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).
- Michigan Tech: 62% of the time
- Bowling Green: 38% of the time
- Michigan Tech: 65% of the time
- Bowling Green: 35% of the time
I’ve been doing ABOVE projections with a randomizing element since late January. The reason for this is pretty basic: if you want to test that an estimate is right, you can use a group of estimates clustered around a single estimate and see if any of them are right or wrong. I’ve been using a randomization band of +/- 40, so in a case where I ran 81,000 cases (I run 100,000 to 1,000,000 based on how many games I’m estimating), I’d expect to see around 1,000 uses of each BELOW input.
That first estimate is the randomized BELOW estimate churned through the ABOVE calculation 1,000,000 times. Coming into the final, Michigan Tech is at BELOW 1701 and Bowling Green is at 1617, its highest mark in 2016-17. As a result, we could have a matchup of MTU 1741, BGSU 1577; in that matchup, Michigan Tech would be picked to win 72% of the time. We could also see MTU 1661, BGSU 1657, and that’s a dead heat.
When I noticed that BGSU was at its best mark of the year, I decided to additionally randomize between the best and worst marks for each team. MTU has been as high as 1739 and as low as 1586; BGSU is at 1617 now and was as low as 1479. This gives us a band of 54% BGSU favored to 82% MTU. Throw that in the wash and you get that second pair of numbers.
Which is better? It’s a single game. BG fans will probably rib me if their team wins on Saturday. MTU fans will probably accuse me of jinxing them. I’ll probably be frustrated either way, but it’s a certainty that I’ll be back next year.
Ed.: Post updated to fix the date of the final game.
Congratulations to Bowling Green for downing top seed Bemidji State, a team that hadn’t lost two league games in a row all season and lost both games in a series just twice (to #1 North Dakota and a streak-starting Princeton team).
Minnesota State pulled off a 1-0 win over Michigan Tech to push the 2-3 semifinal to a third game. Here are your projections:
- Michigan Tech is expected to win on Sunday 58.131% of the time. If they win, they are favored to beat Bowling Green in Houghton next weekend 67.802% of the time.
- In the 41.869% of trials where Minnesota State wins on Sunday, they beat BG in a game they host 60.981% of the time.
- Despite the fact that they are a strong underdog in both finals matchups, Bowling Green is projected to be the Broadmoor Trophy winner 35.054% of the time, second to Michigan Tech at 39.414% and ahead of Minnesota State at 25.532%.
If Michigan Tech wins on Sunday and Bowling Green wins next week, we will have the same combination of playoff seed wins as last year: 1-2-3-4 in the quarters, then 2-4 in the semis with a 4 in the finals. It would be truly interesting for the Falcons to win given their start.
Enjoy the games! We have just two left, and that is sad.
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 70: Michigan Tech (1666) at/home Northern Michigan (1488)
|MTU 5 points (W, OTW)||7.71%
|MTU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||5.05%
|NMU 5 points (W, OTW)||3.39%
|NMU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||2.52%
This is our lop-sided matchup of the week, and it’s a shame, really. The Wildcats’ resurgence has been remarkable, but facing the league’s best team, even on rivalry weekend, is a tough task. They have to like their chances of keeping ahead of the pack with a split or better — about 41% — but the long losing streak they had has made the playoffs a dicey proposition.
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 17, Series 52: Michigan Tech (1733) at Alabama-Huntsville (1364)
|MTU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||11.57%
|MTU 5 points (W, OTW)||5.63%
|UAH 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||0.76%
|UAH 5 points (W, OTW)||0.08%
Only one 2016-17 WCHA series has had a wider starting BELOW differential than Tech-Huntsville (369): Bemidji State at Alaska-Anchorage (387). As you’ll remember, the Seawolves won that first game by two goals. In fact, UAA has been involved in all five of the 300+ point differential games this season, and they won three of them, two against MTU.
That said, UAH has been dreadful at home this season (1-0-1-8 in league play), and they’ve lost six straight games. As an alumnus, I can tell you that the natives are getting restless. The Chargers desperately need a win this weekend just to keep out of the WCHA cellar, and as you can see, ABOVE expects the worst.
If you’re curious, ABOVE expects two blowouts 13.99% of the time, all% by Tech. The Huskies can only pick up 12 BELOW points this week because of the wide differential. The teams would swap 60 points if the nearly-impossible happens and the Chargers sweep.
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 50: Minnesota State (1616) at Michigan Tech (1717)
|MTU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||12.97%
|MTU 5 points (W, OTW)||12.23%
|MSU 5 points (W, OTW)||5.92%
|MSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)||4.96%
BELOW accounts for momentum in the sense that a great run (see Bemidji State’s climb to the top) gets you a high rating but a drop-off does the same (see Bemidji State’s drop of the past few weeks, or Michigan Tech’s similar drooping).
At the turn of the year, the gap in BELOW between the two was 1732-1589. It’s quite narrower now. This prediction feels somewhat Tech heavy, but not too much. It would be easy to overreact to Tech’s struggles with Alaska-Anchorage and overvalue the Mavericks’ efforts against Alabama-Huntsville and Bowling Green, but I’m not sure that this is all that out of line.