We have all the results in. Now it’s time to guess the minds of the committee before the official bracket is announced at 9 PM ET.
There are four teams that know they are safely in after winning their conference championships. They are:
Hockey East: Northeastern
CHA: Robert Morris
That is half of our field, leaving four slots remaining. We talked about it earlier today and things are both simpler and more confusing at this point.
We will review the teams that are hoping for more life in order of likelihood.
The Buckeyes are in, they are the three seed not really much need to wax poetic about it.
Minnesota is very much a tournament team. Despite some people calling for Duluth to be above them, that would be one of the dumbest decisions you will see from a selection committee if they did. The Gophers are in the 4/5 spot which without travel involved is meaningless which one you are in.
Here is where we start to have to make decisions. While the Eagles certainly didn’t blow the committee away with their body of work, everyone else’s below them is worse. This should see them in and give them a game against a WCHA foe.
The Bulldogs were getting really nervous when the Saints scored first and again later when they made it a one goal game late. In the end their prayers were answered as SLU was unable to come back against Colgate. Duluth should be in, but if they were to be the first team out it would make some sense.
The Nittany Lions only have themselves to blame. While you can give them condolences for not being able to play non-conference games, they didn’t take care of business in the CHA. They were the only top seed not to win, and they didn’t even make the title game. While their winning percentage was great and they played a tougher schedule then Duluth, they just didn’t have the big games to show they belong. There is a lot of chatter for them to get a bid at the 7 spot, but it seems unlikely.
Too little too late out of Appleton. The Saints didn’t begin play till January and just didn’t have enough results to push them further up. Had the season lasted a couple more weeks They would have been in great position for that 7th seed, but a losing record in an ECAC that didn’t wow people won’t get the job done.
The Friars are not getting in this year, next year is a different story. Their biggest wins were one goal games against a BC team they later lost to. They had four shots at Northeastern but got blown out in each of them. They had a very short bench down the stretch which hurt them.
We are really left with two burning questions.
Will Duluth be the final at large or will Penn State sneak in?
It should be Duluth for the reasons stated above. There will be some push back about four teams from the WCHA as it will likely result in an intraconference matchup.
Will the committee protect the #1 seed (assuming Northeastern is given it), or will they avoid intra conference matchups at all cost?
We are assuming two things here, Duluth will get the at large spot and Northeastern is the top seed. Typically the committee is very protective of the top seed, typically a WCHA team, so it would buck tradition to give Northeastern 6th or 7th seeded Duluth. Now if the Nittany Lions sneak in this question is moot.
After today’s results we are in the same boat we expected to be in this morning. So I will leave us with the bracket I predicted then.
1. Northeastern v 8. Robert Morris
4. Colgate v 5. Minnesota
2. Wisconsin v 7. Minnesota Duluth
3. Ohio State v 6. Boston College
Last Team In: Minnesota Duluth
First Team Out: Penn State
Next Team out St. Lawrence