Michigan State is your leader heading into the final weekend of B1G play thanks entirely to Jake Hildebrand and a pretty bad B1G. There is no reason that a team averaging 2.33 goals in conference and has only scored 6 more goals than it has allowed should be in first. Michigan's woes returned as they were swept by a Penn State team that can still win the conference. Minnesota continues to have lackluster Saturday's, failing to complete the sweep for the third consecutive weekend. Failure in the shootout may cost them the B1G championship when the season is over. Wisconsin will finish in 6th and Ohio State will finish in 5th no matter what happens the last week, but the top 4 spots are up for grabs. I didn't get to watch much of the games last weekend as I was recovering from a red-eye flight on Friday and adopted a pup(!) on Saturday so there won't be series recaps this week.
The B1G really shot itself in the foot NCAA tourney wise last weekend as Michigan and Minnesota could have moved into comfortable territory with sweeps. Alas, Minnesota is squarely on the bubble at 14th and Michigan dropped off the bubble to 20th. Penn State is 28th and MSU is 32nd so the B1G is likely a 1 bid-league this year unless Minnesota can sweep this weekend and lose in the Championship game to a team that also wins out while having no other at-large bids stolen. Every other team must win the conference championship to make the tourney.
This is a strange, new world for fans of Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and to a lesser extent, Ohio State where winning your conference doesn't mean you will be good enough to make the tourney. Michigan State and Penn State played abysmal non-con schedules (42 and 47 respectively according to KRACH). This needs to change as soon as possible so the B1G has better footing in the PairWise Rankings. Michigan's non-con was mediocre (29th) while Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin scheduled real teams (15, 16, 12). Unfortunately, only Minnesota had any (good but not great) success in the non-con. The B1G plays fewer conference games than other leagues so there is no excuse to not fill the non-con with quality opponents. If MSU and PSU want any respect come tourney seeding time, they need to schedule tough games in the fall. The poor non-con showing is punishing the B1G for cannibalizing itself. NCAA seeding is objective so #BRANDNAMES don't mean anything come selection time. /end rant
UNO took 4 points from Colorado College to move into 7th in the pairwise and finish 3rd in the NCHC. They have home ice in their NCHC Playoff first round series against St. Cloud State this weekend. UNO is unlikely to fall out of the tournament unless they are swept by St. Cloud and 3 or more conference tourney champions are outside of the top 16.
An overtime loss counts as a loss and no points are earned. If both teams are tied after the five minute OT period, the game goes down as a tie and both teams earn a point. A shootout follows a tie with the winner earning a second point. A shootout "win" counts as a tie, not a win in the standings and for NCAA Tournament seeding purposes. Total wins are used as the primary tie-breaker. If teams have the same number of wins, head to head winning % is used (Ties equal half a win and half a loss, shootout ignored).
KRACH Ratings, KRACH Rank, Pairwise Rank
Update on 3/11/2015 @ 8 PM CST
There are 59 teams in college hockey. The pairwise is an approximation of the selection process for the NCAA tournament (click link for explanation). The top 16 teams are selected for the tourney. Conference tournament champions get auto-bids so teams rated near 16 can be displaced if a lower ranked team wins it's conference tournament.
Points, Elimination numbers, KRACH Projections, and Last Years Points
Change in expected conference wins:
Pts earned by team on the left are shown in the boxes
Green boxes mean that the team in the row is ahead of the team in the column. Red means the team in the column is ahead. Blue means the teams have split points. Once a season series is completed, the color will be darker, the points will be bold, and the box will have a thicker border. Column on the right shows the points gained by a team. Row on the bottom shows the points lost by a team.
KRACH Projection Review
Let's see how the projections went this week: I didn't do this last week, sorry everyone.
I started another table to see what the expected current points earned should be according to KRACH.
MSU is almost 6 points ahead of their KRACH projection. Jake Hildebrand should get B1G player of the year for his incredible effort. Minnesota being 3.6 points behind projection feels right as this team hasn't played with any consistency all year. Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin are all right where they should be, while OSU lags a little behind.
The big reason why I fell behind this week is because I rescued the most adorable Pointer/Pit mix. His name is Cooper and I love him very much. Pictures in the comments!!!