Michigan Hockey: Got a Question from the Message board — Part I
From one of our loyal posters DaytonBlue: Thanks for all the hockey coverage, YostMeister. How are we (Michigan) looking for the tournament this year?
Right now it is too early to say. They are not a lock by any means. They currently sit T12th in the PWR- which is the indicator of the top 16 teams that make the tourney. Playing MSU at this stage doesn’t help them because MSU is lousy. Losing to them is devastating (like it was losing twice to Penn State) because of the PWR hit you take. Their play is still not where it needs to be to make a long consistent run, and they are nicked up.
Win tonight and they’ll probably stay at 12th. Next weekend will have huge implications because they’ll have #1 Minnesota at Yost for 2 games to end the regular season. Any favorable outcome will jump them up. A split is realistic, but a sweep by Minnesota could put them on the bubble but not completely out.
By that I mean they will be in danger of being knocked out of the last at large slots (13-16, 4th seeds) by teams that cannot qualify to the NCAA other than by winning their conference tournaments. I suspect at least one slot- the Atlantic Hockey tourney champion- will take the 16th slot because none of the teams in that league qualify for an at large spot right now.
That leaves 13-15. Will there be other upsets in the conference tourneys? I would place a bet that the most likely would be in the WCHA.
WCHA: Where Minnesota State could upset Ferris State . Right now, Ferris has an at large spot (6th) , but Minnesota State is just barely in, tied for 15th in PWR with two other teams and has the edge only by RPI. Minnesota State wins, they would be guaranteed a spot, probably the 15th slot. That is not to say another WCHA could upset its way in, too.
NCHC: already has SCSU (T3rd) and North Dakota (9th) firmly in, but Minnesota-Duluth is one of the teams tied at 15th with Minn State- but is technically out right now. So, if anyone other than SCSU or UND win the NCHC tourney, someone else will get bumped out. So that could be the 14th slot. (Or 15th because that would bump Minn State up to 14th.)
Hockey East: BC is dominant right now, but you don’t play the games on paper. This appears to be the most potent conference in college hockey right now. They have five- that is right- five teams qualified right now. BC (2) UMass Lowell (8) Notre Dame (10) Providence (11) and Vermont who is tied with Michigan at 12th, but based on RPI is 13th. Northeastern is the 3rd team T15th and is technically out right now unless they move up by winning. So, will there be a team NOT qualified in HEA that wins their tourney? Not likely, but you never know. Vermont could slip out of their 13th slot if they don’t finish the season strong, too.
ECAC: Ah yes, the league no one respects. Last season they had the two finalists in the NCAA championship game. This season, they have 3 teams in tourney right now. #3 Union and #7 Quinnipiac (who lost to Yale in the NCAA championship game last season.) Cornell is hanging on at #14, so they basically have to win their conference tourney to qualify. If they do, another at large spot is swallowed up, which would the 13th slot. Personally, I don’t see it happening. Union and Qu are really strong.
In Part II, YostMeister will tackle the Big Ten Conference.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — YostMeister
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