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!