Monday, March 9, 2009

Badgers NCAA Chances?

To the naked eye, Wisconsin's NCAA tournament chances look rather bleak barring winning the Final Five and the auto bid that comes with it. We're currently ranked #20 in the PWR and we need to get to AT LEAST 14 to gain admission. And that's if there are upsets in conference tournaments. To be safe, you would like to be 12 or 13. Even earlier today on USCHO I flat out said, we NEED to win the Final Five to gain admission to the dance because that's simply too much ground to gain in such little time.

This afternoon I was bored and went through and changed the results of the games we lost or tied and changed them to win's to see what that did to affect our PWR. The results to me were absolutely astonishing. Below is a chart of the games we lost/tied and what our current PWR would be if that single result was changed to a win.

What does this data say to me? Well first of all, it really kind of makes me sick to my stomach at home many close losses and ties we have had and how if only one of them had changed to a win (barring the LSSU game), then we would be in the tournament if the season ended today. Can you imagine if we flip 2 or 3 of those games into wins? We would be locks in the tournament at seasons end.

It also says that we aren't that far off from increasing out PWR dramatically. Basically, like Blockski has been saying all along, we need to increase our RPI and that in turn will flip some comparisons for us. Right now I have targeted 7 comparisons that we can flip if we keep winning games. 5 comparisons can be flipped fairly easy, and 2 will take a little more work. Right now, we need to flip 4 comparisons to get into the tournament if there are no upsets in the conference tournaments, and we could get as high as 12th if we flip all 7 comparisons that are available.

  • Air Force-We can flip the AF comparison by simply increasing our RPI by a slight margin. We are very close to flipping this one.
  • Boston College-We can also flip this one by passing BC in RPI. They currently have a 3-1 lead but if we overtake RPI it goes 2-2 with RPI being the tie breaker in our favor. Like Air Force, we are very close to flipping this as well.
  • Colorado College-This can be flipped a couple of ways. The easiest is increasing our RPI and we take it. Another is by us increasing out winning percentage against common opponents. If they don't make the final five and we do, we virtually clinch this comparison.
  • Minnesota-This is easily flipped again. They are barely ahead of us in RPI so we can flip that if we keep winning games. We can also flip this comparison with a win over them in the final five but the chances of us playing them aren't great.
  • UMD-This also is easily flipped. They are beating us by the skin of their teeth in RPI. If we take the lead in that the comparison is flipped. We can also flip it by beating them in the final five, or if they don't make the final five and we do.
Those are the easy comparisons to flip. If we flip those, we can sneak into the tournament. Here are two more comparisons that will be a bit tougher to flip but could happen.

  • Princeton-Princeton is within striking distance if they falter down the stretch and we win some games. All we need to do is flip RPI on them but they have a bigger lead than the other 5 teams I've listed.
  • Ohio State-Same thing as Princeton. All we need to do is gain the advantage in RPI and we can flip it but they have a bigger lead than the first 5 teams I listed do.
So, I guess this is my contribution to Badger Hockey for the day. I feel A LOT better about our chances now that I've looked at the PWR a little bit closer. The fact remains the same though, we need to keep winning games for any of this to matter. If we get knocked out in the first round by Minnesota State then we are done. I'd have to say we need to go at least 3-2 or 3-1 (3-2 if we have to go to 3 games vs Mankato) over the next two weekends to increase our RPI enough to flip the comparisons needed.