Could the WCHA only get three NCAA bids?

Is it realistic that the WCHA could have only three NCAA tournament bids this year? That despite the fact that the conference itself has the best overall RPI of the six conferences and has two of the top three teams in the PairWise Rankings?

As scary as it may seem, the answer to that question is yes!

Right now, only three teams from the WCHA – Minnesota, St. Cloud State and North Dakota – are in the top 14 in the PWR. Michigan Tech, which still has games to play in the WCHA Final Five, and Denver, which is eliminated from the league tournament, are both on the bubble tied for 14th with Dartmouth. Based on RPI, though, which is the tie-breaker, Dartmouth would take the final at-large bid.

Additionally, if you factor in bonus points, things get even worse. Maine, which has three quality wins that earn bonus points (two at North Dakota, one at Minnesota) would leapfrog a handful of teams to 12th (based on a .003 bonus) or possibly even 11th (based on a .005 bonus) pushing both Tech and Denver out of the picture.

None of this takes into consideration the fact that there are still potential league tournament upsets that could reduce the number of at-large bids available. If Lake Superior won the CCHA or Quinnipiac won the ECACHL titles, that would move the PWR bubble to 13 or even 12. Granted the WCHA has two teams still alive in Michigan Tech and Wisconsin, both of which can play themselves into the tournament and thus guarantee an additional bid for the conference.

Take a look at a conference breakdown, factoring in .003 bonus points, should the season end today:

Hockey East: 5 teams

CCHA: 4 teams

WCHA: 3 teams

ECACHL: 2 teams

Atlantic Hockey and CHA: 1 team each

What all of this proves is simply that, just like anyone who follows men’s basketball knows, the current formula for picking the NCAA tournament field is far from perfect. A conference as tough as the WCHA has the ability to beat itself up like we saw this weekend with both Michigan Tech and Wisconsin eliminating Colorado College and Denver, respectively, from the WCHA tournament and likley the NCAA picture.

If you don’t believe me, I strongly suggest checking out the PairWise Predictor tool that USCHO.com has now made live. It allows you to plug in multiple scenarios for which teams will win next weekend and, based on that, produces an updated version of the PWR. Outside of either Wisconsin or Michigan Tech winning the WCHA Final Five, there are very few scenarios that yield more than three NCAA berths for the WCHA.

1 COMMENT

  1. Not sure how you both ended up with a .750 winning percentage last week… 5 wins divided by number of games played, 9 does not equal 75% accuracy.

  2. There aren’t many weekends where all six teams play each other. Hope next season schedule provides more all aboard weekends.
    Nice doubleheader tonight on the BTN.

  3. I look for the Gophers to sweep, but likely not in the dominating fashion that they did last year when the Spartans visited. The Gophers are not playing good hockey right now, but the Spartans are abysmal on the road. The good news is the PP, Wilcox. The bad news is the overall play and the disappearance of the freshmen scoring that was so prevalent in the first half. Although Condon and Fasching scored after long droughts, so hopefully they are back on teack.

  4. I expect the Gophs to lose a game this weekend, they have not been playing well lately and are getting outplayed by most of their opponents. They have been very lucky of late. I see a split, but I hope they sweep

    • The Gophers lose to this MSU team? You put great faith in a very bad team from East Lansing. They will compete hard, but often times the only one who knows which end of the stick goes on the Ice is the Goaltender. Paula gives way too much love to this current coach.

      I have it Minnesota 4-0 and 5-1.

  5. Horrible that’s a goal never touch the Wisconsin goalie.NCAA needs to look at that rule.Wisconsin was getting an asswhooping and thn gets a gift of a no goal.

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