I introduced BELOW yesterday. If you haven’t read that post, you’re gonna be confused.
We know that the WCHA is jam packed in the middle this year: in 70 games, there’ve been 14 ties (20%), seven of which were 1-1 results (10%) and one 0-0 result. Furthermore, six wins have come in OT.
As a result of all of this, the BELOW ratings through the first half of the WCHA season — 70 games over nine weeks of play — are packed pretty tightly.
2015-16 BELOW Rankings, Week 11
BELOW uses an Elo-style ranking system to iteratively rate WCHA teams in league play. It is both reflective and predictive.
That’s ugly: one great team in Minnesota State, two very good teams in Michigan Tech and Bowling Green, six stacked-together teams in Northern Michigan, Bemidji State, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska, Lake Superior, and Ferris State, and … the depressing season that is Alabama-Huntsville.
[We pause for weeping from Michael Napier and me.]
The biggest movers are Anchorage (+59, or 8.4% increase in winning percentage) and Lake State (+37, 5.3%), who are bounding out of the cellar and currently sitting tied for 6th in the WCHA men’s standings. Also strongly improving their lot this year are BG (+34, 4.9%) and Mankato (+20, 2.9%), who are looking to push hard and fight for the Broadmoor and McNaughton trophies.
Regressing strongly are Fairbanks (-60, -8.5% — miss U Parayko), Huntsville (-43, -6.2% I have no idea what’s wrong, other than everything seems to be wrong), and Ferris (-42, -6.0%; miss U Motte). Bemidji (-36, -5.2%) and Tech (-33, -4.7%) have fallen off as well, with the Beavers threatening to miss the playoffs and Tech looking to hold on to home ice in the MacInnes.
Northern hasn’t made any real change this season other than scaring Southern Baptist and Pentecostal preachers with their 6-6-6 mark.
I haven’t put together predictions just yet, but I think that it’s worth looking at the schedule that each of the team teams has left. If a matchup is in bold, that team is the favorite.
UAH: v Fairbanks, @ Ferris, @ Anchorage, v Mankato, @ Northern, @ Bemidji, v BG.
UAA: v Bemidji, @ Lake, @ BG, v Huntsville, @ Northern, v Lake, Mankato, @ Alaska.
UAF: v Bemidji, @ Huntsville, @ Northern, v Ferris, v BG, @ Tech, v Anchorage.
BSU: @ Fairbanks, @ Anchorage, v Ferris, @ Lake, v Tech, v Huntsville, @ Mankato
BGSU: @ Lake, v Anchorage, v Tech, @ Fairbanks, @ Mankato, v Ferris, @ Huntsville
FSU: v Huntsville, @ Bemidji, @ Fairbanks, v Northern, @ BG, @ Lake (essentially a wash)
LSSU: v BG, v Anchorage, @ Mankato, @ Tech, v Bemidji, @ Anchorage, v Northern, @ Ferris (essentially a wash)
MSU: v Northern, @ Tech, v Lake, v BG, @ Huntsville, @ Anchorage, v Bemidji
MTU: v Mankato, @ BG, v Lake, @ Bemidji, v Fairbanks, H/H with Northern
NMU: @ Mankato, v Fairbanks, v Anchorage, @ Ferris, v Huntsville, @ Lake, H/H with Tech
I’ll have some thoughts on predictions as we round towards January. Week 14 is light — just the first half of Bemidji’s trip to the 49th, starting with a trip to Fairbanks — but we’ll keep an eye on things going forward.