Welcome back to The Ice Garden’s Bracketology column. You can follow along from home using the PWR calculator the BCI’s Grant Salzano created from scratch here; on the site you can edit past and future results to see where the rankings would end up.
This week had some major swings that did affect the PWR rankings, but they remained isolated as the brackets stayed pretty similar. As a result, a few teams are starting to move into lock positions that could be cemented in the coming weeks.
Home ice favorites
I won’t be putting anyone into locks quite yet, but these teams are clearly on the path to hosting come March.
Yes, there are five teams here, so one will certainly be travelling. The Gophers’ free falling weekend puts them about a win and a Clarkson loss out of the top four, but with possible RPI bonuses playing Wisconsin again, Minnesota could easily jump back in. Among these teams, Wisconsin is the closest to moving into a lock, taking care of business this weekend — along with some help — might push them in the right direction.
Home ice contenders
They have a chance, but everything has to go their way right now for any team in this category to host.
The Eagles aren’t playing like the Eagles of yore and will likely stay on the road unless Minnesota stumbles even harder. A big Beanpot win could move them at least into the lock for another trip to the dance, though.
There is a huge disconnect between the top six and the rest of the country, so it is doubtful anyone here or below will be hosting.
Colgate drops out due to their inability to beat anyone who is good so far this season. The RPI difference between Cornell and Quinnipiac can be measured by .0008, mostly attributed to Cornell having better win bonuses. Cornell beat the Bobcats last weekend, so they have to be given a slight edge.
These teams, while talented, are unlikely to garner the PWR comparisons they need to get in without winning their tournaments, but each has shown — both in the past and this season — flashes that could propel them into some glass slippers.
Colgate might be ranked above a few of these teams, but these teams have shown some giant killer traits; the Raiders have not. Both Northeastern and BU had atrocious weekends that all but lock them into the eighth spot if they were to steal, but they will remain here until after the Beanpot to see which, if either, of them can give Boston College a threat in a single-elimination format.
As-is current bracket
1. Wisconsin v 8. Cornell
2. St. Lawrence v 7. Robert Morris
3. Minnesota-Duluth v 6. Boston College
4. Clarkson v 5. Minnesota
Like last week, this bracket is an absolute no go. Some big changes did pop up, as Duluth and Minnesota completely flipped locations in the PWR rankings and Colgate plummeted out while Ivy League-leading Cornell popped in.
Likely current bracket
1. Wisconsin v 7. Robert Morris
2. St. Lawrence v 8. Cornell
3. Minnesota-Duluth v 5. Minnesota
4. Clarkson v 6 Boston College
So the only changes from last week are the flipping of Minnesota and Duluth, still a bus, and putting Cornell in for Colgate, which is also still a bus to St. Lawrence.
Matchups of the Week
Cornell @ Clarkson (Jan. 20), @ St. Lawrence (Jan. 21)
The Big Red are freshly into the PWR comparison consideration and could cement a position with a win or two against two home-ice teams. They are on the road for both, so it will be difficult.