular season.  These were the games (scores in italics indicate lesser team won):

  1. Bowling Green (1534) at Alaska-Anchorage (1480): 2-0
  2. Northern Michigan (1564) at Alaska (1495): 2-5
  3. Bowling Green (1539) at Michigan Tech (1606): 0-2
  4. Alaska (1524) at Bemidji State (1457): 3-6
  5. Lake Superior (1408) at Bemidji State (1465): 1-1
  6. Bemidji State (1542) at Ferris State (1473): 1-2
  7. Michigan Tech (1565) at Lake Superior (1491): 6-2
  8. Bemidji State (1479) at Alaska (1418): 1-1
  9. Bemidji State (1512) at Alaska-Anchorage (1459): 5-1
  10. Bowling Green (1633) at Michigan Tech (1686): 1-5
  11. Northern Michigan (1529) at Ferris State (1601): 3-2
  12. Lake Superior (1441) at Alaska-Anchorage (1371): 3-2
  13. Lake Superior (1468) at Ferris State (1523): 1-3

In those 13 matches, five went the way of the weaker team by BELOW.

It’s not hard to see that matchups in this range happen often (around 10% of the time in this season), and that the better team isn’t shooting on an empty net.

For any curious: the biggest BELOW differential this season was 388, and there were five games over 300, all involving UAH, with the Chargers’ record in those games 1-2-2.

2016 WCHA Final Five BELOW-Based Predictions

So I have a preliminary model of multiple-goal wins, and I decided to try it out here on the 2016 WCHA Final Five.  My best estimate is:

  • Michigan Tech wins the Broadmoor Trophy and the automatic qualifier around 43% of the time, having dispatched Ferris State about 71% of the time in the semifinal.
  • Bowling Green and Minnesota State each win about 22.5% of the time.  The teams come into the semifinal a virtual tie in BELOW: 1649 for the Falcons, 1648 for the Mavericks; as such, BELOW considers it a 50-50 matchup.
  • Ferris State picks up about 12% of the wins.

Why the change from the final 2015-16 numbers for the Mavericks and Falcons?  Both teams went to a Sunday game, but Lake Superior was a far inferior opponent to Bemidji State, so the combination of two wins and a loss against each team meant that the Mavs fell farther down the lane.

My estimate above comes from multiple runs of 10,000 trials on an eyeball test.  I may push this to 100,000 trials or more if I have time before the puck drops.  If I do, I’ll write another update and maybe talk about my methodology a little bit.  If not, well, you have your probabilities.

[Note: I had a goof in my algorithm and was underestimating a Tech win.]

2015-16 BELOW: Beginning to End

I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  Here are the beginning and ending numbers, as well as season highs and lows.

Final 2015-16 BELOW

TeamStarting BELOWFinal BELOWChangeHighLow
0-UAH14001361-3914261319
1-UAA14161329-8715351329
2-UAF15231451-7215231387
3-BSU15341556+2215561469
4-BGSU15751625+5016731539
5-FSU14811527+4615711481
6-LSSU14031463+6014861354
7-MSU16881656-3217441656
8-MTU16541715+6417151570
9-NMU15071501-61591 1501

It’s important that I apply a regression to the mean for all teams.  These numbers will not be the starting values for next season.  Tech will be at 1643, as I move all teams 1/3 closer to the mean.  This also means that UAA will be at 1386

With that in mind, what we can see is that:

  1. Michigan Tech and Bowling Green reversed the regressions and kept their place at the top.
  2. Minnesota State was really off this year after being dominant last year.
  3. BELOW likes Bemidji State far better than I do.
  4. Ferris State and Northern Michigan stayed around the middle.
  5. Lake Superior made strides this year.  They’re almost to league average now, and they will start at 1474 next year.  Another year of recruits and coaching and they may be pushing for home ice next year.
  6. It was a terrible, terrible year for schools from states whose names start with “Ala”.  That said, Alaska has made some gains of late, and Michigan Tech will do well to not overlook them.

