Category Archives: Alaska

2017-18 BELOW, Week 10

Hi, everyone.  While I was off slinging 632 GB down from space (harder than you’d think), the WCHA has played half of its season!  Jimmy.  I’m hoping to catch up here now that 2018 is upon us.  We’ll see.

2017-18 Week 10 BELOW

TeamBELOWExpWin%Week 0 BELOW+/-
Above are the 2017-18 BELOW rankings after Week 10 of WCHA conference play (70 of 140 games played).

As you’d expect, BELOW at the halfway mark pretty well mirrors the league standings.  BELOW still likes Bemidji State, probably because the Beavers have played just 12 games (as have Alaska-Anchorage) while Michigan Tech has played 18 (most in the league; all others have played 14).

Speaking of Tech, they’re the stunning team of the season, free-falling from 1st in BELOW at the start of the season to eighth now due to the second-best league offense (Minnesota State is tops in GF) going unsupported by the second-worst defense (Lake Superior is last in GA).  Where’s the beef, indeed.

Supplanting the Huskies in the standard top-three is Northern Michigan, which has excelled under first-year coach Grant Potulny.  The Wildcats have truly been an excellent team this season.

If you’re new, here’s a decent guide to BELOW.  Note that teams were reverted towards the mean at the start of the season because of the nature of college hockey player turnover.

I’ll be back later this week (hopefully).

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.

2016-17 WCHA Week 18, Series 56 Prediction: Alabama-Huntsville (1358) at Alaska (1477)

2016-17 Week 18, Series 56: Alabama-Huntsville (1358) at Alaska (1477)

UAF sweeps46.63%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)9.21%
UAH Sweeps8.05%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)6.90%
UAH 5 points (W, OTW)3.60%
UAH 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)1.94%

Huntsville’s playoff chances are sinking fast.  UAH hasn’t won a game in regulation since December, and their three wins since Thanksgiving are against Ferris State and Northern Michigan (2x).  The Chargers are all aboard the struggle bus.

Fairbanks is in better shape, as they have eight games remaining, a mark matched only by Alaska-Anchorage and Northern Michigan, the two bottom teams in the league.  UAH can pass the Nanooks with a good weekend, but I’m having a hard time seeing that be reality.

2016-17 WCHA Week 16, Series 48 Prediction: Alaska (1464) at Bowling Green (1572)

2016-17 Week 16, Series 48: Alaska (1464) at Bowling Green (1572)

BGSU Sweeps31.08%
BGSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)13.12%
BGSU 5 points (W, OTW)12.48%
UAF sweeps7.13%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)5.77%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)4.72%

My gut says that this is too high in favor of BG, especially since the Nanook at 3-3-0-2 on the road in WCHA play this season.  All I do is present what the numbers give me — monkeying with the model because of one result is for chumps.  I expect a split.

2016-17 WCHA Week 15, Series 43 Prediction: Alaska at Ferris State

2016-17 Week 15, Series 43: Alaska (1447) at Ferris State (1498)

FSU sweeps29.14%
UAF Sweeps16.15%
FSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)6.74%
FSU 5 points (W, OTW)6.63%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)4.88%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)4.35%

There are two big league series this weekend, and this is the one that you may not think about.  Ferris State has 22 points to Alaska’s 19, and a strong weekend from the Bulldogs pushes them up against Bowling Green and Minnesota State, who promise to beat each other up this weekend, and moves them past Alabama-Huntsville, who seems to be in a free-fall at this point (although BELOW has never believed in them).

I expect Ferris to sweep.  Travel is always hard for the Alaska schools, and the Nanooks are also coming off of the break and may be rusty (if rested).

Has Bemidji Clinched a Spot in the 2017 WCHA Playoffs? Yes.

Has Bemidji State clinched a spot in the 2016-17 WCHA Playoffs?  Yes.

Bemidji State152034920
Lake Superior61091916

Northern Michigan has 10 points after 16 games; their maximum is to win 12 more games, which can garner them just 48 points.  BSU is one clear of the Wildcats, and as such, they can do no worse than 9th.

Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska, and Lake Superior each have a say in whether the Beavers have already dammed the pond.  The standings table above shows the situation: all three teams play each other down the stretch.  Here’s what we know:

  1. In a theoretical world, all three teams can get to 50 points, as each team can garner another 36 points for the rest of the season, giving them either 55 (UAF, LSSU) or 52 (UAA) points.
  2. Because these teams do play each other — UAA and UAF in the season’s final week for the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup; UAA at Lake Superior the second weekend in February (their only meeting); and the Lakers host the Nanooks the following weekend — all three teams cannot go unscathed.
  3. BSU has the A tiebreaker over UAA.  UAF and UAA are 1-1-0, and UAF and LSSU are also 1-1-0.  You can’t get to a three-way A tiebreaker.
  4. The B tiebreaker is 65-minute wins.

To prove that Bemidji hasn’t clinched a playoff spot, we only have to provide one scenario where all of UAF/UAA/LSSU pass the Beavers.  Let’s go.

The team that’s weakest here is Alaska-Anchorage, as they 1) lose at A to Bemidji, 2) have the least conference 65-minute wins of the group, and 3) are the only team to play both of the other two down the stretch.

  1. IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out, they get to 52 points and are ahead of Bemidji.  However, the best that either Alaska or Lake Superior is 49 points, which puts them in a tiebreaker with Bemidji.  But because they play each other, they can’t both get to 49.
  2. IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out save one of their games against UAF, they still lose to Bemidji at 49 in a two-team tie at A.  Alaska could max out at 52 (11-0-0-1), but that means that they defeat Lake Superior twice, seeing them to 10-0-0-2, where they are also at 49.  In a three-way tie, B is the first relevant tiebreaker, which Lake Superior wins 16-15-15.  With Lake Superior removed, Bemidji loses at A.
  3. IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out save one of their games against LSSU, they still lose to Bemidji at 49 in a two-way tie,  Alaska can only max out at 10-0-0-2 down the stretch, giving them 49 points.  That requires Lake Superior to max at 10-0-0-2 for a four way tie at 49 points that starts at B.  For B, Alaska and Lake Superior would tie at 16, while Bemidji and Alaska-Anchorage tie at 15 (and then that tie goes back to A).

You can’t concoct a scenario where all three teams get past 49, since they play each other.  If you start trying to get cute with OTW and OTL, you hurt the teams in the B tiebreaker.

Bemidji is in with 56 league games of 140 overall remaining.  I hate everything.

2016-17 WCHA Week 12 Series 37 Prediction: Bowling Green at Alaska

2016-17 Week 12, Series 37: Bowling Green (1564) at Alaska (1444)

BGSU Sweeps39.15%
UAF sweeps9.80%
BGSU 5 points (W, OTW)7.70%
BGSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)7.28%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)3.69%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)3.63%

Sorry to have gotten this out so late, especially given that it’s just the one series.

I don’t account for travel difficulties with BELOW, figuring that it just works its way into the system.  If Fairbanks is a hard place to play because it takes more than a day to travel there, well, UAF will be higher in BELOW because of it.  Modeling for traveling difficulties could be done, but you do have the problem of small sample sizes, weather, team growth/decline, etc.  For now, I feel pretty good about leaving it be.  It’s not like we’re Atlantic Hockey with one team as a huge outlier.

Despite the travel, BG is a clear-cut favorite here, although not an overwhelming one.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a split here, but ABOVE says that UAF comes out ahead just about 17% of the time, and that seems right to me.

Geof’s subjective prediction: Falcons sweep.

2016-17 WCHA Series 30 Prediction: Alaska at Minnesota State

2016-17 Week 10, Series 30: Alaska (1464) at Minnesota State (1582)

MSU Sweeps38.98%
UAF sweeps9.86%
MSU 5 points (W, OTW)7.61%
MSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)7.11%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)3.71%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)3.70%

This is a battle of teams that need to make a statement.  Are the Mavericks still in the top tier in the league?  Is Alaska on the way out of the basement?  BELOW and ABOVE say the former.

Mankato can rout the Nanooks (10.85% probability) to move to 1619 and drop UAF to 1427.  The reverse is a 1.25% probability but would have Alaska jump to 1536 and past the Mavs at 1510.

Geof’s subjective prediction: Mavericks win in regulation, win in overtime.