Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Yale, Northeastern and Minnesota Duluth need

Remember that 11 teams are already in.

These teams can’t get in at-large, but can claim a spot by winning their conference tournament:

  • Minnesota
  • Robert Morris or RIT
  • Minnesota State or Ferris State

These teams are hoping for at-large bids:

  • Yale (idle)
  • Minnesota-Duluth
  • Northeastern

The Big Ten Championship is the biggest determinant of who gets in, because it’s the only one in which it’s not yet known whether its winner will take away an at-large spot. If Minnesota wins the Big Ten and takes away a spot, then Northeastern can only get in by winning, otherwise Yale and Minnesota-Duluth get the two spots. If Minnesota wins and Northeastern does take one of the spots, then Minnesota-Duluth needs to win to get the last spot, otherwise it goes to Yale.

Here’s how each team gets in

Yale

Michigan wins
or
Northeastern loses
or
Minnesota-Duluth loses

Minnesota-Duluth

Michigan wins
or
Minnesota Duluth wins
or
Northeastern loses

Northeastern

Michigan wins
or
Northeastern wins

Friday night update

These 11 teams are locks:
North Dakota
Quinnipiac
St Cloud St
Providence
Boston College
Denver
Michigan
Mass.-Lowell
Boston University
Harvard
Notre Dame

These teams are hoping for at-large bids:
Yale (idle)
Minnesota-Duluth
Northeastern

These teams can claim a spot by winning their conference tournament:
Minnesota
Robert Morris or RIT
Minnesota State or Ferris State

Each of Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern is also in if they win their conference tournament.

So, given that the Big Ten is the only remaining conference in which it’s unknown whether the winner will consume an at-large spot or not, Minnesota is the wildcard. If they win, they will take a slot, denying one of Yale, Minnesota-Duluth, or Northeastern. If Michigan wins, all three get in regardless of their own outcome.

What could be decided by today’s games

We’re not particularly likely to know a lot more about who’s in or out after today’s games because there aren’t a lot of edge cases that just depend on one or two outcomes. Instead, there’s a decent size group of teams fighting for the middle and we probably won’t know who makes it until they’re all either eliminated or have won their conference tournaments.

But, referring back to NCAA tournament possibilities (with less math), here are some things to watch for:

Teams still playing that can make it at-large

#11 Harvard
#13 Minnesota-Duluth
#14 Northeastern
#15 Michigan Tech

The more of these that lose, the better for the others and idle Yale and Notre Dame (who are also hoping for at-large bids).

Teams that won’t chew up an at-large spot if they win

Big Ten – Michigan
ECAC – Quinnipiac
Hockey East – Boston College, Providence, Mass.-Lowell
NCHC – North Dakota, St. Cloud St, Denver

If all the teams listed for a given conference lose, there will be one less at-large spot available. So, most relevant today are Michigan and Quinnipiac.

A few things that could be decided today

Again, it takes some deep combinations for anything big to happen today, but here the most interesting things I’ve found.

If Quinnipiac, Michigan, and Providence all lose, Cornell is out.

If Michigan Tech and Minnesota Duluth lose, Harvard controls its own destiny (in with a win).

If Michigan Tech and Northeastern lose, Yale is in and Harvard controls its own destiny (in with a win).

If Northeastern and Minnesota Duluth lose then Yale, Harvard, and Notre Dame are in.

Correction – removed incorrect scenario that involved Harvard losing. Harvard losing is not sufficient to make any changes to any teams’ outlook.

How Cornell can make the NCAA tournament

Background

You may want to read the Background on how PWR matters for tournament selection and How the “can make it at-large teams” can make it sections of NCAA tournament possibilities (with less math), if you haven’t already.

How Cornell can make it

Idle Cornell is currently sitting at #16 in the PWR, but has the possibility of landing anywhere between #13-#19. Because the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament winner will come from outside the top 16, only teams that finish in the top 15 stand any chance of an at-large bid.

