Feb 022014
 

Update: I goofed!  I had Tech getting swept, and probably another error as well.  The GDocs has the week-by-week, but it radically changed the below.  Thanks to oldish husky on USCHO for finding the problem.  I regret the error.

It’s (past) time to revisit our methodology for predicting the 2014 WCHA Playoff Race.  Games haven’t gone as expected, as Ferris State has taken its lumps, UAH took a point off of Anchorage, and Michigan Tech swept BG this weekend.  Will Mankato be able to keep pace?  Who will miss out on the playoffs?  Below are the standings going into the 20th weekend of the season:

Team Record Points / Games Left
1 Ferris State 13-3-2 28 / 10
2 Minnesota State 13-7-0 26 / 8
3 Bowling Green 10-9-3 23 / 6
4 Alaska-Anchorage 9-8-3 21 / 8
5 Alaska 9-11-12 20 / 6
6t Michigan Tech 8-8-4 20 / 8
Bemidji State 8-8-4 20 / 8
8 Northern Michigan 9-8-1 19 / 10
9 Lake Superior 8-10-0 16 / 10
10 Alabama-Huntsville 1-16-1 3 / 10

That Games Left bit is the key: with five weeks left, teams — like UAH — will be able to play ten more games, but as you can see, Bowling Green and Alaska have just six more chances to win points.  As we’ll see, this isn’t a big problem for Bowling Green, as the top three schools have separated from the rest of the pack, where 4-7 is going to be the dog’s breakfast broken by the Byzantine tiebreakers that the league has in place.  We’ll look into that as things get closer to fruition (i.e., Week 24).  Here are the final predicted standings

Team Record Points
1 Ferris State 18-3-7 43
2 Minnesota State 18-9-1 37
3 Northern Michigan 14-12-2 30
4 Michigan Tech 13-11-4 30
5 Bowling Green 13-12-3 29
6 Alaska-Anchorage 12-12-4 28
7 Bemidji State 11-11-6 28
8 Lake Superior 13-14-1 27
9 Alaska 11-14-3 25
10 Alabama-Huntsville 1-26-1 3

As you can see, the Nanooks suffer from two problems: 1) few games left to play, with all the teams around them having eight or ten left and 2) their remaining series being Tech on the road, Ferris at home, and Anchorage at home for the Governor’s Cup.  Compare that to all four teams below them playing UAH, and the fall is understandable.

If you want to look at the spreadsheet that powers all of this, it’s available on Google Drive.  One fun thing to note is that only three league teams are predicted to finish with losing records.  As UAH improves, this will prove to be an anomaly.