2014 WCHA Playoff Race: 2014-02-28 Edition

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t stay up to watch the (very ugly at the end) Ferris State-Alaska game to see what effect it had on my models.  So here goes nothing.

  1. UAH obviously changed Bemidji State’s expected wins with their upset win over the Beavers tonight.  Bemidji has gone from a ceiling of 30 points to just 28.  My model says that the UAH-BSU result tonight is 100% likely to be a Bemidji win.  That puts them to 24 points.  They end their season on the rod against Bowling Green, and the first-order model says that’s a split.  Until I run it probabilistically, I’m going to go with that.  That sees the Beavers finish at 11-13-4 (26 pts), which should be enough to get them into the postseason.
  2. The other three series were all predicted to be splits in the first order model, and that’s the predominant result in the probabilistic model: 82.95% for MSU-LSSU, 82.71 for NMU-BG, and 48.66% for FSU-UA.  You can’t really evaluate a WCHA weekend until Saturday night has been played given the league’s propensity for splits this season.  Sure, Mankato, Northern, and Alaska all took a step forward tonight, but the numbers favor a reversed result in a few hours.
  3. The NMU-BSU-LSSU cohort have “separated” themselves a bit from the pack.  Right now, they’d be 27-26-26 in expected points from the first-order model.  Things can obviously change from here, but the tendency of the league to split combined with the remaining schedules favors this result set.
  4. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Bemidji went 3-1-0 in the season series, and a four-game series is the first tiebreaker.  LSSU’s high-water mark is 15-13-0 (30 pts), but that’s just not realistic.  They looked pretty bad tonight against Mankato, and even if they recover tomorrow, they finish their season on the road against the Bulldogs, and we have the Lakers getting swept in Big Rapids.  That puts them at 13-15-0 if they beat Mankato, or 12-16-0 if they lose out.  Losing out almost assuredly ends their season, as they would need Bemidji to go winless to finish their season as well.  For every point the Lakers pick up for the rest of the year, they have to hope that the Beavers pick up one less — and at this time of the year, that’s probably wins.  Bemidji’s worst finish is probably beat-UAH, swept-BG, which has them at 10-14-4, 24 points.  That ties them with the Beavers, and they lose the tiebreaker.  Every Bemidji win makes the Lakers’ margin narrower.  Laker fans, we have some room on the bandwagon.

More thoughts early Sunday morning on the first-order model, with the probabilistic model to follow somewhere between then and Tuesday.

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