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NCAA Bracketology: Semifinals

A mere 16,384 different things could happen this weekend.

Welcome back to The Ice Garden’s Bracketology column.

As always, you can follow along from home using the PWR Calculator BCI’s Grant Salzano created from scratch — on the site you can edit past and future results to see where the rankings would end up.

As it stands, we have a staggering 16,384 different possible outcomes, which will be reduced to 4,096 once the CHA completes their field to four. This comes from eight possible outcomes in each of the three major conferences and 32 currently for the CHA. After the semifinals there will only be 16 possible outcomes and we can give odds of each occurring based on KRACH rankings.

First up, we will look at where each of the teams remaining can finish.

Home Ice Locks

These three teams have locked a home game for the NCAA.

Minnesota

The Gophers currently sit in the top spot, but it is incredibly tight with Wisconsin. They will hold the top seed if they win the WCHA.

Wisconsin

The current two seed but can get the one seed with a WCHA win.

Northeastern

The Huskies will be the third seed in the NCAA tournament.

Home Ice Contenders

These teams are currently on the bubble for the last home ice spot. They will likely fall in the 4–6 range but can fall out losing, with some other upsets.

Clarkson

Clarkson currently sits in the final home ice spot, and they control their destiny. If they win the ECAC the spot is theirs. The Golden Knights will also be home if both Cornell and Boston College fail to win their tournaments. If the Golden Knights fall out of the top four they are looking at a trip to whomever does finish fourth.

Boston College

The Eagles are safely in for the moment, but a semifinal loss could be disastrous. Home ice is theirs if they win Hockey East and Clarkson does not win the ECAC. Failure to win home ice will likely send BC to Northeastern.

Cornell

The Big Red have home ice in the ECAC even though they tried to throw it away against RPI goaltender Lovisa Selander. They will need to win the ECAC and have Boston College not win Hockey East to get home ice. If they do not get home ice they are looking at a trip to Clarkson most likely.

At-Large Contenders

Here are the remaining teams in contention for the last spot. Only one of them will make it if any of them get to keep playing, likely. These teams are going to be down to the third and fourth decimal places in the RPI deciding who gets a bid, which might come down to the CHA championship game.

Boston University

The Terriers are very much on the bubble. A loss in the semifinals will all but certainly doom them. A loss in the finals and they are looking safe for the moment.

Providence

Providence is not a favorite to make the tournament but has a good chance with the HEA tournament being at home for them. Semifinal losses by BU and Princeton will greatly help their chances even if they lose in the semifinals themselves.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes are still alive, if barely. They will need at least a semifinal win over Wisconsin and then need help from Providence and Princeton taking losses if they don’t get the autobid.

Princeton

Even after righting the ship in their quarterfinal series the Tigers are still fighting for their lives. A semifinal win would be ideal, but they can still make it with a loss to Cornell.

Autobid Only

Colgate

A loss to Harvard to start their quarterfinals has eliminated the Raiders from at-large consideration, and even with everything going their way they can finish no higher than sixth.

Minnesota-Duluth

Former powerhouse Duluth kept their season alive but can only make the tournament by winning the WCHA. They are the lowest-ranked team remaining from the main three conferences.

CHA

The CHA will be sending one representative to the tournament when they crown their tournament champion. The winner will be the eight seed and almost certainly go to the higher finisher of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

As-is Current Bracket

1 Minnesota vs. 8 CHA (Robert Morris)

2 Wisconsin vs. 7 Princeton

3 Northeastern vs. 6 Boston College

4 Clarkson vs. 5 Cornell

Again, this bracket would almost certainly be taken by the committee if available. Two flights are unavoidable, and one of the bus trips saves hotel room costs.

If-no-upsets Bracket

This bracket assumes all higher seeded teams win, regardless of current RPI.

1 Minnesota vs. 8 CHA (Robert Morris)

2 Wisconsin vs. 7 Princeton

3 Northeastern vs. 6 Boston College

4 Cornell vs. 5 Clarkson

The only change would be flipping home ice between the Big Red and Golden Knights. This bracket would include two repeats of matchups from the previous weekend, one of which would be on the same sheet of ice. Notably if the higher-RPI-ranked Clarkson wins, it would switch Providence in for Princeton.