I will re-run BELOW from the start of 2013-14 forward, which will probably move some of these numbers a bit, say no more than 20-30 points either direction.

Enjoy the playoffs.  One more month until the sad time of six months of zero college hockey.

Congratulations to Scenario I

Congratulations to Michigan Tech, Minnesota State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Bemidji State, Lake Superior, and Alaska for making the WCHA playoffs!  Scenario I was my third-most-likely scenario, requiring a split in Mankato and a sweep in the UP.  Looking at the whole weekend, all five results were either in the first or second probability pool.

I’m sick of spreadsheets, so I’ll be back after a break.  I’d like to thank my wife (of five months) for not shooting me during this process.

2015-16 WCHA Playoffs Race: The Final 81 Results

I’m updating this post throughout the day.  It will be fixed when the Michigan-based games begin.  At the bottom, I show my work; up top, I present results.  If you want behind the current, here’s a link to my spreadsheet!  Know that I take all criticism in stride and always welcome corrections.

BELOW-Based Odds for Tonight

ResultOddsWhen we will know
Mankato is #184.08%Possibly during the MSU-BSU game, if Tech doesn't win.
Tech is #115.92%
Ferris is #484.80%As soon as the first two games are done.
Northern is #415.20%
BSU is #681.92%Possibly during the MSU-BSU game, assuming Ferris wins.
LSSU is #618.08%
UAF is #864.38%Whenever the game is over.
UAA is #835.62%

Final Standings Tables

Scenario# of Possible CombinationsOddsMTU to 1stNMU to 4thLSSU to 6th8th?
A32 of 8136.17%UAF
B16 of 3120.01%UAA
C5 of 816.33%YesUAF
D10 of 813.50%YesUAA
E4 of 818.18%YesUAF
F2 of 814.52%YesUAA
G2 of 813.46%YesYesUAF
H1 of 811.92%YesYesUAA
I6 of 8110.25%YesUAF
J3 of 815.67%YesUAA
There are the BELOW-Based Final Scenarios for the 2015-16 WCHA Standings Table.

The Ten Scenarios

These are the ten possible standings scenarios.  For easy viewing, I’ve formatted any changes from the current lineup: 1-2 flips are bold4-5 flips are bold-italic6-7 flips are bold-underlined; 8-9 flips are underlined.

  1. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAF.
  2. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAA.
  3. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAF.
  4. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAA.
  5. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAF.
  6. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAA.
  7. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAF.
  8. 1-MSU, 2-MTU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAA.
  9. 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAF.
  10. 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAA.

Good morning, Freddy!

The craziness of last night — including UAH winning a wild 7-5 matchup where UAH had two three-goal periods, BGSU had one, and nominal brick wall Chris Nell gave up six goals on 19 shots — has us at the following point:

This puts us into 81 possible final results, since BGSU-UAH is just for funsies and has no playoff implications whatsoever.  (That’s 3*3*3*3 — win-loss-tie for four games.)

A short preview of tonight

Here’s how it will go down:

  1. If Minnesota State gets any points at all tonight, they win the MacNaughton Cup outright, are the #1 seed, and face whichever Alaska school comes out of tonight with a postseason berth.  If MSU loses and Michigan Tech wins, the Huskies win at B, the two teams are co-champions, and MTU is the #1 seed.
  2. Ferris State has a one-point lead on Northern Michigan.  If they maintain that lead, they get home ice and face the Wildcats next weekend; if the Wildcats win while the Bulldogs lose, NMU hosts. If FSU ties and NMU wins, the teams are knotted at 13-10-5 and we go to the D tiebreaker, which is dependent on the BSU-LSSU result.  If FSU loses and NMU ties, NMU wins at B.
  3. Bemidji State has a two-point lead on Lake Superior.  If the Beavers get any points at all, they finish 6th and travel to Bowling Green next weekend.  If the teams finish tied, the Lakers win at A and are 6th.
  4. Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage are tied at 18 league points.  UAF is currently 2-0-1 in the season series.  If either team wins, they get 8th place.  If the teams tie, UAF wins at A and gets 8th.

