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B1G Hockey Roundup - 3/2/15

After two sweeps and a big split the B1G finds two teams in the NCAA At-large discussion and sees two teams eliminated from the Conference crown and first round byes.

Chris Relke/Getty Images

Weekend Review

Michigan has opened up a 3 point lead as we enter the penultimate weekend.  Penn State has some work to do to earn a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tourney.  Michigan State earned a B1G road split in Minneapolis to keep their conference title and 1st round bye hopes alive.  Minnesota and Michigan find themselves in the top 15 of the pairwise with Minnesota barely off the bubble at 11 and Michigan in the last available at-large spot (15).  Teams 11-19 are all too close in the RPI (One of the PairWise Comparisons) for any of them to feel safe.  Ohio State is finally healthy and it showed in a home sweep of Penn State.  Wisconsin's miserable season continued with a sweep in Ann Arbor.

Michigan State @ Minnesota

I only caught the Thursday game as I went to the Milwaukee Admirals Game Friday night.  The Minnesota Men's basketball team ensured that no one saw MSU jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on Thursday night (and won the Honeycrisp Trophy for TDG!). Minnesota's Adam Wilcox (Jr. G) sat out Thursday with an injury.  His replacement, freshman Nick Lehr, had about as poor of a start as you could imagine giving up goals on his first two shots against and on three of his first four.  After BTN jumped to the hockey game, it was all Gophers.  Minnesota scored late in the 1st to make it 3-1 and controlled play for the final  8-9 minutes of play.  Buoyed by 2 powerplay goals, Minnesota finished the second ahead 4-3.  Lehr setteled down and didn't give up a goal the rest of the way.  Minnesota converted an empty net into a 5-3 victory and looked to have secured a statement win.  According to Twitter, Friday night showed that to not be the cast.  Minnesota was outplayed and Michigan State cruised to a 4-2 win, in part, thanks to a late retaliation penalty against the Gophers.  You can't take penalties (especially retaliation penalties) late in a game down 1. Michigan State earned the sweep with a great Saturday performance on the road.  Minnesota took 7 of 12 points this year which is 1 less than last year.

Penn State vs Ohio State

I didn't get to watch either of these games (I guess I'm a real OTE writer now!) but OSU really helped out Minnesota, Michigan, and Michigan State by sweeping the Nittany Lions 5-3; 5-3.  OSU took 9 of the 12 points in the season series.  Penn State has now lost 4 in a row on the road and only has 3 points in their last 6 games.  Penn State is greatly improved but their record has been inflated by a poor schedule (48th out of 59 according to KRACH) and don't appear ready to challenge for the B1G.  However, Penn State has made a lot more noise than I, and many others, expected in year 3.  Guy Gadowsky is building something in Happy Valley and Penn State fans have to be very happy with the team's future outlook.  OSU looks to be finally healthy, taking 12 points in their last 6.  OSU has a chance to spoil Minnesota's second half resurgence at home next week if it can keep up its play.  Michigan's two wins eliminated OSU from the B1G championship.  OSU was also eliminated from a first round bye as they can only tie Minnesota at 30 but that requires Penn State to earn 31 points.

Wisconsin @ Michigan

Michigan swept Wisconsin 3-0; 5-2.  This completed a season sweep for Michigan, 7 more points than they took from the Badgers last season.  I didn't get to see either game but Michigan converted 2 of 4 powerplays on Friday and added an ENG while Rumpel stopped 31. Wisconsin's abysmal offense cost them a shot at points as Rumpel was brilliant according to twitter dot com.  Wisconsin was eliminated from the B1G Championship race by a Minnesota win on Thursday and Michigan eliminated them from a 1st round bye in the conference tournament.  Michigan and Wisconsin traded one goal leads on Saturday and finished the second period knotted at 2.  Michigan's 4th PP goal of the weekend proved the game winner. JT Compher secured a hat trick with an ENG to close the scoring.  Michigan's sweep moved them into sole possession of first in the B1G and back into the tourney at-large picture.  15th is good enought for the final open at-large spot as the Atlantic Hockey (even worse than the B1G) Tournament Champion will take the 16th spot.  The B1G can get three teams into the tourney if the following happens:

  • Michigan and Minnesota win out in their last 4
  • Who ever has the lower pairwise loses in the final while the team with the higher pairwise loses in the semi.
  • No other conference tourney upsets

That's an awful lot to have happen but it's a welcome sign for a conference that was looking like a 1 bid league just a few weeks ago.

UNO @ St. Cloud State

For NCAA purposes, UNO split with UMD via two ties and sits at 5th in the Pairwise. UNO won both shootouts which moved them up to 3rd in the NCHC.  Road wins are weighted heavier than home wins (1.2-0.8) so the two ties count for 1.2 wins and 0.8 losses in the RPI so a road split was a good result for the Mavericks.  UNO can't afford a let up at home against Colorado College if it wants to hold on to home ice in the first round of the NCHC tournament and a shot at a 1 seed in the NCAAs.

Conference Standings

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 record is used.

KRACH Ratings, KRACH Rank, Pairwise Rank

Update on 3/2/2015 @ 7 PM EST

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:
MI +1.46
MN -1.26
MSU +1.29
PSU -4.51
OSU +4.57
WI -1.56

Conference Table

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:

Team KRACH Projection My Prediction Actual Updated KRACH
MSU 1.8 2 3 2.0
MN 4.2 4 3 4.0
PSU 4.0 3 0 3.5
OSU 2.0 3 6 2.5
WI 1.1 2 0 0.9
MI 4.9 4 6 5.1

We haven't had a tie in B1G play in a few weeks now, maybe I should stop predicting them...

I started another table to see what the expected current points earned should be according to KRACH.

MSU continues to outperformed its KRACH rating this week.  So much for regression...

Here are the average remaining opponent KRACH ratings for each team and remaining home/away games:

Team Avg Opp KRACH Home Away
MI 109.3 1 3
MN 98.12 2 2
MSU 115.09 3 1
PSU 205.25 2 2
OSU 126.54 2 2
WI 93.82 2 2

Penn State has the hardest schedule by far.  It may be possible for OSU to catch them as long as they don't get swept by Minnesota this week.  MSU has the most home games left while Michigan only has one left.  Everyone else has two.