As we await the final seven games before selection Sunday, here’s where we stand.
St. Cloud State
And these teams can get into the field of 16 only by winning Saturday night’s conference championship game:
Rochester Institute of Technology
With the automatic qualifier from Atlantic Hockey and the WCHA coming from outside of the top 16 in the PairWise, the cut line will be at 12, 13 or 14.
To put it another way, a Minnesota loss in the Big Ten title game means all of Yale, Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern get into the NCAAs, even if Duluth and Northeastern lose their championship games.
A Minnesota win takes away a spot from one of those three teams, and it appears that Northeastern would be the first team out unless it wins the Hockey East title. Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern, of course, have something to say about their fates, while Yale, eliminated from the ECAC Hockey playoffs last weekend, has to wait and watch.
Here’s the schedule for Saturday’s games, with TV noted:
3:30 p.m. CDT: NCHC third-place game — Denver vs. North Dakota
6 p.m. EDT: WCHA — Ferris State vs. Minnesota State (FSN)
7 p.m. EDT: Hockey East — Northeastern vs. UMass-Lowell (NBCSN, NESN)
7 p.m. EDT: Atlantic Hockey — RIT vs. Robert Morris (TWCS)
7:30 p.m. EDT: ECAC Hockey — Harvard vs. Quinnipiac (ASN)
7 p.m. CDT: Big Ten — Michigan vs. Minnesota (BTN)
7:30 p.m. CDT: NCHC championship — Minnesota-Duluth vs. St. Cloud State (CBSSN)
There are some interesting dynamics at play Saturday night with seeding for the No. 1s.
The way that the NCAA committee generally places the No. 1 seeds in regionals is to go in order in placing teams closest to home. In the West, the closest to home for both St. Cloud State and North Dakota is the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn., so whichever team finishes higher in the PairWise in all likelihood will be assigned there.
After trying some scenarios in the PairWise Predictor, it appears that St. Cloud State will finish ahead of North Dakota unless it loses to Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game and North Dakota wins or ties the third-place game against Denver.
Once Saturday night’s games are done, we’ll post the 16 teams projected to be in the NCAA field and then follow with Jayson Moy’s Bracketology prediction. The selection show is scheduled to air on ESPNU at noon Sunday, and we’ll be covering that with a live blog.