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.