So, Cornell is looking for some combination of climbing to the 13-15 range and having 3 to 5 of the conference tournaments won by teams ranked ahead of them.

Climbing in RPI ranking

Because Cornell is idle, their two levers to move their RPI ranking are to have their opponents’ (and opponents’ opponents’) win percentage rise to increase their own RPI, and to have teams that are just ahead of them (and still playing) stumble and drop below them in RPI.

Looking at Cornell’s weighted games played against teams that are still playing, Cornell has the largest potential RPI boost from Quinnipiac, Dartmouth, Harvard, and St. Lawrence winning. Of course, those teams all play each other, so it’s best to go with Quinnipiac as the champ and Harvard as runner up to get the most upward bounce. Providence winning its conference is also common in Cornell’s successful scenarios. Cornell’s weighted games played vs teams that are still playing are the following:
Quinnipiac 5
Dartmouth 2.4
Harvard 2.2
St. Lawrence 1.6
Providence 1
Ohio State 1

The other way Cornell can pass teams in PWR is to have teams immediately ahead of them have their own RPI fall enough to be passed. All of #13 Minnesota-Duluth, #14 Northeastern, and #15 Michigan Tech are active, so each losing can clear the way for Cornell to rise.

Conference tournaments won by high ranked teams

In addition to winning more PWR comparisons, Cornell needs conference tournaments won by teams ranked ahead of them. We learned above that Quinnipiac and Providence wins are key to raising Cornell’s RPI, so those two winning their conference tournaments are the cornerstone of most successful scenarios for Cornell. That leaves the following additional possibilities for the necessary 3-5 high-ranked conference tournament champions:
Big Ten – Michigan
NCHC – North Dakota, St Cloud St, Denver
WCHA – Michigan Tech

Remember, how many of those Cornell needs to happen depends on how many teams Cornell can pass in PWR.

Summary

Needing both to increase their PWR ranking (through a combination of raising their own RPI and others’ falling) and to have top teams win most conference tournaments makes this a pretty long short for Cornell, with the Big Red advancing in only about 1% of possible scenarios. Those scenarios generally include:

  • Increasing Cornell’s RPI (e.g. wins by Quinnipiac, Harvard, and Providence)
  • and/or decreasing RPI of teams directly ahead of Cornell (e.g. Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, and/or Northeastern losing)
  • and having enough top teams win their conference tournaments that Cornell’s final PWR rank is included at-large (e.g. Quinnipiac, Providence, and Michigan as winners)

Example of Cornell making it from #15
http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e7130347abe

Example of Cornell making it from #13
http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e71e9410e14

Edit – original version stated that Northeastern was idle, updated to reflect that they’re still playing.

How Notre Dame could miss the NCAA tournament

Background

You may want to read the Background on how PWR matters for tournament selection and How the “can make it at-large teams” can make it sections of NCAA tournament possibilities (with less math), if you haven’t already.

How Notre Dame could miss

Given that Notre Dame is already #12, there are myriad ways to get the Irish to 12-13, totaling about 60% of total remaining scenarios (see Notre Dame PWR details).

Because that 12-13 range is the lowest the idle Irish can fall, the most important contributor to excluding Notre Dame is to have conference tournaments won by low-ranked teams. That chews up spots that could otherwise have gone to at-large teams, what we call “moving the cutline”.

For example, the following scenario has Minnesota-Duluth flip its comparison with Notre Dame to push the Irish down to 13. It then has 4 other conferences won by teams that wouldn’t have otherwise auto-qualified:

http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e70bf082bcb

Those factors come together in about 7% of remaining scenarios.

How Yale could miss the NCAA tournament

Background

You may want to read the Background on how PWR matters for tournament selection and How the “can make it at-large teams” can make it sections of NCAA tournament possibilities (with less math), if you haven’t already.

How Yale could miss

Given that idle Yale can fall no further than #13, the most important contributor to excluding Yale is to have conference tournaments won by low-ranked teams. That chews up spots that could otherwise have gone to at-large teams, what we call “moving the cutline”.

But, Yale also needs to lose some RPI comparison(s) that it’s currently winning to get knocked out of the safe #10 PWR spot. Given that they’re not playing this weekend, Yale’s RPI can only be pushed downward by moving their opponents’ (and opponents’ opponents’) win percentages. Here are Yale’s top opponents by weighted games played (from Yale RPI details):

Dartmouth 4.2 (still playing)
Princeton 3.4
Union 2.4
Cornell 2.2
Massachusetts 2.2
St. Lawrence 2 (still playing)
Harvard 1.8 (still playing)
Clarkson 1.8
Rensselaer 1.6

Having Dartmouth lose can have a big downward effect on Yale’s RPI, as would having Harvard and St. Lawrence lose. But, they play each other. Having Harvard win is more useful because it allows the Crimson to hold onto enough comparisons to stay ahead of Yale, pushing Yale down a PWR spot.

That only flipped one comparison, but looking at Yale’s PWR details, we can push a couple of the bubble teams’ RPIs up over Yale’s. In the example scenario linked below, Notre Dame and Duluth’s RPIs rise enough that they overtake Yale’s and flip those two comparisons, for a total drop of 3 PWR spots.

Yale fans don’t need to worry much, these events come together in about 1.2% of remaining possible scenarios because they require a large number of low ranked teams to win conference tournaments. Here’s one example:

http://pwp.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-predictor/?uniq=pwp_56e6ce1d307b6

NCAA tournament possibilities (with less math)

If you want to dive deeper into the numbers, you should go read my previous blog post on NCAA tournament possibilities or go look at the PWR possibilities table.

Background on how PWR matters for tournament selection

Because we get lots of new readers during the tournament season, here’s some background information that my posts generally assume you know:

  • The PWR rankings are not a poll or computer model, but are instead an implementation of the same process the NCAA uses to select its tournament participants. They have correctly predicted the NCAA tournament participants for a decade or two.
  • Each conference gets to send one tournament winner to the NCAA tournament. So, we don’t need to look at the PWR of a team that wins its conference tournament.
  • The remaining 10 slots are given to top teams as ranked by the process implemented in PWR. So, PWR ranks 1-10 are in for sure; but, for 11-16 to make it requires some of the autobids to have gone to teams ranked above them (e.g. if an autobid goes to the team ranked #3, then an extra slot is open for the team ranked #11, and so on).
  • Because of that structure, we think of teams that are going to finish in the 12-15 range as “on the bubble”. Teams’ prospects are dependent not only on their final ranking, but also on how many lower ranked teams wins conference tournaments. Bubble teams’ chances for an at-large bid increase as slots are freed up by more conference tournaments being won by teams that would have made the NCAA tournament at-large.

These guys seem in

#1 North Dakota
#2 Quinnipiac
#3 St Cloud St
#4 Providence
#5 Boston College
#6 Denver
#7 Michigan
#8 Mass.-Lowell
#9 Boston University

Can make it at-large

The percentages are the share of scenarios in which each listed team can make the tournament based on the described outcome.

#10 Yale (idle, in 99%)
#11 Harvard (73% if they lose, 98% if they win 1)
#12 Notre Dame (idle, in 93%)
#13 Minnesota-Duluth (17% if they win none, 50% if they win 1)
#14 Northeastern (15% if they lose, 30% if they win 1)
#15 Michigan Tech (1% if they lose, 14% if they win 1)
#16 Cornell (idle, in 1%)

Can make it by winning their conference tournament

#17 Minnesota
#19 Robert Morris
#20 St. Lawrence
#21 Dartmouth
#22 Penn State
#24 Minnesota St
#27 Bowling Green
#28 Air Force
#30 Ferris State
#31 Ohio State
#37 RIT
#40 Wisconsin
#41 Army
#43 Michigan State

How the “can make it at-large teams” can make it

The winner of Atlantic Hockey will be a team that would not get an at-large bid, taking away one spot. That leaves at most 15 spots for top PWR teams.

