Category Archives: Minnesota State

2017-18 WCHA Finish: Minnesota State, Northern Michigan, and Bowling Green

Minnesota State, with 63 points, will almost assuredly finish in 1st place and win the MacNaughton Cup.  They have a five-point lead on Northern Michigan, and there are only two situations that the teams tie:

  1. 64 points: Northern gets two standard wins and Minnesota State loses twice, once standard and one over-overtime.  Mankato and Northern tie at A, and Mankato wins at B, 21-20.
  2. 63 points: Northern gets two wins, one standard and one over-overtime, and Minnesota State suffers two standard losses.  Mankato and Northern tie at A, and Mankato wins at B, 21-19.

In short: if Bemidji State sweeps Minnesota State and Northern Michigan sweep Michigan Tech, the Wildcats win the MacNaughton.  In every other instance, Minnesota State is the #1 seed.

Northern is not guaranteed 2nd place, as Bowling Green is just three points back.  The teams tie in the following scenarios:

  1. 61 points: Bowling Green gets two standard wins, and Northern Michigan gets one.   The teams tie at A; Northern Michigan wins at B, 19-18.
  2. 61 points: BG gets two standard wins, and Northern Michigan wins once in over-overtime and loses once in over-over time.  The teams tie at B, 18-18, and BGSU wins at C, five standard losses to six.
  3. 60 points: BG gets one standard win and one over-overtime win; NMU gets one over-overtime win and a regulation loss.  NMU wins at B, 18-17.
  4. 60 points: BG gets one standard win and one over-overtime win; NMU gets two over-overtime losses.  NMU wins at B, 18-17.
  5. 59 points: BG gets one standard win and one over-overtime loss; Northern gets one over-overtime loss and one standard loss.  NMU wins at B, 18-17.
  6. 59 points: BG gets two standard over-overtime losses; Northern gets one over-overtime loss and one standard loss.  NMU wins at B, 18-16.
  7. 58 points: BG gets one standard win and one standard loss; Northern is swept.  Northern Michigan wins at B, 18-17.
  8. 58 points: BG gets two over-overtime losses; Northern is swept.  Northern Michigan wins at B, 18-16.

In short: Bowling Green can finish in 2nd if they pass Northern Michigan or if they sweep Alabama-Huntsville and Northern Michigan gets three points in two over-overtime games.  Otherwise, Northern Michigan finishes 2nd.

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).

Semifinal and Final Projections, 2017-03-12

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.

Updated Projections, 2017-03-11

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.


2017 WCHA Semifinal and Final Predictions

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%

Finals Matchups:

  • Bemidji-Tech: 33.145%.
  • Bemidji-Mankato: 33.705%.
  • Tech-BG Final: 16.460%.
  • Mankato-BG Final: 16.681%.

Broadmoor Champions

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 WCHA Week 21, Series 67 Projection: Minnesota State (1644) at Bemidji State (1662)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 67: Minnesota State (1644) at Bemidji State (1662)

BSU Sweeps23.99%
MSU sweeps23.99%
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 WCHA Week 18, Series 55 Prediction: Minnesota State (1623) at Alaska-Anchorage (1350)

2016-17 Week 18, Series 55: Minnesota State (1623) at Alaska-Anchorage (1350)

MSU sweeps56.94%
MSU 5 points (W, OTW)11.78%
MSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)8.81%
UAA Sweeps1.22%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)1.01%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)0.73%

I’ve begun randomizing the BELOW inputs as previously discussed.  In this case, Minnesota State could be estimated to be as high as BELOW 1663 or as low as BELOW 1583, while Alaska-Anchorage could be as high as 1390 or as low as 1310.

Note that the system gives a healthy respect to UAA picking off a game from the Mavericks.  From my output (this is new):

Minnesota State won on 1st night by:

shootout  4.16%, 3v3:  3.71%, 5v5:  4.14%, 1 goal: 13.91%, 2 goals: 11.08%, and 3+ goals: 45.62%.

Minnesota State won on 2nd night by:

shootout  4.17%, 3v3:  3.69%, 5v5:  4.15%, 1 goal: 13.87%, 2 goals: 11.13%, and 3+ goals: 46.04%.

Alaska-Anchorage won on 1st night by:

shootout  4.18%, 3v3:  3.71%, 5v5:  4.15%, 1 goal:  5.34%, 2 goals:  0.00%, and 3+ goals:  0.00%.

Alaska-Anchorage won on 2nd night by:

shootout  4.15%, 3v3:  3.71%, 5v5:  4.12%, 1 goal:  4.93%, 2 goals:  0.03%, and 3+ goals:  0.00%.

The average WCHA game is decided by:

shootout  8.33%, 3v3:  7.41%, 5v5:  8.33%, 1 goal: 27.78%, 2 goals: 22.22%, and 3+ goals: 25.93%.

In comparison, this series was decided by::

shootout  8.33%, 3v3:  7.41%, 5v5:  8.28%, 1 goal: 19.03%, 2 goals: 11.12%, and 3+ goals: 45.83%.

You can see that UAA is never expected to win by more than one goal, which makes sense given the disparity between the teams.  Does this account for results like UAA dropping a 3-goal-margin bomb on Bemidji at the end of 2016?  Not really.

2017 WCHA Playoffs Update, 2017-01-28

2016-17 Week 17 BELOW (In Progress)

TeamBELOWExpWin%Pts/GP %Pts (Max)
7-MTU173880%73%46 (67)
3-BSU164269%79%52 (70)
8-MSU1617n66%59%37 (58)
4-BGSU157160%55%38 (53)
2-UAF147747%45%27 (51)
5-FSU147446%41%26 (47)
6-LSSU146645%44%28 (49)
9-NMU142640%32%19 (43)
0-UAH135931%37%23 (44)
1-UAA135030%32%19 (43)
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 12 of WCHA conference play (105 of 140 games played).

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The same is true of Minnesota State and Lake Superior — if the Mavs pick up any points, they win any (improbable) tiebreakers.
  5. 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 WCHA Week 17, Series 54 Prediction: Lake Superior (1483) at Minnesota State (1600)

2016-17 Week 17, Series 54: Lake Superior (1483) at Minnesota State (1600)

MSU sweeps36.50%
LSSU Sweeps8.72%
LSSU 5 points (W, OTW)6.26%
MSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)6.04%
MSU 5 points (W, OTW)3.82%
LSSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.90%

The teams split in the Soo earlier this season at a time when BELOW was very impressed with Lake Superior — a BELOW rating of 1561 after a blow out win on Friday night was their season peak.  Since then, it’s been a tough slog for the Lakers, who who’ve picked up half of their standard wins against Alabama-Huntsville.

Minnesota State has largely been able to keep its scoring up this season, and it’s lights-out at home, just like always. Gordon Defiel’s squad will be without captain Gus Correale and third-leading scorer Diego Cuglietta, who participated in an extended fracas after the end of Saturday’s game against the Chargers.  This has the hallmarks of a home sweep for the Mavericks.

2016-17 Week 16, Series 51 Prediction: Minnesota State (1616) at Michigan Tech (1717)

2016-17 Week 16, Series 50: Minnesota State (1616) at Michigan Tech (1717)

MTU sweeps30.23%
MTU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)12.97%
MTU 5 points (W, OTW)12.23%
MSU Sweeps7.66%
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.