coaches say you can't, so don't sign a loi
We had a pistons thread, why not have a hockey thread for any detroit fans staying up for the sports double-header (or for any of you kings fans out there).
Wings down 1 with 11 minutes left in the 2nd. Started off very shaky but the game has gotten much more even and exciting.
With Three weeks remaining in Michigan's regular season the playoff picture hasn't really cleared up, in fact the loss last Friday night was thought to be a knockout punch when in reality it just made the road a little rougher.
A diary posted by Wolverine in Exile on Monday asked the question if the at-large bid was dead or not, well I'm going to show here that it is in fact not dead and still a very possible goal. I will save this for the end though and provide updates from around the country last week and a quick look at some big games this weekend.
Michigan suffered an upsetting loss on Friday night thanks to some sloppy play in their own zone (sound at all familiar???).and came back with a win on Sunday on home Ice. Sunday's game featured some great passing in the offensive zone (Larkin showing he is the best player on the ice) but still had some horrendous defensive zone play. The first period in particular featured some awful breakout passes that led to scoring opportunities which forced Racine to step up and play one of his better games this season.
Around the B1G: The standings remain the same! Minnesota splits at Pegula winning 2-1 Friday night and dropping a 4-3 overtime contest Saturday. Michigan State splits out at Kohl losing 2-1 Friday night and a 3-0 bounce back victory Saturday.
Our Non-conference opponents: RPI goes 0-1-1 on the road at Cornell and at Colgate. UMass-Lowell picked up a road tie at Boston College in their only game of the weekend. BC had the tie and an overtime victory in the Beanpot 3rd place game over Harvard. Boston University had a 1-1-1 weekend with a 0-1-1 home series with Notre Dame and the overtime win in the Beanpot Final over Northeastern. New Hampshire swept Connecticut in a home and home series. Ferris State swept Alabama-Huntsville on the road.
Michigan (#19) hosts Wisconsin (#55) for a two game series Friday (7:30 FSD+) and Saturday (4:00 BTN). Obviously a MUST SWEEP SERIES. Wisconsin is entering the series as the #55 team (out of 59 teams) in the country and sit dead last in the B1G standings.
Around the B1G: Michigan State (t#33) goes on the road again this time out to Minnesota (#10) for a Thursday (9:00 BTN) and Friday night (9:00 BTN) series. State needs to pick up some points if they want to keep themselves close to the top teams in conference and potentially grab a bye to the second day of the B1G tournament. Penn State (t#25) goes down to Columbus for a Friday (6:30 BTN) and Saturday (7:00) series against Ohio State (#43) and they need to win both to keep their conference title hopes strong.
Non-conference foes: American International (#58) has a home and home series with Army (#57), RPI (#48) welcomes Clarkson (#38) in on Friday night and St. Lawrence (#20) Saturday night. BC (#9) goes on the road to South Bend for a rivalry series with Notre Dame (#32) Friday and Saturday. BU (#6) has a home and home series with Northeastern (#t#21) (the same team that they beat 4-3 in overtime Monday night). Lowell (#16) stays at home to take on Vermont (t#17) in a series of top 20 teams who are fighting for a chance at an at-large bid. New Hampshire (#35) hosts Merrimack (t#29) for a two game series Friday and Saturday. Ferris State (#37) hosts Bemidji State (t#25) for 2. Michigan Tech (#5) goes on the road with a solid chance to help Michigan's RPI as they travel to Mankato to take on the #1 team Minnesota State for two games.
Other games of note: Harvard (t#17) hosts Quinnipiac (t#11) Friday. Yale (#15) hosts Colgate (t#21) Friday and Cornell (31) Saturday. Miami (#4) travels to Denver (#7) for two games. Nebraska-Omaha (#8) travels up north to take on Minnesota-Duluth (#3) twice.
1. Michigan 27pts 9-5-0-0
2. Minnesota 27pts 8-3-3-0
3. Michigan State 25pts 7-5-2-2
4. Penn State 25pts 8-5-1-0
5. Ohio State 12pts 4-10-0-0
6. Wisconsin 10pts 2-10-2-2
1. Minnesota State
2. North Dakota
5. Michigan Tech
6. Boston university
9. Boston College
13. Bowling Green
14. St.Cloud State
20. St. Lawrence
t25 PENN STATE
t33 MICHIGAN STATE
35. New Hampshire
37. Ferris State
43. OHIO STATE
58. American International
Points (B1G rank)
t3 (1) Zach Hyman 43
t11 (2) Dylan Larkin 38
t11 (2) Zach Hyman 18
t6 (2) Dylan Larkin 26
t10 (3) Zach Hyman 25
Team Offense #1 (1) 3.96 Goals per Game
Team Defense #40 (4) 3.00 Goals per Game
Power Play #5 (2) 23.23%
Penalty Kill t#33 (2) 81.9%
I ran some tests on a Pairwise simulator and if Michigan sweeps Wisconsin it looks like worst case scenario (non-conference opponents lose, teams around Michigan win) Michigan remains #19 and one of the better case scenarios (with help of some reasonable upsets and favourable outcomes from non-conference opponents and teams around Michigan) the Wolverines could move up into the 15th spot. A reasonable outcome this weekend would leave Michigan a couple spots shy and rank #17 before next weeks series at Penn State. The hopes for an at-large ARE NOT DEAD!
In the glow of Sunday's gloriousness, one disturbing item was nearly washed out, the hockey team's inconceivable loss to Ohio St on Friday night. Needing a strong finish to the season to ensure an at-large bid chance, majority opinion was that a non-sweep this weekend was life-threatening (see "Sweep or Die" in Brian's preview).
With the split instead of a sweep, the predicatble happened. Michigan dropped a couple slots all the way down to 20th in Pairwise Rankings (PWR) and are by first blush out of consideration for an at-large bid (see PWR here http://www.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-rankings/d-i-men/grid/#Michigan). With the way the NCAA tourney works, you basically have to be higher than 14th to have any confidence of an at-large bid. 16 teams are taken and usually the 15th and 16th slots if not more are taken by conference tourney winners outside the Top 16. This year, there's guaranteed to be one bid stolen from the Top 16 PWR teams, the spot going to the American Hockey champion (right now Robert Morris has secured the regualr season title, and sit at 23 in the PWR).
PWR is essentially a 3-part process where you compare your selves against other teams: RPI (a percentage measure of a team's strength based on record, road wins, and strength of schedule), Common Opponents, and Head-to-head.
While the situation is bad, it's not impossible to see Michigan *even at this point* getting an at-large bid. Assuming Michigan needs to get to at least 15 for an at-large slot, looking at Michigan directly on the PWR matrix, there are 5 teams ahead of us. I list them below with the PWR score, and what they're winning the comparison on:
14. St Cloud St, 0-1, RPI, .5349-.5457
15. Yale, 0-1, RPI, .5349-.5441
16. Harvard, 0-2, RPI & Common opponents
17. UMass-Lowell, 1-2, RPI (.5349-.5374) & Common opponent- note we win head to head
18. Vermont, .0-1, RPI, .5349-.5388
19. St Lawrence, 0-2, RPI (.5349-.5364) & common opponent
So realistically, a delta more than 0.02 in RPI at this point in the season is too much to make up and a common opponent comparison is pretty much set in stone at this point unless you're talking about someone else in your own conference. But Yale, UMass-Lowell, Vermont, and St Lawrence are all only 1 comparison flip away from us jumping them, and it's so bunched up with the difference in RPI so low, there's still a chance. Since we stil have 2 away games against Penn St coming up, the bonus points for a road win that go into RPI still put us in play. If Michigan St keeps improving, we might even be eligilble to gaba bonus road win point adjustment from that Friday night game at Munn on the last regular season weekend.