For each conference tournament won by a top PWR team, an additional at-large team can make it. So, the at-large group wants the conference tournaments to be won by the following:

Big Ten – Michigan
ECAC – Quinnipiac
Hockey East – Boston College, Providence, Mass.-Lowell
NCHC – North Dakota, St. Cloud St, Denver

Though Michigan Tech could make it at-large, it only does so if other at-large candidates stumble and clear the way, so there’s not much point to cheering for Michigan Tech to win the WCHA.

The at-large group are competing with each other for ranking position, so generally want the other at-large candidates to lose.

The remaining tournament possibilities

I ran all 3,145,728 remaining possible outcomes, and here’s a first pass on the percentage of remaining scenarios each team makes the NCAA tournament.

The same data is also available in a horizontal table that doesn’t fit as well in a blog post:
PWR possibilities

Team PWR Possibilities
Overall By number of wins
UND #1 62.6%
#2 26.0%
#3 10.0%
#4 1.4%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#1 34.0% 63.0% 100.0%
#2 41.1% 29.5%  
#3 20.8% 7.4%  
#4 4.2% < 1%  
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Quinnipiac #1 15.3%
#2 39.6%
#3 29.4%
#4 15.5%
#5 0.2%
#6 0.0%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#1 < 1% 4.5% 56.8%
#2 35.4% 45.7% 41.8%
#3 39.0% 38.0% 1.4%
#4 25.1% 11.7%  
#5 0.5% < 1%  
#6 < 1%    
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
SCSU #1 18.7%
#2 14.2%
#3 32.6%
#4 23.8%
#5 8.4%
#6 2.3%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#1   7.7% 61.9%
#2 < 1% 17.6% 27.4%
#3 29.5% 48.2% 10.7%
#4 39.7% 25.4%  
#5 23.9% 1.1%  
#6 6.9%    
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Providence #1 3.4%
#2 12.9%
#3 9.9%
#4 41.4%
#5 26.4%
#6 6.0%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#1     13.6%
#2     51.4%
#3 1.1% 7.2% 30.1%
#4 58.3% 44.3% 4.9%
#5 32.1% 41.5%  
#6 8.5% 7.0%  
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Boston College #1 0.0%
#2 7.4%
#3 10.3%
#4 8.3%
#5 61.4%
#6 12.7%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#1     0.1%
#2     29.4%
#3   < 1% 41.1%
#4   3.9% 29.3%
#5 82.3% 80.8% < 1%
#6 17.7% 15.3%  
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Denver #3 7.8%
#4 9.6%
#5 3.6%
#6 77.4%
#7 1.6%
#8 0.0%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#3     31.4%
#4   1.2% 36.3%
#5   3.4% 8.5%
#6 98.1% 93.1% 23.5%
#7 1.9% 2.3% 0.3%
#8 < 1%    
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Michigan #6 0.0%
#7 57.3%
#8 30.0%
#9 9.9%
#10 2.7%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#6     < 1%
