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2018 NCAA Women’s Hockey Tournament: Odds, Point Spreads, Over/Under

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Projecting the results of the quarterfinals

BC Athletics

Welcome to the NCAA tournament!

There are just two weekends left in the women’s hockey season, and eight teams are just three wins away from a national championship.

The NCAA tournament bracket was announced last night, with the top four seeds — Clarkson, Wisconsin, Colgate, and Boston College — each earning a home quarterfinal game, with the winner advancing to the Frozen Four.

Now that we’ve got ourselves a bracket, let’s project out the first round of the tournament using each team’s KRACH and GRaNT Ratings. The two systems are used for different purposes: KRACH is best used to calculate game odds, and GRaNT is best used to calculate game scores.

Here’s our tournament bracket:

First and foremost, here are the odds to win the entire tournament. These results are simulated using KRACH, based on the odds of each team winning its game and the odds of defeating each possible opponent in each successive round. If you want to see the mathematical nitty-gritty, click here.

(1) Clarkson — 31.38%
(2) Wisconsin — 23.62%
(3) Colgate — 21.79%
(4) Boston College — 15.56%
Minnesota — 3.28%
Ohio State — 2.95%
Northeastern — 0.98%
Mercyhurst — 0.44%

Let’s break down each individual quarterfinals matchup and see who’s likely to come out on top.

Mercyhurst Lakers (18-14-4, 13-4-3 CHA)
at No. 1 Clarkson Golden Knights (33-4-1, 19-3-0 ECAC)

KRACH Projected Line:
Clarkson -696 (87.44%)

GRaNT Projected Spread:
Clarkson -2.10

GRaNT Projected Final Score:
Clarkson 3.47, Mercyhurst 1.37

GRaNT Projected Over/Under:
4.83

No surprise that the tournament’s top KRACH team playing the tournament’s bottom KRACH team features the biggest underdog. Clarkson was the only team of this year’s “Big Four” of Clarkson, Wisconsin, Colgate, and BC to win its conference tournament, which vaulted them to the top of the rankings over the rest.

Mercyhurst is 18th in the Pairwise and 15th in KRACH, earning their way into the tournament by virtue of winning the CHA — the only conference that didn’t have a team in an at-large position — so there’s a pretty big talent disparity here. It would be a surprise to see the Lakers come away with the win, but with all the upsets we’ve seen this season, who knows...

Minnesota Golden Gophers (24-10-3, 13-8-3-0 WCHA)
at No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (30-4-2, 20-2-2-2 WCHA)

KRACH Projected Line:
Wisconsin -265 (72.58%)

GRaNT Projected Spread:
Wisconsin -1.23

GRaNT Projected Final Score:
Wisconsin 3.02, Minnesota 1.79

GRaNT Projected Over/Under:
4.81

The good news for Wisconsin: they swept the Gophers in the WCHA regular season over four games.

The bad news: the Gophers just beat Wisconsin on Sunday to win the WCHA, gate crash the NCAA tournament, and have yet another shot at the Badgers.

Minnesota is not as good as they usually are this season, but they’re still the top team outside the “Big Four” by both Pairwise and KRACH. They’ll be feeling confident after having just beaten the Badgers, but seeing them beat the Badgers twice in a row would be a big surprise — particularly with this weekend’s game being in Madison.

Northeastern Huskies (19-16-3, 11-11-2 WHEA)
at No. 3 Colgate Raiders (32-5-1, 19-3-0 ECAC)

KRACH Projected Line:
Colgate -405 (80.21%)

GRaNT Projected Spread:
Colgate -1.33

GRaNT Projected Final Score:
Colgate 3.31, Northeastern 1.98

GRaNT Projected Over/Under:
5.29

Our third matchup features the third team that had to win its conference to make the tournament, Northeastern. The Huskies have the worst record of all the teams in the tournament, but feature an impressive 9th place KRACH rating thanks to a ludicrous schedule that saw them play all of the top 4 teams — with two wins and a tie against those teams to their credit. The only team of the four that they weren’t able to take points from? Their opponent in the NCAA quarterfinals, Colgate.

These two teams played earlier this season in Hamilton, NY with the Raiders coming away with two convincing wins on an 8-2 aggregate score. Given the scalps the Huskies have claimed this season, Colgate can’t be too excited to have to play Northeastern a third time... but the Raiders are still heavy favorites.

Ohio State Buckeyes (14-6-4-3, 23-10-4 WCHA)
at No. 4 Boston College Eagles (30-4-3, 19-2-3 WHEA)

KRACH Projected Line:
Boston College -217 (68.49%)

GRaNT Projected Spread:
Boston College -0.81

GRaNT Projected Final Score:
Boston College 3.16, Ohio State 2.35

GRaNT Projected Over/Under:
5.51

As is usually the case with the #4 seed in an eight team tournament, it’s by far the most competitive matchup by the numbers. Ohio State has some big wins to their name — not the least of which was a weekend sweep of the then-top-seeded Badgers at home in early February and a sweep of Minnesota in late January.

Those wins were at home, however, and Ohio State’s home/road splits are not very encouraging for a Buckeyes team that has to hop on a flight to Boston this weekend. Ohio State was 16-2-2 at home this season, but 7-7-2 on the road with a horrible 3.00 goals against average away from Columbus — 31st in the nation.

Boston College was feeling a lot better about their chances before this weekend’s loss to UConn in the Hockey East tournament. But the Eagles have flirted with the top spot all season with the rest of the Big Four for a reason. Despite this being the most competitive matchup of the four, Boston College is still the heavy favorite.