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
Above are the 2017-18 BELOW rankings after Week 10 of WCHA conference play (70 of 140 games played).
|Team||BELOW||ExpWin%||Week 0 BELOW||+/-
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).
After a 5-1 Michigan Tech and a 4-3 overtime Bowling Green win, it’s time to update Friday’s projections.
Overall Broadmoor Trophy Projection:
- Bemidji State: 16.278%
- Michigan Tech: 48.734%
- Minnesota State: 11.848%
- Bowling Green: 23.140%
Bowling Green (1587) at Bemidji State (1640)
- Bowling Green sweep: 21.618%
- Bowling Green in 3: 42.469%
- Bemidji State in 3: 35.91%
Minnesota State (1642) at Michigan Tech (1700)
- Michigan Tech sweep: 58.282%
- Michigan Tech in 3: 21.428%
- Minnesota State in 3: 20.290%
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State final:
- Occurs 28.525% of the time
- Bemidji State wins 44.673% of those matchups.
- Michigan Tech wins 55.327% of those matchups.
Minnesota State at Bemidji State final:
- Occurs 7.332% of the time
- Bemidji State wins 48.213% of those matchups.
- Minnesota State wins 51.787% of those matchups.
Bowling Green at Michigan Tech final:
- Occurs 51.053% of the time
- Michigan Tech wins 64.545% of those matchups.
- Bowling Green wins 35.455% of those matchups.
Bowling Green at Minnesota State final:
- Occurs 13.091% of the time
- Minnesota State wins 61.508% of those matchups.
- Bowling Green wins 38.492% of those matchups.
First semifinal: Bowling Green (BELOW 1568) at Bemidji State (BELOW 1659)
- Bemidji wins 66.850% of the time: in 2: 41.926%; in 3: 24.924%
- BG wins 33.150% of the time: in 2: 16.591%; in 3: 16.559%
Second semifinal: Minnesota State (BELOW 1672) at Michigan Tech 1670
- Tech wins 49.614% of the time: in 2: 27.742%; in 3: 21.871%
- Mankato wins 50.386% of the time: in 2: 22.109%; in 3: 28.277%
- Bemidji-Tech: 33.145%.
- Bemidji-Mankato: 33.705%.
- Tech-BG Final: 16.460%.
- Mankato-BG Final: 16.681%.
- Bemidji State: 33.350%
- Michigan Tech: 24.850%
- Minnesota State: 25.242%
- Bowling Green: 16.558%
Once you get to the finals, all four are 50-50 matchups. Here’s why:
- Because Michigan Tech and Minnesota State are in a dead heat with Bemidji State close behind, the Tech-Mankato winner is going to be just a little bit better because that season is generally going to be close.
- If Bowling Green gets the upset, they’ll be pretty close to their finals opponent.
This is a lot like last year, where the top three teams were pretty clustered in terms of an estimate and Ferris broke through and were the better team that weekend. ABOVE, by randomizing BELOW estimates within a range, accounts for teams getting hot and going cold and, over time, averages that out. Now it makes more sense for a regular season projection, but it works here in the finals.
So what you see above is the projection of Bemidji State likely winning 2/3 of the time and the Tech-Mankato semifinal being a toss-up. I could run that 1,000,000,000 times and probably get something close to the same result as I did with 1,000,000.
Enjoy the games. The math means little when the puck drops.
2016-17 Week 21, Series 67: Minnesota State (1644) at Bemidji State (1662)
|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 Week 17 BELOW (In Progress)
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 12 of WCHA conference play (105 of 140 games played).
|Team||BELOW||ExpWin%||Pts/GP %||Pts (Max)
Friday night’s results:
- Michigan Tech (5-2, including an ENG) defeated Alabama-Huntsville. Tech moves to BELOW 1738, Huntsville drops to 1359.
- Bowling Green (3-2, OT) defeated Ferris State.
- Minnesota State (4-2) defeated Lake Superior.
This firms up the playoff picture a bit:
- Bemidji State has clinched home ice in the playoffs with the Lake Superior loss. If Ferris State takes any points from the Falcons tonight, the Beavers will have third clinched.
- Michigan Tech has clinched a playoff berth, as none of Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Anchorage nor Northern Michigan can pace the Huskies. The Huskies can finish no worse than 7th, and if the results tonight are like last night’s, the Huskies will finish no worse than fifth.
- Bowling Green leads Ferris State 2-0-0-1 in the A tiebreaker between the two teams. If the Falcons pick up any points tonight, they win at A in a tie with the Bulldogs.
- The same is true of Minnesota State and Lake Superior — if the Mavs pick up any points, they win any (improbable) tiebreakers.
- Michigan Tech has won the A tiebreaker over Alabama-Huntsville, though this scenario has no relevance.
Some folks have asked for Saturday predictions, but I ran into script-writing problems. Maybe for next week.
2016-17 Week 16 BELOW
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 12 of WCHA conference play (102 of 140 games played).
|Team||BELOW||ExpWin%||Pts/GP %||Pts (Max)
Home Ice Almost in Hand
With the weekend’s results, Bemidji State has 52 league points. Alaska (51), Ferris State (50), Alabama-Huntsville (47), Alaska-Anchorage (43), and Northern Michigan (43) cannot match the Beavers’ total, which means that they can finish no worse than fifth.
