Friday Night Open Thread: Predictions For Tonight's Five Games With NSR's Simulator

With five games on the schedule tonight (all broadcast on WNBA LiveAccess), we'll have the standard links and schedule format for tonight's open thread.

But Ed Bemiss of National Sports Rankings also sent along his 2012 WNBA simulator, which can predict the day's games.

The simulator works by taking Bemiss' power rankings and simulating results.

As of yesterday, those power rankings were as follows:

Minnesota Lynx
-
82.1
Indiana Fever
-
78
Connecticut Sun
-
77
Los Angeles Sparks
-
76.6
Seattle Storm
-
76.3
Atlanta Dream
-
75.5
Chicago Sky
-
75.2
San Antonio Silver Stars
-
75
New York Liberty
-
73.7
Phoenix Mercury
-
71
Washington Mystics
-
70
Tulsa Shock
-
66

The predictions - based on a team's likelihood of winning - are as follows based on those power rankings.

Game 1: Indiana Fever vs. Connecticut Sun

7 p.m. EDT

Preview: WNBA.com preview

Prediction: Indiana Fever 62.67% Connecticut Sun 37.33%

This figures to be one of the better games of the night, despite the lopsided prediction. Although neither team has rebounded particularly well this season - meaning someone will have to win that battle tonight, which could swing in the Sun's favor given the presence of center Tina Charles - the most significant difference between the two teams has been that the Fever have been a significantly more efficient scoring team.

Game 2: Washington Mystics vs. New York Liberty

7 p.m. EDT

Preview: WNBA.com preview

Prediction: New York Liberty 50.31% Washington Mystics 49.69%

Ben Standig of CSN Washington has alread considered this a must-win for Washington and that makes a lot of sense: in an early-season battle between two teams that have three wins between them, it's an opportunity for the Mystics to prove to people that they can pull themselves out of the Eastern Conference cellar. While the Liberty are hard to figure out - they've been a much different team in their two wins - the Mystics have a clear advantage on the boards that could work in their favor.

Game 3: Atlanta Dream vs. San Antonio Silver Stars

7:30 p.m. EDT

Preview: SB Nation Atlanta preview/storystream

Prediction: Atlanta Dream 57.02% San Antonio Silver Stars 42.98%

The Silver Stars have really been struggling to rebound, as expected, but they also have a better offensive rebounding differential this season than last. The problem for them thus far has been scoring consistently and efficiently and as a perimeter-oriented team, the Dream's athleticism could conceivably give them some problems.

Game 4: Chicago Sky vs. Tulsa Shock

8:30 p.m. EDT

Preview: WNBA.com preview

Prediction: Chicago Sky 80.34% Tulsa Shock 19.66%

Tulsa is still looking for their first win and although things look bleak for them to get it tonight, there is at least one reason for hope: turnovers. Nobody forces a higher turnover rate than the Shock and the Sky have been among the most turnover prone teams in the league.

Game 5: Los Angeles Sparks vs. Phoenix Mercury

11 p.m. EDT

Preview: WNBA.com preview

Prediction: Los Angeles Sparks 82.2% Phoenix Mercury 17.8%

It's likely that most people on the East coast will be heading to bed before seeing the outcome of this one and the statistics suggest they'll be able to rest soundly with little doubt about the outcome of this one. What might still be moderately interesting about this game is that both teams have been outshot by opponents thus far this season. Obviously, someone has to shoot better today.

For more links with previews for today's games, check out our Friday links. As usual, feel free to put your own links, insights, and observations in the comments below.

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