Looking back at 2016 through the lens of 2017

Back in May (!) I mentioned that I was looking at last year’s playoff picture through the lens of the new conference tournament plan.  I’ve finally finished that after far, far too long.  (I’m mainly pushing it now to get it to “done” so I can add this logic to the overall 2016-17 ABOVE model.  Yes, I named it ABOVE.  You shut up.)

Final 2015-16 BELOW, Playoff Chances

TeamFinal BELOWTotal %Factor
1-MTU171525.806%4.900
2-MSU165618.831%3.424
3-BGSU162515.111%2.879
4-FSU152711.088%2.106
5-NMU15019.373%1.780
6-BSU15569.520%1.808
7-LSSU14635.804%1.102
8-UAF14515.266%1523

As you can see, despite a lower seeding, the model has Bemidji State slightly more likely to win overall than Northern Michigan based on the Beavers’ higher BELOW rating.

That the top four teams went to the semifinals is no surprise — but it was just about a 50-50 proposition.  Part of that is because Bemidji was a solid squad last season.

Those percentages come from a run of 5,000,000 trials of a model that does the following:

  1. Plays out the four quarterfinal series: MTU-UAF, MSU-LSSU, BGSU-BSU, FSU-NMU.
  2. Creates a new bracket among those four teams and plays another three-game series on each side of the bracket.
  3. Plays a one-game final.

So for what we actually saw, we’re looking at a 1234-24-4 bracket run.  In 5,000,000 trials, that happens about 1.177% of the time.  In comparison, the most absurd response — lower seeds losing at every turn — happens about 0.180% of the time, while chalk — top seeds winning out — happens 2.497% of the time.

In short, Ferris State winning out was unlikely but not shocking.  The big surprise was Michigan Tech not winning.

Now it’s time to finish that ABOVE model…