Saturday’s championship (and 3rd place) games caused a couple of changes to the final Pairwise rankings. Michigan had already locked up the #2 overall seed, but there were still a few spots up for grabs entering play on Saturday, and in a couple instances, teams could have ended up as high as #3 overall, and as low as #10 or #11. Here are Saturday’s results:
CCHA championship: Western Michigan beat Michigan
CCHA 3rd place: Miami beat BG
Atlantic Hockey championship: Air Force beat RIT
ECAC championship: Union beat Harvard
ECAC 3rd place: Cornell beat Colgate
Hockey East championship: BC beat Maine
WCHA championship: North Dakota beat Denver
As a result of these…er...results, here are the final Pairwise rankings:
- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Ferris State
- Boston University
- Western Michigan
- Michigan State
- Air Force
The bracketing starts by placing the top four teams in the closest regional, then doing the #2, #3, and #4 seeds so that there are no intraconference matchups in the first round, and to try and have “bracket integrity,” meaning the first round has 1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, etc. and the second round would have 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc. The two things that can draw things away from bracket integrity are 1) host schools, which in this case means Minnesota, which must be placed in St. Paul, and 2) attendance considerations, so that a couple of 2 or 3 seeds might be switched to ensure better attendance at regionals, and to prevent things like an Eastern regional from having mostly Western teams. With that in mind, here is the bracket I have come up with:
1. Boston College
16. Air Force
9. Boston University 10. Maine
St. Paul, MN
4. North Dakota
14. Western Michigan
10. Maine 9. Boston University
Green Bay, WI
6. Ferris State
15. Michigan State
EDIT: switched BU and Maine to keep the 8-9 and 7-10 matchups in the first round.
This is pretty much the bracket I posted yesterday, but with Western and State switched as a result of Western winning the CCHA. It is also possible that Michigan (along with Cornell) could get put in St. Paul for better bracket integrity. That would basically switch the Michigan-Cornell game with the North Dakota-Western game. I really don’t think this will happen though, since you’d be giving the #2 seed a more distant regional, a more difficult than expected first round game, and a host school in the second round. That’s a trifecta of screwing that I don’t think even the NCAA selection committee is capable of. Plus, the attendance setup is probably better with Michigan in Green Bay and North Dakota in St. Paul.
The Cornell matchup is pretty much a given in the first round. I mentioned this in comments to another post this morning, but that is a pretty tough matchup. Cornell has six shutouts on the year (including their game Saturday), and simply don’t give up a lot of goals (only gave up more than three goals six times all year). They have also had 10 of their last 20 games go to overtime, so be prepared for a close, white-knuckle finish.
So there is my bracket prediction. We’ll find out how right I am tomorrow at noon on ESPNU when the brackets are announced. Go Blue!
Michigan's 3-2 win over Bowling Green in the second overtime advances them to the CCHA championship game against Western Michigan. It also officially secured a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. In fact, it looks like the second overall seed has been locked up, as just about every game in the country went Michigan's way. Here's what happened on Friday around college hockey:
CCHA tournament: Besides Michigan over BG, Western Michigan defeated Miami. That probably drops the RedHawks out of a #1 seed, which is a little unfortunate.
WCHA tournament: Denver beat Duluth, and North Dakota beat Minnesota. Both results were good for Michigan, and ensure that no WCHA team can pass Michigan after tomorrow's games. That should lock up the #1 slot in Green Bay for Michigan, as long as the committee doesn't decide to put us in St. Paul to screw us.
Hockey East: BC beat Providence, but BU lost to Maine. This is also good, because we couldn't pass BC anyway, and now BU can't pass us.
So what does it all mean? Well, a lot can change tomorrow, but Michigan is probably the second overall seed in the tournament, and they should be placed in the closest regional, which is Green Bay. The opponent depends on other results, most notably the ECAC 3rd place game between Cornell and Colgate. Should Cornell win or tie,, we will probably face them in the first round. Should they lose to Colgate, the 13th, 14th, and 15th seeds could all be CCHA teams, in which case we would draw the Atlantic Hockey champ in the first round. Another scenario is if Harvard beats Union in the ECAC finals, they steal a bid (possibly from MSU), and we could end up matched up with Harvard.
As for the other teams in our region, it all depends on tomorrow's games; I have seen some scenarios that end up with Miami as #3 overall, and some that have Miami as #10, so a lot can change. I ran a scenario with most of the higher seeds winning, and came up with the bracket below. Note: should Michigan lose tomorrow, the only change in this bracket would be that MSU and Western would be switched. Changes in the other results (Maine beating BC, for example) would have much more drastic effects.
1. Boston College
16. Atlantic Hockey champ
4. North Dakota
14. Michigan State
9. Boston University
6. Ferris State
15. Western Michigan
The bracket integrity is a little off because Minnesota had to be placed in St. Paul, and first intraconference matchups had to be avoided. It should get good attendance to each regional, including Bridgeport, as Union and Lowell are reasonably close.
I’ll have another post up after tomorrow’s games with a final look at the pairwise standings before the actual brackets come out on Sunday. Go Blue!
USCHO's annual pairwise predictor is up and running now that Denver has beat Wisconsin. It can be found at http://www.uscho.com/rankings/pwp/
The concept is that you can choose who wins each game of each conference tourney's final weekend, and it will spit out what the pairwise rankings will be. Michigan needs to be a top 4 in the pairwise to get a #1 overall seed. I have run one scenario, which I envision to be a worst case scenario for Michigan and can get them down to a three way tie for third, and we lose the threeway tiebreak, as we have the lowest RPI of the three. My scenario is as follows, if anyone is able to get us lower that'd be interesting as well. It'd also be interesting to see how likely it is for both Michigan and Minnesota to be #1 seeds, as well as watching the 3 CCHA teams on the bubble.
- Semifinal #2: RIT defeats Niagara
- Semifinal #1: Air Force defeats Mercyhurst
- Championship game: Air Force defeats RIT
- Semifinal #2: Western Michigan defeats Miami
- Semifinal #1: Bowling Green defeats Michigan
- Championship game: Western Michigan defeats Bowling Green
- Consolation game: Miami defeats Michigan
- Semifinal #2: Cornell defeats Harvard
- Semifinal #1: Union defeats Colgate
- Championship game: Union defeats Cornell
- Consolation game: Harvard defeats Colgate
- Semifinal #2: Boston University defeats Maine
- Semifinal #1: Boston College defeats Providence
- Championship game: Boston University defeats Boston College
- Play-in #2: Denver defeats Michigan Tech
- Play-in #1: North Dakota defeats St. Cloud State
- Semifinal #2: Minnesota-Duluth defeats Denver
- Semifinal #1: Minnesota defeats North Dakota
- Championship game: Minnesota defeats Minnesota-Duluth
With a sweep over Notre Dame this weekend, Michigan accomplished two things. First, they ended the Irish's season, but more importantly, they just about locked up a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. I think it would take Ferris winning today followed by Michigan getting swept at the Joe, and Minnesota beating Duluth in the WCHA tournament final, just to drop Michigan to the top #2 seed. Michigan currently sits 2nd in the Pairwise, and I think this would be Michigan's bracket if things ended today:
2. Michigan vs. 16. Atlantic Hockey champ
8. Minnesota vs. 10. Union
Alternatively, Michigan could be sent to Green Bay, with this bracket:
2. Michigan vs. 16 AHA champ
5. Miami vs. 12. Denver
I think the committee goes with the first one, because it provides both better bracket integrity (closer to having 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc), and it puts a strong draw (Duluth) in Green Bay.
The good news is that, with two CCHA teams in the top 4, and two in the 13-15 range, the committee will have to match Michigan up with the Atlantic Hockey champ in order to avoid having an intraconference matchup in the first round. This is why that second overall spot that Michigan currently has is so important, because it gives them a shot at a much easier first round game.
There are a few games today that could have an effect of the pairwise rankings. Obviously the Ferris-BG game will have implications, both for the pairwise and to decide who Michigan plays next week at the Joe. The other game to watch is game 3 of the Harvard-Yale series. As I mentioned yesterday, we want Yale to be below the "TUC cliff", meaning an RPI of 0.500, in order to assure that we win the comparison against Cornell. Yale's 2OT loss last night dropped them below that level for the time being. A Harvard win today will end Yale's season and keep them below the TUC cliff. A Yale win will cause us to lose the comparison with Cornell and drop us out of the #2 overall slot, at least until next weekend.
Rooting guide: Definitely root for Harvard over Yale. I'm rooting for Maine over Merrimack to keep both Western and State in the tournament; it's not that I want State in, but their presence gets Michigan an easier first-round opponent, so I'm ok with it. Finally, although you can make a case the other way, I'm also rooting for Ferris over BG to give Michigan a better chance to earn that #2 overall seed.