Bulldogs and Wildcats and Tiebreakers, Oh My!

Let’s look a little deeper at the FSU-NMU interaction, specifically where FSU ties and NMU wins.  As noted, the teams finish 13-10-5 here.  Let’s go through the tiebreakers together.

  1. The teams are tied at A and C because they went 2-2-0 in their season series.
  2. The teams are tied at B with 13 conference wins.
  3. The teams would be tied at D for the comparisons with the teams above them.  Both schools went 0-2-0 against BGSU.  NMU beating MTU tonight pulls them to 2-2-0 in the season series, equaling the Bulldogs’ mark.  Both teams finished .500 against MSU: 1-1-0 for FSU, 1-1-2 for NMU.
  4. To keep the D comparisons going (and thanks to the league office for cleaning this up on a Saturday morning),

NMU wins at D v. BSU, who would be 6th.  Thanks to x1g27s on the USCHO Fan Forum for the push here.  (N.B.: I respect that QED.)

It’s always important to show your work.

FSU-NMU:
  1. FSU wins — FSU 4th (32 points), NMU 5th (31, 30, or 29).
  2. FSU ties, NMU wins — each team is 13-10-5 (31 points), and we cover that above.
  3. FSU loses, NMU wins — NMU 4th (31 points), FSU 5th (30 points).
  4. FSU ties, NMU ties or loses — FSU 4th (31 points), NMU 5th (30 or 29).
  5. FSU loses, NMU ties — tied at 30 points, FSU wins at B (13 – 12).
  6. FSU loses, NMU loses — FSU 4th (30 points), NMU 5th (29).
BSU-LSSU:
  1. BSU wins or ties — BSU 6th (27 or 26 points), LSSU 7th (25, 24, or 23).
  2. BSU loses, LSSU wins — each team is 10-13-5 (25 points), and LSSU wins at A.
  3. BSU loses, LSSU ties or loses — BSU 6th (25 points), LSSU 7th (24 or 23).
UAA-UAF:
  1. UAF wins — UAF 8th (20 points), UAA 9th (18).
  2. Tie game — teams are tied at 19 points, UAF wins at A.
  3. UAA wins — UAA 8th (20 points), UAF 9th (18).
The Rejected Scenarios

The following scenarios are not possible (I tried them in my spreadsheet to be sure):

  • 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAF.  NMU and MTU both can’t leap up one spot since they play each other.
  • 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU, 6-BSU, 7-LSSU, 8-UAA, for the same reason.
  • 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAF.  MTU cannot hurdle MSU if BSU does not beat them (LSSU needs a BSU loss).
  • 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-FSU, 5-NMU, 6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAA, for the same reason.
  • 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAF.  This is a combination of the previous two situations.
  • 1-MTU, 2-MSU, 3-BGSU, 4-NMU, 5-FSU6-LSSU, 7-BSU, 8-UAA, for the same reason.

2015-16 Final Weekend: Playoff Branches

The master spreadsheet is nearly finished.  I didn’t get everything that I wanted to complete done for the day (especially teasing all the three-way tiebreakers), but I did learn some things and will do better next year.  I will be able to do a full breakdown of all 243 possibilities for tomorrow night’s games.

As I noted early this morning, there are four cohorts:

  1. Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, and Bowling Green vying for the 1-3 spots.
  2. Northern Michigan and Ferris State vying for the 4-5 spot — the rights to host the other next weekend.
  3. Bemidji State and Lake Superior for 6-7.
  4. Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska for the final playoff spot.

The last three are easy to figure out, so let’s start there.

