Check out this good article written by Chris Dilks over at Western College Hockey Blog (who comments around these parts from time to time) attempting to explain how the Michigan hockey team could start the year ranked #3 and end up in the present downward spiral. He comes to four main conclusions to explain this:
1) Early departures to the NHL and defections to the CHL
2) Hitting a recruiting bubble
3) Poor goaltending, and
4) Poor special teams (which is related to #3, which in turn could be argued is also related to #1, damn you CHL for stealing our goaltenders)
He also predicts that the tournament streak will be broken unless the team wins the CCHA tournament (i.e. there will be no at-large bid).