Weird thing happened yesterday - North Dakota and Minnesota got bumped off the pairwise due a couple teams winning their conference tournaments.
This is a good thing for Michigan, as it bumped us up to 8 in the pairwise. The NCAA will reveal the bracket at Noon EST today.
CHN article/bracket project - https://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2018/03/17_Bracket-ABCs-Final-Projection.php
Beating Northeastern is certainly doable, beating St. Cloud State in Minnesota would be an uphill battle...But it's college hockey playoffs - anything can happen!
In other news, ND beats Ohio 3 - 2 in OT, with upsets in all the conference finals, (including Michigan Tech over Northern for WCHA title)
Gophers are out.
Big Ten has 4 teams of the 16 in post-season, equalling the 4 hoop teams in the 68 team post-season.
So the NCAA PairWise Predictor is up and running finally. It allows you to fill in winners and it shows you how it affects seeding. If I have done this correctly, UM cannot fall to less than a 3 seed and is in the tourney no matter what happens with the rest of the teams. Even if all the autobids are stolen by teams who need them, UM still gets an at large bid.
Michigan's done in the B1G tournament (which has been really good this year, for the first time in the hockey history of the conference). Crucially, so are a fair number of other teams: The seeding picture is rounding into shape.
Per collegehockeynews.com's Pairwise Probability Matrix, Michigan still has an 18% chance of sliding into the 8th spot, which would be the last 2 seed. That's not likely, though. MIchigan has an impressive 52% chance to finish at 9th and a 26% chance to stay at where they are at 10th. Why are they likely to move up? Providence and Northeastern, which are both narrowly ahead of Michigan, play each other next weekend in the Hockey East semis, and one of them has to lose.
There is almost no (3%, precisely) chance that they slide further. If Clarkson (currently 11th) passes them that will be offset by either Providence or Northeastern, and the next two teams behind them are Penn State and Minnesota, over which MIchigan holds unassailable PWR comparison leads due to head-to-head record.
The upshot? Michigan has a small chance at a 2 seed, but is likely going to be a high 3 seed in the tournament. The committee has the option to switch around 2-3 pairings for regional and conference issues, but they prefer not to if it's avoidable. It looks like the only real factors in these seedings will be avoiding a Providence-Northeastern conference rematch and the requirement to place Penn State in Allentown.
So, by my reckoning, Michigan is probably looking at UMD or the winner of Northeastern-Providence, with small chances for other matchups. If they do indeed dodge Denver, that is good. By straight seeding, Michigan at 9 playing UMD at 8 would be bracketed with St. Cloud State and whomever wins the Atlantic conference. That's pretty brutal; it wouldn't hurt Michigan to stay at 10, draw the Northeastern-Providence winner, and get bracketed with Cornell or Notre Dame.
Regarding other stuff, OSU seems like a fair bet as the lowest #1 seed to get placed in Sioux Falls and play North Dakota. Penn State is required to go to Allentown and might bring Minnesota with them. That PSU match might be a game against Minnesota State (congratulations, Mankato! Every time you have a good season, the horrible NCAA tournament format means you get the shaft!) and Notre Dame (if MInnesota is not a 4 seed there) or Cornell as the 1.
tl;dr Michigan is probably a high 3 seed. Likely to play UMD, or perhaps the Providence-Northeastern winner.
*NOTE: Corsi numbers now UPDATED and correct.
Analysis: So, I cannot comment on the Corsi because I don’t know what it looks like with the power plays taken out. I am pretty sure this will be relatively accurate as I don’t remember Michigan registering many power play attempts on net.
It was not one of Michigan’s better offensive games by volume, but they had a number of good chances. Quinn Hughes was unbelievably unlucky tonight. He hit the post twice and barely missed the net on another wide open shot from the slot. The DMC line was dominant. When they were on the ice, OSU struggled to get the puck out of the zone, gave up many good looks at the net, and struggled to skate. As the lines filtered down, OSU’s chances increased.
The Wolverines didn’t have an overwhelming offensive performance, but they played well enough and created enough chances to win. Sean Romeo just played up to his standard, and Michigan drew an unfriendly post. Also, Cooper Marody’s goal in the second period might have been the Goal of the Year. He grabbed the puck, dropped it, got tripped, twisted his body, and roofed it over Romeo.
[More after THE JUMP]
While watching olympic women's hockey, my wife asked me why Michigan doesn't have a women's hockey team. I did not have an answer. All of the olympians came from Minnesota, BC, North Dakota, etc. (i.e. traditional hockey powers). I'm skeptical it's money because we know the athletic department prints money and they could find a donor if needed. It would be a Title IX bonus, allowing an additional men's program if needed?
Today's Chicago Tribune has an article on the possibility of starting up a men's hockey team at the University of Illinois.
The opening sentence really says it all:
A study on the feasibility of using an NCAA men’s ice hockey team at the University of Illinois reached a clear conclusion: Go for it.
“The strong consensus of everyone involved in college hockey is that NCAA men’s hockey will flourish at the University of Illinois,” Mike Snee, executive director of College Hockey Inc., said in a statement the university released. “From the number of native Illinois players currently playing college hockey to the continued growth of youth hockey players in the state, there are many reasons to be confident that the Fighting Illini could quickly become a top national program and sustain it every year.”
Personally, I doubt how quickly Illinois could become a "top national program." Having said that, I like the idea of adding an 8th team to the Big 10. And I am pretty irritated at the NCAA tournament always being out East, except for the rare occasions it is in Minnnesota or Colorado. Michigan has been shafted, period. But man, having the NCAA tourney choose sites in the Big 10 footprint at Big 10 rinks (YOST!) would be awesome. Or, having the tourney use the home ice of the Red Wings or the Blackhawks would also be great. You can fill the stands in Detroit or Chicago, especially if Michigan, ND, MSU, Wisconsin, OSU and eventually Illinois are playing.
I was curious about one stat in the article: it claimed that Illinois had the 6th largest size youth hockey leagues, comparing states. In googling this, Illinois came in 8th, not 6th. But Michigan was a solid 2nd, and the quote was very positive:
As far as top level NHL players go, Michigan may rank as the best state in the country. Along with the great traditions at Michigan State and the University of Michigan, the Detroit Red Wings are quite possibly the most popular hockey team in America.
EDIT: Of course, Minnesota is number 1 in terms of youth hockey participation. It almost goes without saying. And I suppose if you included Canada, they would have far, far greater youth participation in hockey than all states.