Basically there's a multi-part formula that's still in play for us to get an at-large slot. It is:
- Go 5-1 / 6-0 to end the regular season. A sweep against Penn St is a necessity. No more room for error.
- Hope Harvard loses to BC tonight (common opponent) and then everybody else from St Cloud St through St Lawrence play middling hockey to end the regular season
- We need to beat Penn St (more likely after this weekend they're going to be a 3 seed) in a BTT Semifinal. We could lose in the final, but only to Minnesota as long as they're sufficiently high in the PWR (and they are right now). Any other B1G team wins the tourney besides Minnesota and we're out for at-large consideration.
- Hope everybody on that list from 14-19 above lose early in their conference tournaments. No semi or finals appearances for them.
We probably can make up enough ground with a winning streak and a BTT finals appearance to flip a single RPI against msot of these teams. The bugaboo would appear to be Harvard-- but they may play themselves into an at-large if they get up to 14. An American Hockey cinderella story isn't going to affect us, and one possible advantage of the B1G being so down, is that each other "big" conference (Hockey East, ECAC, NCHC, WCHA) have most of their contending teams already significantly above us, so it'd have to be a REAL cinderella run by a lower team from those conferences to "steal" another slot. I think we're looking at a tournament this year where the 15 team in PWR gets in as teh last at-large slot.
This is stil highly volatile and Michigan does not have its destiny in its own hands. I'm still of the belief that if we would have swept this weekend, we probably would be at 16 or even 15 in PWR and could have essentially controlled our destiny to an at-large. Now we need help. But it's not impossible.
UPDATE (2/24): With Harvard's loss to BC in the Beanpot 3rd place game, that helped us in two ways:
1. Harvard losing knocked their RPI down a little
2. BC and BU winning actually bumped up our RPI from .5349 to .5352. My back of envelope math shows we're probably within a 1 game difference of Harvard and UMass-Lowell (important for UML since we won head to head). Not sure if we can jump Vermont yet. A Vermont - UML split this weekend probably is the preferred result.
Revised bottom line is that from this point out, beside Michigan finishing 6-0 or 5-1 with a BTT Finals appearance, cheer like hell for Michigan Tech (easy), BC & BU (not so easy) to make huge runs from here on out. Their (BC & BU) improvements in winning percentage alone bumped us up Monday. They're the only OOC opponents we've played that have a realistic shot of helping us by winning a lot the rest of the season. Plus, all three are already ahead of us in PWR significantly, so a conference tourney win by either of the three helps with addition / maintenence of another at-large slot. It's still going to be tight, but the road to slot #15 is still open.
Basketball, hockey, and the game against MSU in hockey from a few weeks ago. Hockey torrent isn't quite ready yet, I'll update the OP once it is.
2015.02.22 NCAAB - Ohio State at Michigan - https://infotomb.com/vhc9a.torrent
2015.02.22 NCAAH - Ohio State at Michigan - https://infotomb.com/r98hm.torrent
2015.02.11 NCAAH - Michigan vs. Michigan State - https://infotomb.com/7b7v1.torrent
Ok folks, sorry for the long absence from the posting world. The last two home football games were just not worth writing about for much the same reason that they really weren’t worth UFR-ing—namely, basically everyone that was responsible for any student section maladies is now gone. Sure, yes, Brandon was gone, but not with enough time for anything really to change. At any event, I’ll eventually get around to some closing thoughts that might still be relevant come next year, but for this article we’re going to talk about a different student section, namely that of Yost.
I’ve had hockey season tickets for a number of years, and in that time, Yost has always been a wonderful, fantastic, electric atmosphere. There have, however, been some up and downs. The renovation was a mixed bag: brighter, cheerier motif, more room, I think the foot stomping is more effective; however, the top rows have bad visibility, and the student section is smaller. Some of the other “recent” changes:
- Moving the student section around the bend: New this year, the student section extends from about Section 19 (behind the home bench) to Section 14 (south wall next to the band). Generally speaking, this is bad. The student section used to extend along the entire east wall (minus the band). This means less raucous Yost-worthy fans near the other net, it also means that the student section is no longer contiguous (more on that later). The reasons are likely Brandonian: side seats can probably be sold for more than those behind the nets. The only benefit I’ve seen is that it makes it marginally easier to get the “GO” “BLUE” chant started by bouncing between 17 and 14 rather than across the ice.
