Monday, February 23, 2015

Another Split for UMD Leaves More Questions

#3 in PairWise and #5 in NCHC Leaves Some Wondering, "Can It Last?"

UMD is in a peculiar predicament.  Sitting at #3 in the PairWise (PWR) everything seems just fine.  But a closer look indicates that UMD is not currently in home ice position for the NCHC playoffs that are just less than two weeks away.  The high ranking position that the Bulldogs now occupy in the PWR may just be at the edge of a cliff.

Take into account these facts:

  • UMD has swept two NCHC series this season out of 10.  The sweeps were at Saint Cloud and home against last place Colorado College.  Conversely, the Bulldogs have not been swept in NCHC play, but close while hosting WMU where UMD only got one out of a possible six points.
  • At 19-12-1, UMD's winning percentage is equal to UMass-Lowell's.  UML is currently tied for 16th in the PWR.
  • The Bulldog's remaining schedule includes a home series against #8 Omaha and at Western Michigan who gave UMD fits in their earlier meeting.
So that said, there are likely many hockey followers who are questioning how UMD can be ranked so high, but fifth and out of home ice in their conference.  Just see a Twitter sample at right.

So why is UMD ranked so high in the PWR?  Multiple reasons, and many that could go sideways with some conference playoff scenarios happening.  Such as:
  • UMD has the highest strength of schedule (SOS) in the nation, but six of the seven other NCHC members are right behind them.
    1. UMD
    2. Saint Cloud
    3. Omaha
    4. Miami
    5. Western Michigan
    6. Denver
    7. Colorado College
    • North Dakota is at 10th
  • The Bulldogs have the highest Quality Win Bonus (QWB) in the nation at 0.0194, but again they are closely followed by four NCHC teams.
    1. UMD                   0.0194
    2. Omaha                 0.0091
    3. North Dakota       0.0089
    4. Denver                 0.0087
    5. Saint Cloud          0.0087
  • And, quite frankly, UMD hasn't had a long losing streak to make their numbers drop.  Again, there is the potential for a problem if the Bulldogs get bounced early from the conference playoffs while teams rated below them get to rack up the rating criteria points.
Nothing is for certain, except the end of the season for UMD will be interesting if not exciting.  Hopefully for the players and fans, not a disappointing ending.

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