#7 44.8% 43.4% 96.3%
#8 39.7% 37.1% 3.7%
#9 10.9% 17.9%  
#10 4.6% 1.6%  
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Mass.-Lowell #7 26.6%
#8 18.8%
#9 38.9%
#10 15.6%
#11 0.1%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#7   27.6% 78.7%
#8   53.9% 21.3%
#9 73.1% 9.5%  
#10 26.8% 9.0%  
#11 0.2%    
Tournament invites: 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Boston University #6 1.6%
#7 14.4%
#8 49.2%
#9 34.7%
Tournament invites: 100.0%
n/a
Yale #9 0.6%
#10 61.1%
#11 26.7%
#12 9.8%
#13 1.8%
Tournament invites: 98.8%
n/a
Harvard #8 1.9%
#9 15.9%
#10 10.1%
#11 24.3%
#12 30.0%
#13 15.7%
#14 2.0%
Tournament invites: 86.2%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#8     7.8%
#9   1.6% 62.0%
#10   17.5% 23.0%
#11 5.5% 78.9% 7.2%
#12 59.0% 2.0%  
#13 31.5%    
#14 4.0%    
Tournament invites: 73.3% 98.2% 100.0%
Notre Dame #10 2.3%
#11 37.0%
#12 50.2%
#13 10.4%
Tournament invites: 93.1%
n/a
UMD #10 8.1%
#11 11.2%
#12 5.3%
#13 29.0%
#14 24.9%
#15 8.1%
#16 7.9%
#17 5.0%
#18 0.4%
#19 0.0%
Tournament invites: 51.4%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#10     32.5%
#11     44.6%
#12     21.1%
#13 16.0% 55.8% 1.7%
#14 27.7% 37.7%  
#15 16.1% 6.5%  
#16 23.7%    
#17 15.1%    
#18 1.3%    
#19 < 1%    
Tournament invites: 17.0% 49.7% 100.0%
Northeastern #11 0.7%
#12 4.7%
#13 25.3%
#14 41.4%
#15 25.1%
#16 2.5%
#17 0.2%
Tournament invites: 40.1%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#11     3.0%
#12     18.8%
#13 7.2% 25.8% 61.3%
#14 45.4% 58.0% 16.9%
#15 42.1% 16.2%  
#16 4.9%    
#17 0.5%    
Tournament invites: 15.3% 29.7% 100.0%
MTech #13 17.2%
#14 25.0%
#15 29.3%
#16 19.2%
#17 8.1%
#18 1.1%
#19 0.0%
Tournament invites: 29.1%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#13 0.4% 11.8% 56.2%
#14 6.7% 49.2% 37.6%
#15 36.3% 38.4% 6.3%
#16 38.1% 0.6%  
#17 16.3%    
#18 2.2%    
#19 < 1%    
Tournament invites: 1.2% 13.9% 100.0%
Cornell #13 0.1%
#14 2.6%
#15 20.6%
#16 49.9%
#17 24.2%
#18 2.6%
#19 0.0%
Tournament invites: 1.3%
n/a
UMN #13 0.0%
#14 0.0%
#15 3.2%
#16 5.3%
#17 6.1%
#18 10.3%
#19 18.2%
#20 19.6%
#21 19.4%
#22 13.3%
#23 4.3%
#24 0.4%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#13     < 1%
#14     0.1%
#15     12.7%
#16     21.2%
#17   1.2% 23.3%
#18 2.4% 13.2% 23.1%
#19 10.2% 34.8% 17.3%
#20 22.4% 31.2% 2.2%
#21 31.4% 14.6% < 1%
#22 24.4% 4.5%  
#23 8.3% 0.5%  
#24 0.8% < 1%  
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Nebraska-Omaha #17 18.6%
#18 37.3%
#19 26.4%
#20 13.1%
#21 4.1%
#22 0.5%
#23 0.0%
Tournament invites: 0.0%
n/a
Robert Morris #16 0.0%
