2016-17 WCHA Week 21 BELOW Ratings

2016-17 Week 21 BELOW

TeamBELOWPlayoff Seeding
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 21 of WCHA conference play (140 of 140 games played).

It’s important to note that Northern Michigan is the 8th seed, facing Bemidji State, but is 6th in the final 2016-17 WCHA regular season BELOW ratings.  If BSU thinks that they have an easy setup for the first round, they have another think coming.

I’ll go polish the playoff model up a bit and have the projections out soon.  This is the same model that I used back in September to revisit how the playoffs looked.  When we look at probabilities in the projections, please re-visit that post: what we had in the 2016 playoffs, with the tournament pretty much going chalk, was still just a 1% probability.  With eight teams, the probabilities are pretty wild — and FSU won with a 11% chance at the start.

2016-17 WCHA Final Playoff Projections

Bemidji State1 - 100%
Michigan Tech2 - 100 %
Minnesota State3 - 100 %
Bowling Green4 - 65.91%5 - 34.09%
Ferris State4 - 34.09%5 - 65.91%
Alaska6 - 100%
Lake Superior7 - 84.25%8 - 14.60%9 - 1.16%
Northern Michigan7 - 14.60%8 - 53.85%9 - 31.56%
Alabama-Huntsville7 - 1.16%8 - 31.56%9 - 67.29%
Alaska-Anchorage10 - 100%

I’d like to thank the league for putting out a press release so I didn’t have to work on this at work, and I’d like to thank the teams for making it easy on me — we know half of the results already.  Here’s what’s left:

  1. Bowling Green and Ferris State are tied at 41 points, and the Falcons own the tiebreaker.
  2. Lake Superior is at 8-3-3-13/33, Northern Michigan is at 9-1-2-15/31, and Alabama-Huntsville is at 9-0-3-15/30.
  3. Lake Superior makes the playoffs as the 7th seed if they get a win tonight in regulation or overtime.  They also get 7th as long as they have more points than Northern Michigan, who wins at B.
  4. Northern Michigan makes the playoffs at the 7th seed if they pass or equal Lake Superior in the standings unless Alabama-Huntsville  ties the two at 33, which takes the Lakers losing and Northern winning in 3×3 or the shootout and the Chargers winning over Bowling Green.
  5. Lake Superior finishes in 8th if Northern passes or ties them without Huntsville doing the same.  UAH winning the three-way tiebreaker is the only way that LSSU misses the playoffs.
  6. Northern Michigan finishes in 8th anytime they stay ahead of Huntsville but don’t pass Lake State.
  7. The NMU-UAH tiebreaker is fun: at 33, UAH wins at B; at 32, at D; at 31, at C.  That’s just wacky.


2016-17 WCHA Week 21, Series 70 Projection: Northern Michigan (1528) @/v Michigan Tech (1666)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 70: Michigan Tech (1666) at/home Northern Michigan (1488)

MTU Sweeps40.64%
NMU sweeps8.20%
MTU 5 points (W, OTW)7.71%
MTU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)5.05%
NMU 5 points (W, OTW)3.39%
NMU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.52%

This is our lop-sided matchup of the week, and it’s a shame, really.  The Wildcats’ resurgence has been remarkable, but facing the league’s best team, even on rivalry weekend, is a tough task.  They have to like their chances of keeping ahead of the pack with a split or better — about 41% — but the long losing streak they had has made the playoffs a dicey proposition.

2016-17 WCHA Week 21, Series 69 Projection: Ferris State (1526) at Lake Superior (1428)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 69: Ferris State (1526) at Lake Superior (1428)

FSU sweeps35.44%
LSSU Sweeps10.99%
FSU 5 points (W, OTW)7.54%
FSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)5.48%
LSSU 5 points (W, OTW)3.58%
LSSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.01%

Laker fans won’t like this one, but the team has faded down the stretch.  Both Alabama-Huntsville and Northern Michigan are right behind them in the standings, and being swept by the Bulldogs could well put them out of the playoffs.

2016-17 WCHA Week 21, Series 68 Projection: Alabama-Huntsville (1413) at Bowling Green (1479)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 68: Alabama-Huntsville (1413) at Bowling Green (1479)

BGSU Sweeps30.47%
UAH sweeps14.54%
BGSU 5 points (W, OTW)6.57%
UAH 5 points (W, OTW)4.64%
BGSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)4.13%
UAH 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)3.39%

This series projection is probably a lot closer than people would expect, but BELOW likes UAH’s win over BSU a lot and brings them in, and it looks at the Falcons going 6-0-0-10 in their last 16 WCHA games and gives them a big ol’ ¯(°_o)/¯.

2016-17 WCHA Week 21, Series 67 Projection: Minnesota State (1644) at Bemidji State (1662)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 67: Minnesota State (1644) at Bemidji State (1662)

BSU Sweeps23.99%
MSU sweeps23.99%
BSU 5 points (W, OTW)5.69%
MSU 5 points (W, OTW)5.46%
MSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)4.02%
BSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)3.53%

That’s as even as even gets, and series like these are why I put the randomization into the model — BELOW is an estimate, and if I can randomize that estimate in a range, I stand a better shot at getting a more realistic projection given lots of variability.  ABOVE can shift the model up to 80 points in each direction, which would put the Beavers up near their heights while the Mavericks would be down near their season average.

2016-17 WCHA Week 21, Series 66 Projection: Alaska (1413) at Alaska-Anchorage (1356)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 66: Alaska (1413) at Alaska-Anchorage (1356)

UAF sweeps28.73%
UAA Sweeps14.90%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)5.84%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)4.21%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)4.21%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.33%

Alaska-Anchorage needs a lot of points and a lot of help this weekend.  Seawolves fans have to look at that sweep projection and have some hope.  Both schools can still miss the playoffs, but Alaska has a far better shot at getting in.

