So it’s down to one last day. After two days of games, there are some certainties that we can count on.
• 14 teams are now locks for the tournament.
• Ohio State and Wisconsin took two of those spots after the last two days.
• There are two spots left in the tournament, one for the winner of the AHA championship and one on the bubble.
• That bubble now consists of just three teams: Dartmouth, Vermont and Colgate.
How did we get to this point and how do we determine the last spot in the tournament?
Ohio State: The Buckeyes played their way into the NCAA tournament, helped along by Alaska-Fairbanks. With the Nanooks winning their CCHA quarterfinal game against Northern Michigan, they became a Team Under Consideration (TUC) and added two wins to the Buckeyes’ TUC criterion. OSU’s semifinal win over Michigan State Friday night made for a total of three “new” TUC wins in one day. That was enough to turn a few comparisons and put Ohio State into the NCAAs.
Wisconsin: The Badgers couldn’t play their way into the nationals, losing Thursday night to North Dakota in the WCHA play-in game, but still got in after three things happened Friday — we can look to Atlantic Hockey and the ECACHL for those. With Colgate losing, Brown dropped out of any chance being a TUC, hurting Colgate and Dartmouth by taking away four potential TUC wins for Colgate and two for Dartmouth. Then, with Mercyhurst and Quinnipiac winning semifinal games, it guaranteed the Badgers would get more help — either adding two TUC wins by Mercyhurst winning the AHA, or gaining an edge on Dartmouth with Quinnipiac winning and adding a TUC loss to the Big Green. The Badgers are now locked into the NCAAs.
The Bubble: The bubble is now officially just Vermont, Colgate and Dartmouth. A Colgate win or tie gives the Raiders the last spot, while a loss by Colgate gives it to Dartmouth, except in one certain scenario. As of right now, Colgate wins the comparison over Dartmouth, and the teams are tied in PWR comparison wins. If Colgate beats or ties Vermont, it keeps the comparison win over Vermont and therefore the edge on the Big Green. If Colgate loses to Vermont, it gives the comparison win to Vermont, dropping Colgate out of the tie with Dartmouth for the last spot in the nationals.
But Vermont does have a chance. It’s this simple. If Colgate wins or ties, the Raiders are in. If Colgate loses, Dartmouth is in — unless Alaska-Fairbanks and Quinnipiac win as well.
That takes care of who is in the field, if you want to know where teams might be seeded, that’s another story. Go over to You Are The Committee to check out what can happen.
Some questions still to be answered:
• Will Cornell jump to a No. 1 seed? (It can — try putting in if either BC or Denver loses.)
• Are any teams are locks for a No. 1 seed? (Look to the WCHA.)
• How high will Wisconsin go in terms of seeding? (Surprisingly high.)
One day and two spots left in the NCAAs. Then we’ll work on bracketing. Have fun on Saturday!