#17 1.3%
#18 15.3%
#19 18.5%
#20 21.6%
#21 24.3%
#22 15.8%
#23 3.2%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#16     < 1%
#17   < 1% 5.2%
#18 1.4% 6.7% 51.8%
#19 6.9% 25.5% 34.7%
#20 21.8% 35.0% 7.7%
#21 36.5% 23.8% 0.6%
#22 27.6% 8.1%  
#23 5.8% 1.0%  
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
St. Lawrence #13 0.0%
#14 1.1%
#15 7.0%
#16 7.3%
#17 15.8%
#18 11.2%
#19 15.7%
#20 16.1%
#21 14.7%
#22 9.3%
#23 1.7%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#13     < 1%
#14     4.5%
#15     27.9%
#16     29.1%
#17   30.8% 32.5%
#18 3.2% 32.5% 5.9%
#19 19.6% 23.6%  
#20 26.9% 10.7%  
#21 28.3% 2.2%  
#22 18.6% 0.2%  
#23 3.5%    
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Dartmouth #13 0.4%
#14 2.8%
#15 6.7%
#16 7.6%
#17 13.2%
#18 10.3%
#19 6.8%
#20 11.3%
#21 17.2%
#22 17.0%
#23 6.8%
#24 0.0%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#13     1.6%
#14     11.0%
#15     26.9%
#16     30.3%
#17   25.7% 27.0%
#18 < 1% 37.7% 3.2%
#19 2.3% 22.7%  
#20 18.1% 9.1%  
#21 32.2% 4.2%  
#22 33.7% 0.6%  
#23 13.6%    
#24 < 1%    
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Penn State #15 0.0%
#16 0.4%
#17 7.3%
#18 8.3%
#19 5.0%
#20 6.3%
#21 6.1%
#22 10.5%
#23 9.0%
#24 15.6%
#25 24.8%
#26 6.6%
#27 0.1%
Tournament invites: 12.5%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2 Win 3
#15       0.1%
#16       3.0%
#17     5.9% 52.5%
#18     25.5% 40.8%
#19   0.6% 35.3% 3.6%
#20   11.6% 27.5%  
#21 < 1% 21.6% 5.8%  
#22 0.1% 41.6% < 1%  
#23 5.8% 24.5%    
#24 31.1% < 1%    
#25 49.6%      
#26 13.2%      
#27 0.1%      
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Clarkson #21 2.6%
#22 19.2%
#23 44.2%
#24 29.7%
#25 4.1%
#26 0.1%
Tournament invites: 0.0%
n/a
Mankato #17 0.0%
#18 2.9%
#19 7.4%
#20 7.9%
#21 5.3%
#22 2.1%
#23 5.2%
#24 12.5%
#25 16.9%
#26 6.7%
#27 23.9%
#28 9.2%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#17     < 1%
#18     11.6%
#19     29.6%
#20     31.7%
#21   1.2% 20.0%
#22   2.1% 6.4%
#23   20.0% 0.7%
#24 1.7% 46.4%  
#25 21.6% 24.2%  
#26 10.4% 6.0%  
#27 47.8% < 1%  
#28 18.5%    
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Rensselaer #22 1.5%
#23 13.6%
#24 35.0%
#25 31.1%
#26 16.3%
#27 2.6%
#28 0.0%
Tournament invites: 0.0%
n/a
Miami #24 0.0%
#25 17.8%
#26 50.1%
#27 28.8%
#28 3.2%
Tournament invites: 0.0%
n/a
Bowling Green #18 0.5%
#19 2.0%
#20 4.0%
#21 5.8%
#22 7.5%
#23 5.2%
#24 0.3%
#25 0.1%
#26 17.1%
#27 39.7%
#28 17.9%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#18     1.8%
#19     8.1%
#20     16.1%
#21     23.0%
#22     29.9%
#23     20.8%
#24   0.8% 0.2%
#25   0.4%  
#26 < 1% 68.4%  
#27 65.3% 28.1%  
#28 34.7% 2.4%  
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Air Force #19 0.0%
#20 0.0%
#21 0.5%
#22 3.2%
#23 6.9%
#24 6.5%
#25 5.2%
#26 3.1%
#27 5.0%
#28 63.8%
#29 5.8%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#19     < 1%
#20     < 1%
#21     2.2%
#22     12.7%
#23     27.5%
#24     26.0%
#25     20.9%
#26   1.8% 10.6%
#27   19.8% < 1%
#28 89.0% 77.3%  
#29 11.0% 1.0%  
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Union #29 75.7%
#30 21.4%
#31 2.8%
Tournament invites: 0.0%
n/a
Ferris State #28 0.4%
#29 2.8%
#30 27.3%
#31 39.1%
#32 30.2%
#33 0.2%
#34 0.0%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#28     1.4%
#29   0.2% 11.0%
#30 1.0% 32.3% 75.1%
#31 50.0% 43.7% 12.5%
#32 48.5% 23.8%  
#33 0.5%    
#34 < 1%    
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Ohio State #28 5.4%
#29 15.7%
#30 16.0%
#31 13.4%
#32 19.4%
#33 28.3%
#34 1.9%
Tournament invites: 12.5%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2 Win 3
#28       43.4%
#29     68.8% 56.6%
#30 < 1% 50.0% 27.8% < 1%
#31 0.9% 50.0% 3.4%  
#32 38.8% < 1%    
#33 56.6%      
#34 3.7%      
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
RIT #35 1.0%
#36 23.1%
#37 22.0%
#38 28.4%
#39 20.1%
#40 5.0%
#41 0.4%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#35     4.0%
#36     92.5%
#37   84.3% 3.6%
#38 49.3% 15.0%  
#39 39.8% 0.8%  
#40 10.0%    
#41 0.8%    
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
UW #36 10.5%
#37 5.1%
#38 4.5%
#39 18.5%
#40 18.7%
#41 29.1%
#42 12.1%
#43 1.5%
Tournament invites: 12.5%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2 Win 3
#36     1.6% 82.1%
#37     22.6% 17.9%
#38     36.1%  
#39   59.8% 28.4%  
#40 21.2% 27.3% 10.6%  
#41 52.8% 10.5% 0.6%  
#42 23.1% 2.5%    
#43 2.9%      
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Army #37 0.4%
#38 9.0%
#39 12.1%
#40 20.9%
#41 39.4%
#42 16.2%
#43 2.1%
Tournament invites: 25.0%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2
#37     1.4%
#38     35.9%
#39   0.4% 47.9%
#40 12.8% 43.3% 14.8%
#41 53.8% 49.8%  
#42 29.1% 6.4%  
#43 4.3%    
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
Michigan State #37 0.5%
#38 4.9%
#39 5.8%
#40 4.1%
#41 6.5%
#42 4.7%
#43 23.2%
#44 0.2%
#45 0.0%
#46 46.8%
#47 3.2%
Tournament invites: 12.5%
PWR Win 0 Win 1 Win 2 Win 3
#37       4.2%
#38       39.5%
#39       46.6%
#40     25.5% 7.2%
#41     49.8% 2.5%
#42   6.5% 24.6%  
#43   92.8%    
#44   0.7%    
#45 < 1%      
#46 93.6%      
#47 6.4%      
Tournament invites: 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%

