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NCAA Women’s Hockey Conference Tournament Odds

Projecting each conference tournament

John Quackenbos, BC Athletics

The regular season is over (at least for all the conferences except one), and the conference tournament seeds are set. Boston College, Clarkson, and Wisconsin clinched the #1 seed for their respective tournaments, with Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, and Syracuse battling out next weekend for CHA seeding.

Now that we knew the tournament brackets, we can actually project out the odds of each team winning their conference tournaments using KRACH. KRACH ratings are assigned on an odds-based system, such that the odds of Team A beating Team B on a given night are rA/(rA+rB), with rA and rB being each team’s rating.

With those odds handy, plotting out all of the possible outcomes (there aren’t that many in an 8 team tournament), we can plot out the odds of winning the whole tournament for each team.

Hockey East
8 Teams, Best of 3 Quarterfinals
Conference Semifinals Re-Seed

(8) Vermont @ (1) Boston College
(7) Connecticut @ (2) Providence
(6) Boston University @ (3) Maine
(5) New Hampshire @ (4) Northeastern

Tournament Odds:

(1) Boston College — 69.33%
(2) Providence — 8.60%
(3) Maine — 7.21%
(4) Northeastern — 5.96%
(5) New Hampshire — 4.08%
(6) Boston University — 2.23%
(7) Connecticut — 2.18%
(8) Vermont — 0.42%

Hockey East is probably the deepest conference in the country and any of these teams could conceivably win the whole thing and the reaction in the women’s hockey universe would probably be “yeah, I can see it.” Boston College is the clear favorite, but with so many teams that are good and basically none that are bad, all it would take is for BC to lose one game and all bets are off.

8 Teams, Best of 3 Quarterfinals
Conference Semifinals Re-Seed

(8) Yale @ (1) Clarkson
(7) Harvard @ (2) Colgate
(6) Princeton @ (3) Cornell
(5) Quinnipiac @ (4) St. Lawrence

Tournament Odds:

(1) Clarkson — 45.50%
(2) Colgate — 38.49%
(3) Cornell — 9.90%
(4) St. Lawrence — 4.83%
(5) Quinnipiac — 0.73%
(6) Princeton — 0.39%
(7) Harvard — 0.14%
(8) Yale — 0.03%

Clarkson and Colgate are in a dead heat at the top, and Cornell and St. Lawrence at least have a puncher’s chance, but the rest of the conference is pretty awful. That’s not even considering the fact that this conference has four teams that are even worse than Quinnipiac, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. Yikes.

Conference seeding was a huge deal in this tournament. Clarkson and Colgate tied for the top spot, with Clarkson winning the tiebreaker. Had Colgate taken the top seed, they would be 45.30% to 38.68% favorites to win. Most of that difference comes from the fact that the top seed is guaranteed to avoid Cornell until the finals.

7 Teams, Best of 3 Quarterfinals (Top Seed Earns Bye)
Conference Semifinals Re-Seed

(1) Wisconsin — BYE
(7) Minnesota State @ (2) Ohio State
(6) St. Cloud State @ (3) Minnesota
(5) Bemidji State @ (4) Minnesota-Duluth

Tournament Odds:

(1) Wisconsin — 68.43%
(2) Ohio State — 16.11%
(3) Minnesota — 10.14%
(4) Minnesota-Duluth — 3.58%
(5) Bemidji State — 1.33%
(6) St. Cloud State — 0.39%
(7) Minnesota State — 0.01%

Here’s one where the seeding really doesn’t do all that much — and that’s despite Wisconsin earning a first round bye. #7 seed Minnesota State is so bad that the difference in playing them and just skipping the first round entirely are negligible — Wisconsin is 100% likely to make the semifinal, and #2 Ohio State is 97.73% likely to get past the Mavericks.

Maybe even more harsh for Minnesota State is that their odds of winning the tournament aren’t all that much better than Bye’s. Ouch.

One note worth mentioning is that Minnesota currently looks to be on the NCAA tournament bubble, because the CHA champion will bump out #8 seed in the Pairwise. But the Gophers can’t be feeling too good about that spot — based on the combined odds of all the teams still alive who are 8th place and below in the Pairwise, there is a 38.4% chance that at least one other autobid outside the CHA wins their conference and knocks the Gophers out.

6 Teams, Single Game Quarterfinals (Top Two Seeds Earn BYE)
Conference Semifinals DO NOT Re-Seed

(1) Saint Anselm — BYE
(2) Holy Cross — BYE
(6) Post @ (3) Sacred Heart
(5) Saint Michael’s @ (4) Franklin Pierce

Tournament Odds:

(1) Saint Anselm — 58.43%
(2) Holy Cross — 24.91%
(3) Sacred Heart — 14.93%
(4) Franklin Pierce — 1.54%
(5) Saint Michael’s — 0.08%
(6) Post — 0.00%

The NEWHA, or “New England Women’s Hockey Alliance,” is not actually a conference, but they opted to hold a conference tournament anyway. The teams are the 6 D-I/D-II independents that formed a scheduling alliance after being unexpectedly unable to play with their usual D-III conference mates this year. No autobid will be awarded, but the games still count in the Pairwise.

This is actually a pretty competitive tournament among the top 3, but the bottom three are among the worst teams in the country. Post is actually so bad that they really do have the same odds of winning the tournament as Bye — you have to do all the way to the 5th decimal to see what their actual odds are, 0.00003%. Given their 6-1 average goal margin this year (and how many times they’ve lost by double digits)... that actually seems right.

6 Teams, Single Game Quarterfinals (Top Two Seeds Earn BYE)
Conference Semifinals Re-Seed

The CHA’s regular season is not yet over — each team has two conference games next weekend, and spots 1-3 and 4-5 are still up for grabs. We’ll take a look at the odds as the rankings sit right now:

(1) Robert Morris
(2) Mercyhurst
(6) RIT @ (3) Syracuse
(5) Lindenwood @ (4) Penn State

Tournament Odds:

(1) Robert Morris — 50.20%
(2) Mercyhurst — 28.62%
(3) Syracuse — 11.91%
(4) Penn State — 6.93%
(5) Lindenwood — 2.12%
(6) RIT — 0.22%

Robert Morris currently has the 1 seed, but they have two play Syracuse twice this weekend and Mercyhurst will hold the tiebreaker on Robert Morris if the Colonials slip up.

Getting that top seed would make a really big difference for the Lakers — avoiding Syracuse until the finals would bump up their odds relative to Robert Morris to 33.13% vs. 45.68%.