The master spreadsheet is nearly finished. I didn’t get everything that I wanted to complete done for the day (especially teasing all the three-way tiebreakers), but I did learn some things and will do better next year. I will be able to do a full breakdown of all 243 possibilities for tomorrow night’s games.
As I noted early this morning, there are four cohorts:
- Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, and Bowling Green vying for the 1-3 spots.
- Northern Michigan and Ferris State vying for the 4-5 spot — the rights to host the other next weekend.
- Bemidji State and Lake Superior for 6-7.
- Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska for the final playoff spot.
The last three are easy to figure out, so let’s start there.
UAA at UAF
Simply put, Fairbanks has to win and tie to push to a tiebreaker at 19 points (they win at A) or win outright at 20. By a pure counts basis — all things being equal — a win-and-tie happens two times in six combinations. A predictions table like what’s featured in my spreadsheet shows that the Nanooks get their favored result about 36.19% of the time, or a little better than the 33.33% chance by pure counts. Why? BELOW says that the Nanooks are better than the Seawolves despite the green and gold having the two-point advantage in the standings table.
BSU and LSSU
These two teams do not play this weekend: the Beavers host the Mavericks, while the Lakers host the Bulldogs. As both opponents have something to play for this weekend, these games will certainly be contested. LSSU wins the A tiebreaker with a 2-1-1 season series record, so BSU gets to 6th anytime they have more points than LSSU. By counts, this happens 77.5% of the time; by odds, 75.10%. This is largely due to the fact that Mankato is a stronger team than Ferris both absolutely and in relative BELOW margin.
NMU and FSU
This one is the most surprising result to me. The Wildcats and Bulldogs split their season series 2-2-0, so they depend either on the B, D, or E tiebreakers. As I noted this morning, a split between NMU and Tech and Ferris winning and tying gets the teams noted at 13-10-5. By counts, this happens 9.88% of the time; by odds, 8.81%. There’s no way for NMU to win at B for any tie other the one at 31 points. So overall, by odds, it’s 50.59% NMU, 40.60% FSU, and 8.81% a push to goal margin.
First we must consider the three-way ties that can occur. We can have three-way ties at 39, 38, and 37 points. To review, the A tiebreaker is not in play.
39: MSU splits (W-L or T-T doesn’t matter), MTU sweeps, BGSU sweeps. The B tiebreaker settles this for us: 1-MTU (18), 2-BGSU (17), 3-MSU (16 or 15).
38: MSU ties once, MTU wins and ties, BGSU wins and ties. The B tiebreaker settles this for us: 1-MTU (17), 2-BGSU (16), 3-MSU (15). Because ties are involved, this doesn’t happen very often.
37-a: MSU is swept, MTU wins and loses, BGSU wins and loses. The B tiebreaker settles this for us: 1-MTU (17), 2-BGSU (16), 3-MSU (15).
37-b: MSU is swept, MTU wins and loses, BGSU ties twice. The B tiebreaker pulls MTU into first, and we reset into the two-way tiebreaker setup for MSU and BGSU. The teams went 1-1-2 this season, and they’d have identical records, so they push to D, where BGSU wins (1-2-1 v. Tech against MSU’s 0-1-1). 1-MTU, 2-BGSU, 3-MSU.
37-c: MSU is swept, MTU ties twice, BGSU wins and loses. The B tiebreaker drops MSU out (15 v. 16-16). MTU wins at A. 1-MTU, 2-BGSU, 3-MSU.
37-d: MSU is swept, MTU ties twice, BGSU ties twice. The B tiebreaker pulls MTU out, and we’re again left with a two-way tiebreaker that BGSU wins. 1-MTU, 2-BGSU, 3-MSU.
In all, these three-way ties happen 729 times in 59,049 scenarios (1.23456789%, I kid you not). The odds of
If MSU gets 40 or 41 points, they break free of the pack.
Two-way Tiebreakers (A, C, or D):
The teams split their season series; as noted, the Falcons win at D.
MTU wins at A by virtue of going 2-1-1 in the season series.
MTU wins at C by virtue of going 1-0-1 in the season series.
As you can see, MTU wins all of the three-way ties and both of the two-way tiebreakers. MSU, despite being ahead in points by virtue of 7 ties, is also at a disadvantage for that same reason in most any tie situation.
Now here’s where I ended up running out of time, because teasing out logical arguments in Excel isn’t always very fun. Here’s what I can tell you:
Mankato can win outright by picking up three or four points this weekend. That happens 42.94% of the time against 33.33% of the counts. When this happens, MTU is second 53.77% of the time. I imagine that this spread stays the same as long as MSU is ahead of the other two schools; MTU will win most other comparisons.
Back late tonight or early in the morning for more.