Big Ten Home Ice Scenarios

Posted by: Jashvina Shah

The Buckeyes clinched their first Big Ten championship. The rest of the teams are still fighting for home ice, with just four points separating teams two through five.

The Buckeyes clinched their first Big Ten championship, earning a first-round bye for the Big Ten playoffs. Minnesota also clinched home ice. There are two more home ice spots remaining, with Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin all still alive. The Badgers will play the Wolverines and the Nittany Lions will play the Fighting Irish.

This is where it gets complicated. With three points available in each game, there are six possible cumulative point totals each team could finish the weekend with, there are many different scenarios to determine who would receive home ice. The easiest thing for me to do, then, is to direct this on a point basis instead of a game basis.

Here are the points each team can finish the weekend with (the team’s current point total is in parenthesis):

Michigan (34): 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
Notre Dame (34): 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
Penn State (32): 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38
Wisconsin (28): 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

But now we have to take into account tiebreakers. The tiebreakers are as follows:

  1. B1G wins
  2. Best regular-season winning percentage against the other tied teams
  3. Team with fewest Big Ten losses

For the purpose of this exercise and limited time, I only took into account the first tiebreaker. It’s also important to note that for the purpose of this tiebreaker, B1G wins refer to regulation or 5-on-5 OT wins and not the 3-on-3 OT/SO wins.

So, it’s pretty complicated (and I’m on a major time crunch). BUT I’m going to see how far I can get. I didn’t even include thelast few tie-breaking scenariosbecause I’m really hoping it doesn’t get there.

The way I calculated this (I mean problem-solved, because eh, math) is that I took each team’s possible final points total after Saturday’s games and walked back to determine if and how they would clinch with that total. (Minus UW, because that was the easiest to figure out). If you see a mistake here, PLEASE let me know!

Wisconsin (vs. Michigan):

The Badgers don’t control their own fate. Even if Wisconsin wins both games, Penn State currently has three more Big Ten wins and would win that tiebreaker. So, the Badgers need to finish with more points than Penn State. If Wisconsin won both games, they’d have the same number of points as Michigan but would win the first tiebreaker. So they’d only need more points than Penn State, which means Penn State can’t earn more than one point. That’ll be tough.

Michigan (vs. Wisconsin)

40: IN
39: IN
38: IN
37: IN
36: IN if Notre Dame earns three points or more
35: IN if ND takes two points OR PSU sweeps
34: This would happen if UW sweeps UM. Both teams would have the same number of Big Ten wins (tiebreaker No. 1) and it would move to ¬†tiebreaker No. 2. I’m waiting on clarification on that.

Notre Dame:

40: IN
39: IN
38: IN
37: IN
36: IN if UW takes 4/5 points from UM. PSU would be seeded higher than ND thanks to tiebreaker No. 1
35: IN if UW takes 5 out of 6 points from UM
34: IN if UW sweeps UM

Penn State

38: IN
37: IN
36: This one is really complicated. If this happened, PSU and ND would be tied in total points, which the series point breakdown as 4/2 ¬†in favor of PSU. Now it depends on how those points were earned. If PSU won a game in regulation/5-on-5 and lost a game in 3-on-3/SO, they’d win the first tiebreaker. But if they won two games in 3-on-3/SO, the wins would be even and we’d move to tiebreaker No. 2. But, if UW takes at least five of six points from Michigan, both teams would earn home ice.
35: IN if UW takes 5 of 6 points from UM
34: IN if UW sweeps
33: OUT
32: OUT

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