As the NCAA season progresses, I’m going to publish weekly rankings in conjunction with the USCHO poll. These rankings will be entirely statistics based with the explanation as to how those stats are developed here. As I prefer to do when compiling rankings, a team’s final ranking will be determined by a summation of their rankings in various statistical categories:
- Overall winning percentage (pct)
- Goal differential (+/-)
- Percentage of shots taken (S%) – (Editor’s Note – This is essentially the best imitator of Corsi %. I’m told that shot attempts (Shots on goal plus missed shots plus shots taken that get blocked) are recorded but that data is not available anywhere.)
- Percentage of shots taken relative to Opponents’ S% (Rel S%)
- Power play and penalty kill percentage
- S% versus teams with an S% of 50% or more
- Rel S% versus teams with an S% of 50 or more
- Shooting Percentage (Sht%)
- Save Percentage (Sv%)
Also I have taken to making all of my spreadsheets available for download here.
I’ve been riding the Princeton bus for weeks. I don’t think they’re quite on the level of Clarkson or Quinnipiac, but they’re a solid team.
The PairWise ranking is important because the NCAA tournament field’s at-large bids (**) are generally populated by the highest ranked teams that didn’t secure an auto-bid by winning their conference tournament (* – current leaders). A breakdown of how the ranking is determined can be found here.
The Pairwise is starting to solidify as we get closer to the end of the season. Teams on the outside looking are going to have to go on a pretty strong run to end their season, or pin their hopes on their conference tournament.
I’ve added the previous weekend’s results along with each team’s movement from the previous week. Again, eight teams make the NCAA Tournament so let’s run down the top eight:
1. Wisconsin (1)
Wisconsin holds the top spot by a considerable margin. Their worst figure is their shooting percentage, which is 8th in the country. When you consider that they average 42 shots a game that “low” ranking is almost meaningless. They’re tops in every possession figure I track and in save percentage.
2. Boston College (2)
Boston College’s worst ranking is fifth, their save percentage and penalty kill. In possession metrics they lag a touch behind Minnesota and Clarkson though even though their strength of schedule (on a shots basis) is almost identical.
3. Quinnipiac (3)
I feel like out of the top five teams Quinnipiac might be behind on talent, but they play their system the best. They play their high-pressure, constant forecheck style to a T and it almost always pays off for them. Skating against the high stamina Bobcats is brutal on pace alone and they’re not afraid to dish out a hit or two.
4. Minnesota (4)
The downside to the way I do rankings is that it’s really only one figure that sinks Minnesota to fourth. I don’t think their 20th ranked penalty kill is a reason to have them any lower than third, but I go by the numbers and the numbers alone.
5. Clarkson (5)
The break seemed to be just what the Knights needed as they came out and throttled Yale and Brown. The game against the Bulldogs looked rough with the Knights staring down a 2-1 deficit midway through the second. Then Clarkson was up one just four and a half minutes later and found two late third-period goals to seal the deal.
6. Northeastern (6)
The Huskies solidified their hold on second place in Hockey East with a weekend sweep of New Hampshire and a Wednesday win over Providence that didn’t make it into the figures for this week’s rankings. They have a five point gap on the Terriers with an even number of games played.
7. Princeton (8)
The Tigers’s sweep of RPI and Union doesn’t look that impressive, but it’s more than their Bobcat counterparts managed over the weekend. Last season Princeton was a solid defensive team that was often behind in possession. This season they average more shots (31.9) than they allow (25.6) and they’ve still got a top-notch defense led by defender Kelsey Koelzer and goaltender Kimberly Newell.
8. North Dakota (7)
The Fighting Hawks are a solid team that is currently going to get left out in the cold. Impressive wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota have not helped as much as questionable losses to Ohio State and Syracuse have hurt.