November 29, 2011

D3hockey.com debut computer rankings - November 29

by Steve Wiitala

 

Here is the first edition of the D3hockey.com men's computer rankings.  We have ranked all Division III men’s teams, plus we have included the two DII teams in the ECAC East (St. Michael’s and St. Anselm) and the four DII teams that play in the Northest 10 conference.  Since all of these schools play what amounts to a DIII schedule, we have chosen to include them in our pool of teams. 

We have not provided rankings for the women’s teams this week because there are still several teams in the NESCAC that have only played a two game series against one other team.  We should be able to present the women’s rankings next week.

 

Through games as of November 27
 
   

G

W

L

T

Rating

1

Norwich

6

6

0

 

723

2

Elmira

8

5

3

 

673

3

Castleton

9

9

0

 

654

4

Oswego

9

7

1

1

649

5

St. Scholastica

8

5

2

1

643

6

Amherst

4

3

1

 

640

7

Curry

5

4

1

 

639

8

Middlebury

4

2

1

1

628

9

Neumann

7

5

2

 

627

10

Utica

7

5

2

 

621

11

Wis. - Eau Claire

10

6

4

 

607

12

Wis. - Superior

9

5

2

2

604

13

St. Norbert

11

6

2

3

601

14

Plattsburgh

8

5

2

1

594

15

Western NE College

6

4

2

 

592

16

St. Olaf

10

6

2

2

590

17

Wis - River Falls

8

6

0

2

590

18

St. Thomas

9

6

2

1

586

19

Wis. - Stout

9

5

4

 

581

20

Salem State

5

3

1

1

572

21

New England College

7

5

2

 

569

22

Buffalo State

9

5

4

 

564

23

Wesleyan

5

3

2

 

564

24

Manhattanville

5

1

3

1

557

25

Williams

4

2

0

2

556

26

Concordia MN

9

5

3

1

552

27

Bowdoin

4

2

1

1

552

28

Wis. - Stevens Point

9

2

5

2

551

29

Fredonia

9

4

3

2

543

30

Tufts

5

3

2

 

541

31

Adrian

9

6

3

 

538

32

Hamline

8

5

3

 

538

33

Hobart

8

4

4

 

538

34

Morrisville

8

2

5

1

537

35

Mass-Dartmouth

6

3

2

1

520

36

Plymouth State

5

4

1

 

519

37

Johnson and Wales

6

4

1

1

511

38

Potsdam

7

4

3

 

509

39

Hamilton

4

2

1

1

509

40

Lawrence

8

3

2

3

508

41

Geneseo

9

4

5

 

507

42

Marian

10

5

2

3

490

43

St. Anselm

6

2

3

1

490

44

Wentworth

8

4

3

1

489

45

Cortland

10

3

6

1

481

46

Augsberg

7

3

4

 

480

47

Milw School of Eng

8

6

2

 

471

48

St. John's

9

3

4

2

470

49

Babson

7

2

5

 

469

50

Westfield State

7

2

3

2

466

51

Gustavus Adolphus

8

2

4

2

460

52

St. Mary's

8

1

7

 

460

53

Brockport

10

2

6

2

458

54

Mass-Boston

7

2

4

2

457

55

Assumption

10

5

4

1

444

56

Trinity

4

1

3

 

438

57

U New England

6

2

4

1

424

58

Southern Maine

5

1

4

 

423

59

Salve Regina

7

3

4

 

420

60

Becker

8

3

5

 

419

61

Skidmore

8

3

5

 

416

62

Conn. College

3

1

2

 

412

63

Worcester State

7

2

3

2

407

64

Suffolk

7

2

5

 

404

65

Bethel

10

2

8

 

399

66

Fitchburg State

6

2

4

 

397

67

St. Michael's

6

1

4

1

396

68

Colby

4

1

3

 

374

69

Concordia WI

10

1

7

2

373

70

Franklin Pierce

6

1

3

2

362

71

Nichols

7

1

5

1

355

72

Northland

8

3

5

 

345

73

Stonehill

8

2

6

 

336

74

Lake Forest

8

1

7

 

336

75

So. New Hampshire

9

1

7

1

304

76

Finlandia

8

0

8

 

269

77

Framingham State

4

0

4

 

239

 
 

As we look at the list, we can see that the top echelon of teams remains pretty much the same as we see in the D3hockey.com poll.  Norwich is well out in front of the other teams, as seen by the gap of 50 points between Norwich and second ranked Elmira.  After that, things are very close.  Depending on the precise number of games played, the margin of error for a comparison between teams right now is between 30 and 35 rankings points.  This means that for all practical purposes, you can throw a blanket over the rest of the top 10 and justify almost any order that you come up with.

One thing that is striking is that most, but not all, of the top teams in the computer rankings are the same teams that we find ranked in the human polls.  Two teams that are highly ranked in the computer rankings but ignored in polls are Curry and St. Scholastica. This leads us to ask the obvious question:  “What does the computer see in Curry and St. Scholasitca that the voters don't?”

Curry provides an example of how early season computer rankings can be inflated.  The Colonels have a 4-1-0 record and a 0.800 winning percentage, which is the fifth-best in country.  The teams they have beaten have a record of 10-6-0 in games not involving Curry, which ranks seventh-best in the country for that category.  Numerically this gives the Colonels two very stong components in the metrics that are utilized by our rating system, and their remaining metrics are above average.  What the voters see that the computer doesn’t see is that the teams that Curry has beaten are Western New England, Tufts, Becker, and Salve Regina.  Those are not historically strong programs. So, Curry’s opponents have gotten off to a stronger than usual start, and if their records hold up Curry may continue to sit in the upper echelon of the computer rankings.  With a small sample, both Curry’s record and the record of the teams that they have beaten could change quickly.  Curry is one of the more respected programs in the ECAC Northeast and have fall in the category of “also receiving votes” in this week’s human poll.

St. Scholastica is another interesting case.  The Saints have a 5-2-1 record which includes a win over a UW-Eau Claire team that is ranked 15th in the human poll.  The teams they have beaten or tied have a 0.622 winning percentage.  This may be a team that is flying below the radar because they don’t have the same kind of name recognition that some other teams have, as the quantitative measures of their performance are very solid.  Again, it will be interesting to focus on how they fare in the coming weeks.

On the other end of this, Milwaukee School of Engineering is the obvious example of a team that has a very low ranking in the computer rankings, but is ranked in the poll, as the Raiders are 14th in this week's poll but only 47th by the computer.  What is happening here?  MSOE had a high profile split with Adrian, but their remaining schedule is exceedingly weak.  With wins over Concordia (Wis.), Finlandia and a split with St. Mary’s, the teams that MSOE has defeated have a cumulative winning percentage of 0.200.  While its winning percentage is seventh in the nation, their strength of schedule ranks dead last of the 77 teams we rank, and the winning percentage of the teams that they have beaten ranks 67th.

 

Thoughts?

 

Questions, comments, arguments or otherwise, don't hesitate to jump into the discussion in the D3hockey forum.

 

~

Dr. Steve Wiitala is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He possesses a M.A. from Western Washington University and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. He is a statistical consultant specializing in quality improvement.

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Friday, Oct. 24: All times Eastern
M:
7:30 PM
Norwich at St. Lawrence College Lions
M:
8:00 PM
Blue White Game at Concordia (Wis.)
No contests today.
No contests today.

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