KRACH predicts the NCAA tournament

One of the neat things about everyone’s favorite college hockey ranking scheme, KRACH, is that it can be easily applied to predict the likelihood of the winner of a game. I took the current KRACH and used to predict each team’s chances of winning it’s opening round game, advancing out of the regional, winning the semifinal at theFrozen Four, and winning the national championship.

The full data is below, but here are a few interesting observations:

  • Though Mankato’s KRACH is only a bit higher than North Dakota’s, the Mavericks are given a much better chance of both emerging from the regional (62%) and winning the national championship (23%) due to significantly weaker competition in the Midwest than in the West.
  • In fact, Mankato is the only 1-seed given a better than 50% chance of emerging from its region.
  • The regions all have strong teams and weaker teams. This same analysis last year featured a region where each team had between a 20-30% of emerging; no region is even close to that parity this year.
  • All four 2 vs. 3 opening round games are very tightly contested with KRACH prediction ranges of only 58-62% vs. 42-38%.

 

KRACH East Game 1 Game 2 (Region Champ) Game 3 (Frozen four semifinal) Game 4 (National Champ)
386.382 1. Miami (OH) 65.19% 36.49% 18.05% 9.39%
206.325 4. Providence 34.81% 14.15% 4.94% 1.82%
364.441 2. Denver 61.96% 33.38% 16.04% 8.12%
223.772 3. Boston College 38.04% 15.99% 5.86% 2.28%
Midwest
523.143 1. Mankato 92.36% 62.16% 38.54% 22.89%
43.2923 4. RIT 7.64% 1.13% 0.14% 0.02%
289.538 2. Omaha 57.94% 22.92% 10.93% 4.92%
210.181 3. Harvard 42.06% 13.80% 5.51% 2.06%
West
487.207 1. North Dakota 69.05% 40.59% 24.86% 13.96%
218.395 4. Quinnipiac 30.95% 12.13% 5.06% 1.87%
399.556 2. Michigan Tech 59.87% 30.61% 17.30% 8.88%
267.776 3. St Cloud St 40.13% 16.67% 7.78% 3.24%
Northeast
375.473 1. Boston University 66.36% 37.22% 18.57% 9.25%
190.328 4. Yale 33.64% 13.26% 4.49% 1.52%
339.557 2. Minnesota Duluth 58.76% 31.18% 14.79% 7.01%
238.363 3. Minnesota 41.24% 18.34% 7.15% 2.78%

Odds and ends – .500, ties, consolation game and SCSU

There are a few oddities in this year’s tournament outlook and structure that have been the subject of numerous comments—

  • The .500 rule (teams must have a record of at least .500 to get an at-large bid)
  • The tie possibility (the NCHC consolation game, unlike all the other tournament games, can end in a tie)
  • The consolation game (the NCHC consolation game is now the only one of its kind)

I examined the effects of each of these on the possible scenarios and found that none of them are a very big deal. While each can, of course, result in a different team making the tournament in some situations, none distort the outcomes in particularly unusual or undesirable ways.

The .500 rule will keep one otherwise eligible team out of the tournament in a handful of scenarios, the tie possibility will give its participants the opportunity for an outcome a bit better than a loss (but a bit worse than a win), and the consolation game will give an additional opportunity for some movement to two teams that would be done playing without it.

On the .500 rule

For the first time in recent memory, it’s possible for a team with an under .500 record to be in PWR position for an at-large bid. St Cloud St could lose two games to earn an 18-19-1 record, but still be ranked high enough for an at-large bid.

I ran the scenarios a second time, tweaking the rules to let SCSU into the tournament from that position despite the <.500 record to see how much that rule changed things. While it will clearly be a big deal to the teams affected if it happens, the overall impact is pretty small. Without the .500 requirement, SCSU would make the tournament in about 21% of its win 0 scenarios (which include the possibility of a consolation game tie), compared to 19% with the .500 requirement in place. So, absent that rule, SCSU would make the tournament at-large in about 4% of its two loss scenarios and bump another team. The potential victims of that bump would be other bubble teams, primarily Minnesota, Harvard, Colgate, Mass.-Lowell, and Yale.

On the possibility of a tie in the NCHC consolation game

There is only one game in the remaining conference tournaments that can end in a tie — the NCHC consolation game. Though like any game it could definitely change who makes the tournament, it doesn’t throw a huge wrench into the process. Other than St Cloud St’s .500 situation described above, no team can achieve a different ranking this year due to the existence of the tie than they could achieve without it.

The possibility of a tie has the biggest obvious impact on SCSU, giving them an opportunity to go winless on the weekend on still make the NCAA tournament (with a loss and a tie).

Not surprisingly, each of the other three NCHC teams with a potential for a loss and a tie also fare slightly better in that scenario than they would with two losses—UND can finish #1 more frequently, Miami can finish #7 more frequently, and Denver has significantly more potential to finish #3-6 then the #7 they’d likely finish with two losses.

On the existence of the NCHC consolation game

Similarly, the existence of the NCHC consolation game doesn’t have any unusual effects on the field this year.

By giving an extra game to two teams that have lost, each will have an additional opportunity to either make up some of the lost ground or lose even more ground than if the consolation game weren’t played.

By virtue of being on the bubble, SCSU is again most affected. Without the consolation games, they would advance in a decent share (about 30%) of scenarios in which they lost in the semifinals. Forcing them to play another game after such a loss puts them back in control of their own destiny, facing certain elimination if they lose or a much improved tournament outlook if they win.