- Too damn much music. Not much to add here, choir.
- Moving the opposing parents behind the visiting bench: This is the one I want to particularly deep dive into. This has been unequivocally the most detrimental to the fan experience at Yost since I’ve been there.
- Making the student section just plain smaller: If I had to guess, this is a money issue, but not the cost of hockey tickets. I believe this is a cost of football tickets issue. If football tickets are stretching the bank, other season tickets are the first thing to go. Hopefully we’ll see some rebound here next year.
Why the parents being there is so bad
Let’s revisit contiguity. The reason that Section 17 (the heart of the student section) is so great is because everyone is clumped together; they can feed off each other; they can exchange cheers, ideas, etc. Imagine trying to start the wave in the Big House if there were a section of OSU fans in between two parts of the student section. Yeah, that isn’t working. For the same reason that moving part of the student section to the other side of the band is bad, so is putting the opposing parents behind the visiting bench. Worse, the (albeit minimal) upside doesn’t exist because the split up sections face the same way. So now we essentially have a core student section that maxes out at a full Section 16 and 17, which is loud and proud, but fundamentally limited in size. Compare that to when I started going to hockey games, where for the big games you could expect to fill the whole east wall with people who were pretty into it.
Also there’s utilization. Even when we’re playing teams that are nearby like MSU or OSU the parent section is half empty and the students aren’t even allowed to sit in the periphery. That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18 and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs? That’s the area they want to be filming—they want to show the crazy passion fans have in promo materials. And now they take a picture and it looks like the student section abruptly fades to empty silver bleachers. Great planning that is.
Finally, it is just a fundamentally bad idea that has actually led to altercations and fisticuffs in the stands. I would love to have been at the meeting where this was pitched.
“Alright team, what if we move the opposing parents into the student section?”
“Dave, that’s insane.”
“I regret to inform all of you that Phillip will no longer be working with us. Does anyone else have thoughts about the move?”
“Seeing none, meeting adjourned.”
But actually, what type of sane human being hears that and doesn’t immediate respond “that’s actually insane”? Since the move, I’ve seen mortified parents trying to shield their children from the “cya” cheer. I’ve seen a UMass-Lowell parent push a UM student down the stairs. And just this evening I watched an OSU parent come up and jab a student in the chest. Fortunately—I suppose—I was close enough to observe the whole incident. From what I could tell the “instigation”, if you want to call it that, was that the student observed (albeit quite loudly) that OSU’s goal to make it 5-2 UM with like 30 seconds left would have no bearing on the outcome of the game (I must admit, he did have a point). What baffled me though was that this parent was not immediately escorted from the building, nor even the section. Worse still, event staff got on this student’s case and threatened to kick him out of future games if there were any complaints (despite nearby students asserting that he hadn’t done anything wrong). To be fair, most of my experiences with event staff folks have been positive, but I’ve also had a number like this, where one event staffer can sour the whole experience for the fans, which is a real shame.
Now, were there other things said that may have irritated the opposing parents? Probably. It is the Yost student section after all. But, really, that’s the point. Yost is a great place because the fans, especially the students, are insane and make it a loud and intimidating place to play. Putting the opposing parents in the middle of the students is asking for trouble, and that request has been answered too many times. It’s time to undo this tragedy of basic judgment and move the parents somewhere else.
Michigan's first home game at Yost since they potatoed Minnesota, 7-5 after they beat them in Basketball that same day. That was 42 days ago.
Doubleheader, but a new opponent. Who Michigan just beat in Basketball.
Right the wrongs from the last hockey game. Beat them. PLAY OUR GAME.
Puck drop: 5pm
TV: FSN Plus