Plans for the weekend

I’ll be able to get series predictions done.  I plan on coming back on Saturday to knock out a final prediction.  At that point, we’ll have a pretty good handle.  Unlike previous seasons, like last year’s 81 scenarios, it’s even more this year — what was 3^N is now 4^N.  Yes, things could break UAA’s way and we’d have five relevant series on Saturday night, giving us 1,024 possible scenarios.  Alternatively, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Bowling Green, and Alaska could win on Friday, leaving home ice decided, putting UAA out, and leaving NMU and UAH on the ropes.

Lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.  The Dude is adhering to a strict, crappy work regimen — I could probably watch the Governor’s Cup games from work.

  1. Series predictions done by 3pm on Friday.
  2. Tiebreakers cleared up via Twitter on Friday night (if I’m not sleeping).
  3. Final predictions done by 5pm on Saturday.

MATH!  I predict a 100% chance of self-frustration and a 100% chance that I’ll have fun.

2016-17 WCHA Week 20 BELOW Ratings

2016-17 Week 20 BELOW

TeamBELOWExpWin%Pts (Max)Max PtsEst Pts
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 20 of WCHA conference play (130 of 140 games played).

It all comes down to this: ten teams, ten games, eight spots in the playoffs.  That last column gets you an idea of estimated points based on the expected winning percentage of each of the five matchups.  They are:

  1. Alaska (58%) at Alaska-Anchorage for the Governor’s Cup and the Seawolves’ playoff lives.  The Nanooks could finish in the middle of the pack or miss out on the playoffs altogether, finishing in 9th with their in-state rivals in 10th.
  2. Minnesota State (47%) at Bemidji State.  The Mavericks have been very good down the stretch, and with Bemidji fading a bit, they could take a shot at the 2nd seed if Atte Tolvanen returns to form in net for Northern Michigan.
  3. Alabama-Huntsville (41%) at Bowling Green.  The Chargers really need a split or better to make the postseason (along with some help!), and with BG playing very inconsistently, it’s not altogether unreasonable.
  4. Ferris State (64%) at Lake Superior.  Honk if you had this as a lopsided series when we were midseason.
  5. Michigan Tech (74%) home-and-home with Northern Michigan.  Is Tolvanen the guy with five consecutive shutouts or the guy that Mankato shelled last weekend?  If the former, the Wildcats could make the playoffs; if the latter, they’re the Falcons’ biggest fans this weekend.

All five series involve A tiebreakers, but none can break a tie.  FSU-LSSU are five points apart, so they cannot tie.  Going back to our A tiebreaker list, here’s what could potentially matter.

  1. Huntsville – Fairbanks goes to the Nanooks, 2-1-0-1.
  2. Huntsville – Ferris goes to the Chargers, 3-0-0-1.
  3. Huntsville – Lake State goes to the Lakers, 4-0-0-0.
  4. Fairbanks – BG is a push to B, 2-0-0-2.  The Falcons will win any comparisons as they will win at B.
  5. Fairbanks – Lake State goes to the Nanooks, 2-0-1-1.
  6. BG – Ferris is a push to B, 2-0-0-2.  It would be difficult for the Bulldogs to catch BG, who has a one-standard-win advantage on FSU — something like a standard split in the Sault while the Bulldogs win and lose in 3×3 or the shootout.
  7. Lake State – Northern goes to the Wildcats, 2-1-0-1.
  8. Michigan Tech – Minnesota State goes to the Mavericks, 2-1-0-1.

B tiebreakers are a little harder to pick up, but it’s important to note that Lake State has one fewer standard win than the teams around them.  I will re-evaluate B tiebreakers on Saturday along with what I’m hoping will be a five-game prediction for how the last five games of the season will go.

2017-02-18 Weekend Update

What is certain

  1. Bemidji State has won the MacNaughton Cup and will host any postseason series that they play this season.
  2. Michigan Tech and Minnesota State have home ice and are playing for the second seed, with the Mavericks down six points with one game in hand.
  3. Bowling Green has made the playoffs but has to wait to see how the weekend shapes up before knowing how hard defending home ice will be.  Ferris State could catch them tonight with a win over Alaska-Anchorage.

What is uncertain

Most everything else is, but let’s start bottom-to-top:

  1. If Anchorage loses tonight to Ferris, they have a very hard road to the playoffs.  They’d still be stuck at 26 points and no less than four points behind any other team.  If the Bulldogs, Lakers, and Wildcats all won tonight, the Seawolves would have nothing to play for next season outside of the Governor’s Cup and trying to hurt their rival’s seeding.
  2. Alabama-Huntsville is also in a world of hurt: while the the four teams within reach of them — Ferris, Alaska, Lake Superior, and Northern Michigan — aren’t yet out of reach, there are interactions down the stretch: the Nanooks and Lakers tonight; the Lakers and Bulldogs next weekend.  If you are a Charger fan, you are a Maverick and Seawolf fan tonight.
  3. Ferris can pull even with BG with a win tonight, but guess what?  — Fairbanks, Lake State, and Northern can also all get to home ice.  The break line in most scenarios is 42 points.

Expectations for tonight:

As we’ve discussed previously, going to overtime mainly says that the game is a toss-up, and that’s happened about 21% of the time, and it’ll go into 3-on-3 or a shootout about 14% of the time.  Otherwise, here are expected values for tonight’s games:

  1. Ferris State (69%) over Alaska-Anchorage (31%).  The Bulldogs will get a 3-point win 55% of the time to 17% for the Seawolves.
  2. Minnesota State (66%) over Northern Michigan (34%).
  3. Alaska (53%) over Lake Superior (47%).