First, if you haven’t done so already, read Matt Webb and Josh Carey’s excellent analysis of the West’s NCAA predicament. It points out the problems and highlights some solutions for the West getting three teams in the tournament in the event St. Norbert beats UW-Stout. I’ll cover the high points here, in an updated version of “A Bracketology”. You can read last week’s version here.
Once again, we’ll focus on schools still in the running and what their respective chances are:
Already In: Plattsburgh and St. Thomas have won their conference tournaments and the respective automatic bids.
A lock: St. Norbert, Elmira, Norwich. Even if these teams lose in their conference tournaments, they’re in. Elmira has locked up the Pool B bid and St. Norbert and Norwich will capture pool C bids if they don’t get their league’s AQs.
Looking Good: Manhattanville, Middlebury, Hobart. All match up very well with the remaining East teams and West teams. They should all get in if St. Norbert and Norwich win this weekend. Middlebury can earn its way in if it wins the NESCAC, paving the way for another team to get a Pool C slot.
On the bubble: UW-Stout, Oswego. The Blue Devils can of course win their way in. If not, both Stout and Oswego need Middlebury to win the NESCAC, and then it will come down to which committee makes the better case. See Webb and Carey’s analysis for details.
Remote Chance:UW-River Falls, Adrain – Both need some fudging or rethinking of the Western Rankings – for example, the addition of Finlandia and UW-Stevens Point. Once again, Webb and Carey have the details.
Must Win their AQ: New England, Salem State, Mass-Boston, Mass-Dartmouth, Nichols, Colby, Amherst, Trinity.
So how do I think it will shake out? I’m predicting the following:
ECAC East: Norwich
ECAC Northeast: UMass-Dartmouth
NCHA: St. Norbert
ECAC West: Elmira (no AQ)
Pool B: Elmira
Pool C: Manhattanville, Hobart, Oswego/Stout (too close to call).
If it’s Oswego:
Mass-Dartmouth at Manhattanville
Oswego at Hobart (but I can see this changing to Hobart at Oswego – bigger rink, bigger $$$)
Mass-Dartmouth/Manhattanville at Elmira
Oswego/Hobart at Plattsburgh
Middlebury at Norwich
St. Thomas at St. Norbert
If it’s Stout:
Mass-Dartmouth at Hobart
UW-Stout at St. Thomas
Mass-Dartmouth/Hobart at Elmira
Manhattanville at Plattsburgh
Middlebury at Norwich
St. Thomas/UW-Stout at St. Norbert
I’ll be watching these events unfold from afar while broadcasting Holy Cross at RIT in the AHA quarterfinals best of three series. Check back for an update sometime this weekend.