Week 5 BELOW for the 2016-17 WCHA Regular Season
2016-17 BELOW, Week 5
|Team||Wk5 BELOW||+/-||Wk2 EWP|
Huskies Closing in on Beavers
A strong weekend by Michigan Tech against a middle-of-the-pack Northern Michigan squad saw the Huskies surge into a tie in BELOW with Bemidji State. The Beavers lead the league standings with a perfect 6-0-0 mark that in some way validates that BELOW thought that they were better last year than their sixth-place standings finish.
Your BELOW rating always goes up when you win, but when you’re expected to win as the Beavers were — it’s rare that ABOVE picks one team sweeping as a higher probability than a split; Alaska-Anchorage was only picked to out-point the home side 18% of the time — you don’t get as much of a bump from those wins. That’s how Tech gains 33 BELOW points while Bemidji gets just 19.
Split in Mankato
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Minnesota State would sweep Ferris State. The teams were 194 points apart in BELOW, and Ferris State was only 19% likely to do better than split. However, Mankato didn’t finish out a sweep on the road at Alaska, and they didn’t finish at home with Ferris. This tells us — and BELOW reflects it — that the Mavs may not as elite as they were last season.
Logjam at the top
You could still throw a blanket over Bemidji, Tech, and Mankato. The only direct interaction between the teams is the Mavs’ home sweep of the Huskies. Bemidji State plays both sides twice this season, and MSU will travel to Houghton. That A tiebreaker could well come into play this season, as the three teams that very likely finish at the top all play each other four times.
Nanooks Blemish the Lakers
Lake Superior’s 50th anniversary season finally saw the Lakers take a poor mark, as Fairbanks pulled scored a real-overtime game-winner on Saturday to pick up the split. A Laker win would’ve put them in second place early in the season.
Why are the Lakers so much farther behind the Bemidji-Mankato-Tech triumvirate despite being right behind them in the standings and being the last perfect team out West? Simply put, the Lakers weren’t that good last year, and last year is generally a good predictor of this year, at least in the early going. Also, the Lakers’ two opponents are Alabama-Huntsville and Fairbanks, and neither team is any great shakes in BELOW’s eyes. Even if the Lakers had blown the Nanooks out last night, their BELOW would have maxed out at 1565.
Chargers and Falcons Don’t Much Help the WCHA’s PWR
Sorry, WCHA — Huntsville and Bowling Green didn’t do a whole lot for our Pairwise Ranking this weekend. After netting just over two goals a game, the Falcons did go out and drop four on Miami on Saturday night to break into the win column. UAH had St. Cloud tied through two on Friday and down by one on Saturday, but a bad third the first night and a bad second on Saturday night ended up in a sweep of the Chargers.
We have four conference matchups coming this weekend, with Huntsville off to Anchorage, Bemidji off to Fairbanks, Ferris on the bus to BG, and Mankato making the trip to the Soo.
To date, UAH has played FSU, MTU, and LSSU. FSU has also played NMU and MSU. MTU has also played MSU and NMU. LSSU has also played UAF. NMU has also played BSU. BSU has also played BGSU and UAA, and that closes the loop. After three more weeks, every team will have played someone from each of the three tiers of the league (BSU-MTU-MSU, BGSU-LSSU-UAF-FSU-NMU, UAH-UAA) save MSU, UAF, and NMU, who won’t have played a bottom-two team. (Yes, the Nanooks and Seawolves face off in non-conference play.)
ABOVE 1.3 Goals
I will daisy-chain Weeks 6 and 7 together — and maybe 8 and 9 if that isn’t too time-consuming. The goal would to not only calculate BELOWs to the end of November but to give probabilities for how the standings will look then. I think that’s more valuable than simple calculation of a number that has intuitive to value to me but maybe not you. From there, we’re not all that far away from routine projections for the end of the year, followed hopefully by what-if scenarios for you to try.
I also want to revisit goal differential with an eye to FiveThirtyEight’s point differential coefficient for NFL calculations. When I’ve looked at the goal differential bonus before, I’ve noted that it’s generally the big teams who win out big. Why reward them more for doing their job than, say, an upset win by a lower-ranked team? I’m not sure that their methodology is the correct one, and I’m sure that those coefficients are correlated to a model that I don’t quite have built yet.
If I apply this, I’ll take it back to the beginning of the season, which will change the BELOW ratings that I’ve published to-date. That’s fine — I’ll just re-calculate and start over from Week 5 forward.
Thanks as always for reading along.