Every conference but the MIAC wrapped up its respective regular season schedules this past weekend. RIT (ECAC West), Norwich (ECAC East), Wis.-River Falls (NCHA) and Middlebury (NESCAC) reigned surpeme as the conference regular season champions for the second straight season. Gustavus Adolphus has already clinched the MIAC as well giving us the same exact five regular season champions as last year.
The biggest surprise from this past weekend for me was seeing Gustavus Adolphus lose 5-2 to St. Olaf. The Gusties have absolutely dominated the MIAC this past decade, rarely losing a game in MIAC play and especially not giving up five goals. Not sure what happened in that one other than judging from the box score Gustavus forgot there was a third period to play as St. Olaf scored five straight goals, including four in the final frame.
Even though Gustavus already has the MIAC regular season title locked up, a loss like that could end up coming back to bite them in the NCAA selection process should GAC get upset in the MIAC Tournament.
Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, let’s see how its stacking up currently.
The first public NCAA rankings were released last week by the Committee and they went as follows:
|1||Rochester Institute of Technology||19-1-1||21-1-1|
|5||St. Thomas (Minnesota)||10-5-2||11-7-2|
Now let’s try and do a little Bracketology. We know there will be eight teams that make the NCAA Tournament this year, up one this year from seven last year.
There are five automatic bids given to each of the conference tournament champions. For argument’s sake, we’ll take the regular season champion and assume they win the conference tournament as well to see how the field is shaping up currently.
ECAC East - Norwich
ECAC West – RIT
NESCAC – Middlebury
MIAC – Gustavus Adolphus
NCHA – River Falls
The rest of the field will be determined by three Pool C or at-large bids which are given to the next three best teams that don’t win their conference tournament as judged by the NCAA’s primary criteria of in-region winning percentage, strength of schedule, head to head, common opponents, and record vs. NCAA ranked teams. Secondary criteria can also be used when teams are close which includes overall winning percentage and record in last 25% of your games played in the season.
The East committee and the West committee each take their three best next teams and throw them into the pot to be considered for the three at-large spots. Amherst, Elmira, and Plattsburgh would be the East’s three teams up against Concordia (Minn.), Superior and St. Thomas.
Amherst is first compared to Concordia (Minn.)
Amherst wins the comparison handily 3-1 so the Lord Jeffs grab the first Pool C slot.
The comparison is: