[Ed: bump. I won't reinvent such a clear, informative wheel.]
Even though Michigan did not play, there were some interesting developments in the Pairwise rankings this weekend. For a more detailed breakdown on how the Pairwise works, see here. Michigan currently sits 4th in the Pairwise, just ahead of Denver, just like they were last week.
Major events that occurred this weekend:
- Denver lost to St. Cloud St. on Friday, dropping their RPI enough that we are still ahead of them. More importantly, we also own the TUC comparison with them. If they win out, they might pass us in RPI, but they can’t pass us in TUC by winning out (as I explain below). So if we win out, we own this comparison.
- Nebraska-Omaha is currently winning their comparison with us, by virtue of a dramatically improved TUC record (a result of Bemidji State dropping out of the TUC field). They sit tied for sixth in the Pairwise
- BC swept UNH, solidifying their comparison win against us and taking away virtually any possibility of a comparison win against a team currently above us. (The path to beating BC in our comparison is so byzantine as to be irrelevant. It is also meaningless, because it wouldn’t change which region the teams are sent to.)
- Michigan State and Ohio State were both swept. Yay! The OSU sweep cost Michigan a little bit, but it was probably worth it.
- EDIT: upsets in the ECAC tournament mean that Union plays Colgate in the quarterfinals of the ECAC playoffs. Had Union drawn 8th seed Quinnipiac, they would have had a chance at getting as many as four wins over TUCs, but now they can only get two. Since the difference in TUC record between the two teams is half a game (same ties and losses, Michigan has one more win), this means that if Michigan wins out, they can't be passed, since any team they play after this weekend would be a TUC (except, maybe, for LSSU, if they somehow get past Notre Dame). Yes, it's weird that this matters, but the important thing is that it was good for Michigan.
This weekend’s important games:
- Michigan hosts either BG or LSSU (EDIT: BG beat Northern, so we play BG). Neither are a TUC, so it would be nice to draw BG, since they are really bad, but either way, a sweep is a must.
- Denver hosts Minnesota State. Other than the Michigan series, this is the series of the weekend for Michigan fans, and your rooting interest is a little strange. Weirdly enough, you are rooting for a Denver sweep. The reason is that Minnesota State is currently just above the TUC cliff, and Denver has a 3-0-1 record against them. Also, Neb.-Omaha is 2-0 against Minnesota State. So dropping them out of the TUC field would actually help us in both comparisons. A sweep would do that; I don’t think Denver winning 2 out of 3 is enough. The improvement in RPI that Denver gets from a sweep is more than offset by the resulting precipitous drop in their TUC record, and virtually eliminates the chance that they could pass us if we win out. If Denver does lose a game, root for them to lose a second one as well.
- Neb.-Omaha hosts Bemidji State. This one is a little awkward as well. A Bemidji win makes them a TUC and really hurts UNO, but helps Denver a bit. Still, as long as we beat Denver in RPI we’re ok there, so go ahead and root for Bemidji State to get at least one win.
- Union hosts an as-yet unknown (and probably bad) ECAC team. EDIT: due to upsets in the ECAC tournament, Union plays Colgate, who is the Bowling Green of the ECAC. It also means that Union only has, at most, two more TUC games left, so if Michigan wins out, it is virtually impossible for Union to pass us. In any event root against Union in case Michigan doesn't win out. You are hoping that someone (probably Yale) eventually takes them out in the ECAC tournament.
- Merrimack hosts Maine, who just crushed them last weekend. Any wins by Maine this weekend will prevent Merrimack from passing us until at least next weekend, so root hard for Maine. This comparison is very close, and will swing Merrimack’s way if they get a sweep.
- Finally, Miami hosts either Northern or Alaska. Any Miami loss will help keep us ahead of them; those two head-to-head losses mean we have to win every comparison, so root against Miami.
Even a Michigan sweep could see them dropping down to 5th or 6th in the Pairwise. Remember that the Pairwise is very fluid, and there is still another very consequential weekend to go after this one. Go Blue!