UAA at UAF

Simply put, Fairbanks has to win and tie to push to a tiebreaker at 19 points (they win at A) or win outright at 20.  By a pure counts basis — all things being equal — a win-and-tie happens two times in six combinations.  A predictions table like what’s featured in my spreadsheet shows that the Nanooks get their favored result about 36.19% of the time, or a little better than the 33.33% chance by pure counts.  Why?  BELOW says that the Nanooks are better than the Seawolves despite the green and gold having the two-point advantage in the standings table.

BSU and LSSU

These two teams do not play this weekend: the Beavers host the Mavericks, while the Lakers host the Bulldogs.  As both opponents have something to play for this weekend, these games will certainly be contested.  LSSU wins the A tiebreaker with a 2-1-1 season series record, so BSU gets to 6th anytime they have more points than LSSU.  By counts, this happens 77.5% of the time; by odds, 75.10%.  This is largely due to the fact that Mankato is a stronger team than Ferris both absolutely and in relative BELOW margin.

NMU and FSU

This one is the most surprising result to me.  The Wildcats and Bulldogs split their season series 2-2-0, so they depend either on the B, D, or E tiebreakers.  As I noted this morning, a split between NMU and Tech and Ferris winning and tying gets the teams noted at 13-10-5.  By counts, this happens 9.88% of the time; by odds, 8.81%.  There’s no way for NMU to win at B for any tie other the one at 31 points.  So overall, by odds, it’s 50.59% NMU, 40.60% FSU, and 8.81% a push to goal margin.

MSU-MTU-BGSU

First we must consider the three-way ties that can occur.  We can have three-way ties at 39, 38, and 37 points.  To review, the A tiebreaker is not in play.

39: MSU splits (W-L or T-T doesn’t matter), MTU sweeps, BGSU sweeps.  The B tiebreaker settles this for us: 1-MTU (18), 2-BGSU (17), 3-MSU (16 or 15).

38: MSU ties once, MTU wins and ties, BGSU wins and ties.  The B tiebreaker settles this for us: 1-MTU (17), 2-BGSU (16), 3-MSU (15). Because ties are involved, this doesn’t happen very often.

37-a: MSU is swept, MTU wins and loses, BGSU wins and loses.  The B tiebreaker settles this for us: 1-MTU (17), 2-BGSU (16), 3-MSU (15).

37-b: MSU is swept, MTU wins and loses, BGSU ties twice.  The B tiebreaker pulls MTU into first, and we reset into the two-way tiebreaker setup for MSU and BGSU.  The teams went 1-1-2 this season, and they’d have identical records, so they push to D, where BGSU wins (1-2-1 v. Tech against MSU’s 0-1-1).  1-MTU, 2-BGSU, 3-MSU.

37-c: MSU is swept, MTU ties twice, BGSU wins and loses.  The B tiebreaker drops MSU out (15 v. 16-16).  MTU wins at A.  1-MTU, 2-BGSU, 3-MSU.

37-d: MSU is swept, MTU ties twice, BGSU ties twice.  The B tiebreaker pulls MTU out, and we’re again left with a two-way tiebreaker that BGSU wins.  1-MTU, 2-BGSU, 3-MSU.

In all, these three-way ties happen 729 times in 59,049 scenarios (1.23456789%, I kid you not).  The odds of

If MSU gets 40 or 41 points, they break free of the pack.

Two-way Tiebreakers (A, C, or D):

BGSU-MSU

The teams split their season series; as noted, the Falcons win at D.

BGSU-MTU

MTU wins at A by virtue of going 2-1-1 in the season series.

MSU-MTU

MTU wins at C by virtue of going 1-0-1 in the season series.

As you can see, MTU wins all of the three-way ties and both of the two-way tiebreakers.  MSU, despite being ahead in points by virtue of 7 ties, is also at a disadvantage for that same reason in most any tie situation.