We are now just over a week away from hockey's Selection Sunday, and Michigan sits tied for third place in the pairwise rankings. So Michigan beat Notre Dame last night and...dropped? Here's what happened yesterday that is of any importance:
Michigan beat Notre Dame in 2OT. BC beat UMass 2-1. BU lost to UNH in OT. Duluth beat Minnesota State. Ferris lost to BG in OT. Yale beat Harvard. Niagara beat Robert Morris.
Two of those don't look like the others. Why do those last two games matter to Michigan? With their wins, Yale and Niagara are now the last two teams above the "TUC cliff," meaning their RPI scores are just above 0.500 and so they count as Teams Under Consideration for the tournament. With record against TUCs counting as a major factor in the pairwise rankings, which teams are actually part of this record can have a big impact.
It turns out that Cornell is 2-0 against Yale, so they now (for the time being) have two wins against TUCs that they didn't have yesterday. Also, UMass (whom Cornell lost to earlier in the season) dropped below the TUC cliff, with an RPI of 0.4999. This puts Cornell's TUC record at 8-3-3 for a winning percentage of 0.679. Yesterday, it was 6-4-3, for a winning percentage of 0.577. That improvement in TUC record gives Cornell the overall comparison over Michigan, as they also had a better record against common opponents. The only ways this can change are by Cornell losing to some TUCs or by changing who the TUCs are. So in order to win the comparison with Cornell, we are rooting for the following:
1. Harvard to beat Yale tonight. This would probably drop Yale below the TUC cliff, or at least make it so that if Yale does advance in the ECAC tournament, they could more easily get knocked below the cliff. If Yale drops below the TUC cliff, their TUC record drops to 0.625, which Michigan would surpass with a win over ND tonight.
2. UMass to beat BC tonight. Umass has a win over Cornell, and currently have an RPI of 0.4999. A win tonight would ensure that they would be a TUC, and that alone would drop Cornell's TUC record to the point where they would be tied with Michigan, and below us should we beat Notre Dame tonight. That would give Michigan the overall comparison.
3. We should also be aware of how Niagara does in their tournament. Both Michigan and Cornell have a win over Niagara, so a Niagara loss would hurt both (though it hurts Cornell more). EDIT: However, we want Niagara to stay as a TUC. If we beat ND tonight, we pull ahead of Duluth thanks to overtaking them in TUC record. If we can't count that win over Niagara, we'd fall back below Duluth. Since our comparison with Duluth is going to come down to TUC record, we need every win we can get.
4. We want Duluth to lose next weekend. Their games this weekend don't matter too much, but if both Michigan and Duluth win out, Duluth
wins could win the comparison if they play TUCs both times next weekend.
We'll know a lot more about the pairwise landscape after tonight. Happy scoreboard watching, and Go Blue!
While Michigan had the weekend off, a number of the games that were played have had a pretty big effect on the Pairwise rankings. Michigan is now in a 3-way tie for second with Lowell and Duluth (and leads that group by virtue of having the best RPI of the three). Here's how that happened:
Duluth only managed one point in two games against St. Cloud. This hurt their TUC record and their RPI quite a bit, though they still win the comparison (barely) against Michigan. However, they now lose comparisons to Lowell and Minnesota.
BC won both of its games and maintains a solid RPI lead over Michigan, which is probably not going to change. That won't affect where Michigan goes, as BC will most likely end up as the #1 in Worcester, but the top overall seed gets to play the Atlantic Hockey champ in the first round, so that would be nice.
BU lost to Northeastern on Saturday. While this didn't have an immediate effect (we were already winning the comparison against BU), it might help down the road. That comparison was a precarious tie: we were winning RPI, they were winning TUCs, and our record against common opponents was a tie. The loss to Northeastern broke that tie in our favor. Also, since they might play BC in the Hockey East tournament, they had the opportunity to win the comparison with a win over BC. Now, that win won't be enough; basically, unless we suffer an RPI collapse, we have the BU comparison locked up.
At this point, it looks like the top overall seed is pretty much out of reach, but a #1 seed is very likely. If things ended today, I think we'd be the top seed in St. Paul, facing Cornell, with Minnesota-Miami likely the other regional semi. We could also get sent to Green Bay, again facing Cornell, and with Ferris-Denver probably the other semi.
Next week: CCHA quarters vs. either Notre Dame or Lake Superior. Either is a TUC, and an opportunity to improve (or hurt) our pairwise resume. Go Blue!