Lake Superior can max out at 52 points. If they’re tied, each team ends up with 16 regulation conference wins, but six Bemidji losses puts them with 10, and there they lose the C tiebreaker (LSSU his nine losses to date).
Bemidji is off this weekend, but all they need is for Minnesota State to pick up one point this weekend at home against Lake Superior. It would also work for Ferris State to beat Bowling Green once to limit their maximum.
An Update at A
If you’ll remember from late last month, the A tiebreaker is unchanged: play four times and get the better points percentage to win. I found 25 two-way A tiebreakers this year, and some of them have concluded. The winners so far are below:
- Alabama-Huntsville over Ferris State (3-0-0-1)
- Lake Superior over Alabama-Huntsville (4-0-0-0)
- Alaska and Bowling Green remain tied (2-0-0-2)
- Minnesota State over Alaska (2-0-1-1)
- Bemidji State over Alaska-Anchorage (3-0-0-1)
- Michigan Tech over Alaska-Anchorage (1-1-2-0)
- Northern Michigan over Alaska-Anchorage (3-0-0-1)
- Bemidji State over Bowling Green (3-0-0-1)
- Bemidji State over Northern Michigan (4-0-0-0)
- Lake Superior and Northern Michigan remain tied (1-1-1-1)
- Minnesota State over Michigan Tech (2-1-0-1)
All three series this weekend — Michigan Tech at Alabama-Huntsville, Bowling Green at Ferris State, and Lake Superior at Minnesota State — finish out A tiebreakers. Six more are decided in Weeks 18, 19, and 20, with the league’s rivalry weekend finishing off the final five. It’ll be two more weeks before we know the result of the high-profile three-way tiebreaker, BSU-MSU-MTU.
A Look Ahead
2016-17 Week 16 BELOW, Revisited
Let's look at what's left
That table is not ABOVE-generated. It’s pretty simple:
- RBELOW is the average of the opponents’ BELOW ratings for the rest of the season, as they stand today.
- ExpWin% here is the expected winning percentage based on that team’s BELOW and their opponents’.
- Est. Pts. is an extrapolation of the EW%, the number of games left, and the current total.
Bemidji has the lead, but Tech has the easier schedule.
Hopefully I’ll have time this week to knock out a to-completion script. Working one job while training for another is wearing me out.
2016-17 Week 16, Series 47: Ferris State (1468) at Bemidji State (1660)
|BSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||15.36%
|BSU 5 points (W, OTW)||14.62%
|FSU 5 points (W, OTW)||3.44%
|FSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||2.74%
You’ll see that there’s a lot higher percentage of going to overtime now that I’ve adjusted for last week’s 7-overtimes-in-8-games fun-fest. You’ll also see that Bemidji State is expected to get four or more points 72% of the time.
I pick a Beaver sweep.
2016-17 BELOW, Week 14
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 12 of WCHA conference play (84 of 140 games played).
I won’t waste your time with a lot of analysis (I have simulations to run!), but we saw a lot of reversion to the mean at the lower levels of the league. The biggest news from a BELOW and standings perspective is that Minnesota State shook off the memories of two ties in Huntsville last year to aggressively manhandle the Chargers this past weekend. They’re tied in the standings with Bowling Green with two games in hand.
At the top, let’s consider the following:
- Bemidji has clinched a playoff spot before MLK Day.
- They didn’t run away with it.
- Using the same logic as we did in the link above, Michigan Tech’s four games in hand lets them get just one point behind the Beavers, but with Tech’s BELOW rating, we’d expect them to win a random WCHA game just 77% of the time, which would argue that they’ll be a bit short. The Huskies has a trail to mush to get there, but they do face the Beavers again in February
Simulations/predictions to follow later today.
Has Bemidji State clinched a spot in the 2016-17 WCHA Playoffs? Yes.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Week 14, Series 39: Bemidji State (1680) at Bowling Green (1561)
|BSU 5 points (W, OTW)||4.03%
|BSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||3.68%
|BGSU 5 points (W, OTW)||2.00%
|BGSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||1.94%
Notes on ABOVE 1.4
From this week forward, there will be a few changes in the probabilities. I’ve been using last year’s data for determining how teams would progress into the second overtime, using a conservative 12.6% rate of entry. In reality, it’s been 6.3% this year, so the predictions now reflect that: games are getting decided in 65:00 about 94% of the time.
As such, the margins for the OTW/OTL have changed, which broadens the chances for regulation wins — for both teams! Splits will be predicted as more common, but the probabilities of sweeps will go higher as well.
I have considered putting an extra prediction check for shootouts, which have decided matters about as often as the 3v3 overtime but which receive a weaker weight in my system. I’m not sure of the value of this given that the changes in BELOW are pretty small (generally 1-3 points for any individual game) and would wash out in a Monte Carlo simulation like what ABOVE uses. It would be “fun” in the same way of “how often do all of these games play out exactly as predicted?” games go, which is to say a novelty with very little real value.
About the Series
Bemidji knows that they need these points, and they’re going to be after it. They traveled from Alaska directly to Ohio this week for this series, which is Thursday-Friday as a result. That could mean bus legs for the Beavers, but they’re off next week.
Worse for Bemidji, they play just eight more WCHA games after this weekend. A BG sweep, while unlikely, puts the Falcons 16 points back with two games in hand and having nullified the A tiebreaker with a series split.
Finish strong, Beavers, or you’ll regret it.
Geof’s Subjective Prediction: Beavers sweep.