Now here’s where I ended up running out of time, because teasing out logical arguments in Excel isn’t always very fun.  Here’s what I can tell you:

Mankato can win outright by picking up three or four points this weekend.  That happens 42.94% of the time against 33.33% of the counts.  When this happens, MTU is second 53.77% of the time.  I imagine that this spread stays the same as long as MSU is ahead of the other two schools; MTU will win most other comparisons.

Back late tonight or early in the morning for more.

2015-16 WCHA Playoff Race: The Final Weekend

I’ve already given you my final series-by-series predictions, but that doesn’t cover every circumstance.  In only one case — Alaska-Anchorage at Alaska — is the decision set binary.

Drew Evans of BGSUHockey.com sharpened his pencil on this, and I commend him for his efforts.  To be sure, I’m working completely independent of his work (I glanced at it once, but I won’t further).  Here’s what we know.

  1. Mankato has a two-point edge on Tech and BG in the race for first place.  Some combination of the three teams will be 1-2-3.
  2. Northern and Ferris are in a fight for the final home ice spot, with the Wildcats having a one-point lead with a tie last weekend in the Soo.  Bemidji could meet those two teams at 12-11-5/29, but the Beavers would lose the comparison at C, having gone 0-1-1 against NMU.
  3. Speaking of Bemidji, they’re just two points ahead of Lake State.  Both teams are clear of the Alaska schools and cannot finish lower than 7th.
  4. Anchorage and Fairbanks’s Governor’s Cup again has playoff implications: if the Seawolves get two or more points, they make the postseason and UAF misses; if the Nanooks get three or more points, they make the postseason and UAA is ninth.  On behalf of everyone who likes exciting finishes, we’re rooting for the tie on Friday night.  Ties have come in nearly 18% of WCHA games.
  5. Huntsville was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend when they lost on the road at rival Bemidji State.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, there are 59,049 ways that this weekend can play out, but not all of them are the same.  As such, I’d like to present the following tables, which inform the large spreadsheet and PDF that I will link to.

ResultFriday OddsLSSU W given resultTie given resultFSU W given result
LSSU Win37.23%40.44%17.69%41.87%
Tie17.69%37.34%18.32%44.34%
FSU Win45.08%35.43%17.69%46.88%

I think that this table makes the predictive power of BELOW evident.  Consider the LSSU W row.  The next three data points are the odds of each of the results given that first result of a Laker win.  You can see that a Laker win or tie convinces BELOW that the Lakers are better relative to the Bulldogs than was previously thought and adjusts accordingly: the winning percentage goes up in each case.

Also, note that a FSU win on Friday — predicted to happen 45% of the time — boosts their odds of winning on Saturday to 47%.  This is how we get to the idea that the Bulldogs sweep about 20% of the time.

Here’s the other four tables:

ResultFriday OddsNMU W given resultTie given resultMTU W given result
NMU Win32.03%35.71%17.69%46.60%
Tie17.69%37.41%18.32%49.08%
MTU Win50.28%31.05%17.69%51.26%
ResultFriday OddsBGSU W given resultTie given resultUAH W given result
BGSU Win59.97%59.96%17.69%22.35%
Tie17.69%58.65%18.32%23.03%
UAH Win22.34%57.59%17.69%24.71%
ResultFriday OddsBSU W given resultTie given resultMSU W given result
BSU Win32.34%35.98%17.69%46.32%
Tie17.69%32.92%18.32%48.76%
MSU Win49.97%31.29%17.69%51.02%
ResultFriday OddsUAA W given resultTie given resultUAF W given result
UAA Win38.36%41.44%17.69%40.87%
Tie17.69%38.33%18.32%43.35%
UAF Win43.95%36.39%17.69%45.91%

I’ll have the full spreadsheet on Friday afternoon, but here’s a look at the tiebreakers for each cohort:

For MSU-MTU-BGSU:

Three-way tiebreakers:

A.  BG went 1-2-1 against Tech and 1-1-2 against Mankato, but Tech went just 1-0-1 against Mankato, keeping the A tiebreaker out of play for a three-way tie.

B.  Tech’s one-win advantage is helpful here, and they win most comparisons that don’t involve two ties.

C.  Tech wins three-way comparisons, but there aren’t any situations where all three teams get to 37 points where Mankato isn’t out at the B tiebreaker.

For NMU-FSU:

A.  The teams went 2-2-0 in their season series.

B.  The teams each have 12 conference wins, but any true tie involves a tie on the part of one team.  If NMU got one point from Tech, FSU would pull even with a split with the Lakers and win at B.  Conversely, FSU getting a tie while the teams pace on wins pushes to C.

C.  The teams split their series.

D.  FSU went 0-2-0 against BGSU, 2-2-0 against MTU, and 1-1-0 against MSU.  NMU went 0-2-0 against BGSU, is currently 1-1-0 with MTU, and went 1-1-0 against MSU.

So yes, we can push to E.  It requires Tech and NMU to split while FSU wins and ties.

E.  Goal margin is the game here.  NMU is 84GF-82GA going into the weekend, while FSU is 88GF-90GA.

Isn’t this fun?

For BSU-LSSU:

A.  LSSU won the season series 2-1-1.

UAF-UAA has no tiebreakers since the Seawolves are a point ahead and don’t have a way to get even on points.

For UAA-UAF:

A.  The series is currently 1-0-1 UAF.  A tie occurs only when UAF wins and ties to join UAA 19 points; they win at A, 2-0-2.

2015-16 BELOW-Based Week 23 Predictions

There are 59,049 ways that this weekend can play out.  Each of the last ten games can be tied or won by either team.  That’s a lot of ways to play out!

Obviously, not all routes are equal.  My predictions this year have worked on the assumption that the tie rate is roughly constant across all opponents, which is certainly proven by Minnesota State’s last trip to Huntsville.

Before I get into a weighted average of how things will go, I want to present my standard weekly predictions.

Lake Superior @ Ferris State

OutcomeOddsLSSU PointsFSU Points
Split34.33%2530
FSU Sweeps21.33%2332
FSU 3 Pts15.82%2431
LSSU Sweeps15.32%2728
LSSU 3 Pts13.19%2629
The Lakers of Lake Superior State University (1468 BELOW) travel down-state to face the Ferris State University Bulldogs (1532 BELOW).

Northern Michigan @/v Michigan Tech

OutcomeOddsNMU PointsMTU Points
Split33.36%3337
MTU Sweeps26.02%3139
MTU 3 Pts17.57%3238
NMU 3 Pts11.42%3236
NMU Sweeps11.63%3335
Northern Michigan University (1542 BELOW) and Michigan Tech (1675)

Bowling Green at Alabama-Huntsville

OutcomeOddsBGSU PointsUAH Points
BGSU Sweeps36.15%3914
Split29.30%3716
BGSU 3 Pts20.99%3815
UAH 3 Pts8.03%3617
UAH Sweeps5.54%3518
The Falcons of Bowling Green State University (1663 BELOW) wing their way to the Rocket City to face the Chargers of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (1323 BELOW).

Bemidji State @ Minnesota State

OutcomeOddsBSU PointsMSU Points
Split33.42%2739
MSU Sweeps25.72%2541
MSU 3 Pts17.47%2640
BSU Sweeps11.85%2937
BSU 3 Pts11.55%2838
The Bemidji State University Beavers (1542 BELOW) travel downstate to face the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks (1670 BELOW).

Alaska-Anchorage @ Alaska

OutcomeOddsUAA PointsUAF Points
Split34.44%2018
UAF Sweeps20.38%1820
UAA Sweeps16.18%2216
UAF 3 Pts15.45%1919
UAA 3 Pts13.57%2117
The Seawolves of Alaska-Anchorage (1370 BELOW) face in-state rival Alaska (1409 BELOW) for the Governors' Cup and the final 2016 WCHA playoff spot.

I’ll be back with the playoff branches ASAP!