2017-18 WCHA Week 16 BELOW (and Analysis)

2017-18 Week 16 BELOW

TeamBELOWExpWin%PtsMax
8-MSU167474%5169
9-NMU162768%5264
4-BGSU162267%4961
7-MTU153855%3749
3-BSU153054%3957
2-UAF147947%2947
0-UAH147046%3042
6-LSSU141438%2133
5-FSU141238%2840
1-UAA129724%1230
Above are the 2017-18 BELOW rankings after Week 14 of WCHA conference play (116 of 140 games played).

What we know:

  • Northern Michigan, Minnesota State, Bowling Green, Bemidji State, and Michigan Tech have all made the playoffs, as they have all gotten more than 33 league points, which is more than what Lake Superior and Alaska-Anchorage can get.
  • Northern, Mankato, and BG both have clinched home ice in the first round in the playoffs.  At 49 points, the Falcons own the A tiebreaker with Tech and have passed Alaska, Alabama-Huntsville, Ferris State, Lake State, and Anchorage.
  • UAA is on the precipice of missing the playoffs.  While they do play each of the last three weeks of the season, they can only catch or pass UAF, FSU, and LSSU.  The Seawolves need to sweep the Nanooks to tie at A, and they need a split or better with the Lakers this weekend in Anchorage.
  • LSSU is similarly in tough shape, with only this weekend’s series and their final week tilt with FSU left on their docket.  While it’s nice to play two of the teams four teams that they can pass, both Alaska schools have two games in hand on the Lakers.
  • Bemidji and MTU are the teams most likely to pick up the final home ice slot, as only UAH, the Nanooks, and the Bulldogs can pass them.  The Beavers and Huskies play this weekend, and the Nanooks visit BSU next weekend.

Likely relevant tiebreakers:

NMU – MSU – BGSU:

  1. BGSU and MSU have played four times (2-2-0), as have MSU and NMU (2-2-0), but BGSU and NMU have only played twice (both NMU wins).
  2. Mankato will win in most scenarios here, as they have the most conference wins in the first 65:00 (17) and have two games in hand on the other two teams.  Northern has two more 3-point wins (14) than BG (12).

BSU-MTU-UAF-UAH:

  1. The only time that the Beavers and Huskies play is this weekend.  BSU and UAF are 1-1-0 so far and play their second series next weekend.  BSU won the four-game season series with UAH (3-1-0).
  2. Tech and UAH split their two-game season series.  MTU swept UAF in all four games.
  3. UAF and UAH split a two-game series.
  4. BSU has nine (9) three-point wins, while the other teams all have eight (8).  This is unlikely to matter as UAH and UAF will need more three-point wins to catch up to the Beavers and Huskies.

UAF-UAH-FSU:

  1. As noted, Fairbanks and Huntsville split their two-game series.
  2. UAF and FSU split their four-game series.
  3. UAH and FSU split their two-game series.

The 3-2-1-0 system has largely killed tiebreakers, but it’s worth considering them.

This week

  • Bemidji at Tech (51%) is a classic toss-up.
  • Fairbanks at Northern (70%) has implications up and down the standings table and is frankly the most interesting series of the weekend.
  • Lake State at Anchorage (34%) is a battle for playoff lives.  A Lakers win tonight ends the Seawolves’ hopes.
  • Mankato at Huntsville (24%) is also a battle affecting the entire standings table, but the Mavs’ games in hand would make a loss to the Chargers, who stole won from NMU last weekend, sting just a little bit less.

Lastly, my hopes to have a good prediction script based on BELOW went sideways this season.  I spent a lot of time working on a fun science payload on the International Space Station, but that ate up all of my work time and had me at working at very odd hours (just ask my wife and dog).  Between that, international business travel, and illness, I haven’t even made any of UAH’s 10 home games to date.  It’s been a year since I’ve seen my alma mater play.  It’s just so weird for me.  I have the core of the script together, but chaining it all the way through the season eluded me as I struggled to get my data structures usable.

I will give you predictions for that last week.  I will try to do them based on next week’s six games.