NCAA by the numbers: Who’s in and who’s out of the playoffs with one week left

Two titles are locked up, but there’s plenty more to play for

With only one week left, lots has been decided — but almost no matchups have been determined.

One of the first orders of business is explaining how we arrive at this data. Each conference has a set number of in-conference games each team plays based on the number of members. This varies by conference: ECAC teams only play two each, while Hockey East teams play three, and the WCHA and CHA play four each.

This gives each team a maximum point total at the start of the season — go undefeated and you match that; each loss or tie reduces your max. You can calculate a team’s current max by adding their current total of points to their games remaining times points per win. Once a team’s maximum point total is too high to be caught by a certain team the leading team can no longer finish below them, or vice versa. The number of points either won by Team A or lost by Team B is the magic number for that comparison to be decided.


With two weeks remaining we only know a few things: Robert Morris and Mercyhurst will be top three, and the only other team in contention for the crown is Syracuse.

CHA (Win = 2 pts, Tie = 1 pt)

TeamWinLossTiePointsGames RemainingMax PointsHighest PositionLowest Position
Robert Morris10332343113
Penn State4841242036

The CHA is one of the everyone-makes-the-playoffs conferences. None of these teams are going to be able to make the NCAA tournament without the autobid, though, so winning the CHA regular season will give the winner the best chance to take that bid.


We know who will host (Princeton, Cornell, Clarkson, and Colgate) and who will travel (St. Lawrence, Harvard, Quinnipiac, and Rennselaer), but the matchups are still completely in the air. Princeton can’t finish fourth and Colgate can’t finish first — other than that, 1–4 and 5–8 are a mess.

ECAC (Win = 2 pts, Tie = 1 pt)

TeamWinLossTiePointsGames RemainingMax PointsHighest PositionLowest Position
St. Lawrence8752122558

The ECAC is the biggest conference in the country with 12 teams. They have a format where the top four host, next four travel, and the bottom four stay home. They look to put three to four teams into the NCAA tournament.

Ivy League

Princeton won and Cornell is second; the rest is still in flux but has no effect on a playoff race.

This league is part of the ECAC and does not have an autobid, but there is a lot of history among these teams.

Ivy League (Win = 2 pts, Tie = 1 pt)

TeamWinLossTiePointsGames RemainingMax PointsHighest PositionLowest Position

Hockey East

We have most of the seedings all but set. Northeastern is the number-one seed but the rest have an either-or option. Northeastern will play the winner of the Maine–Vermont game. Boston College will play either New Hampshire or Connecticut while Boston University plays the other. Merrimack and Providence are fighting for the final home slot but Providence has the edge with a two-point lead and a game still to play against Holy Cross.

Hockey East (Win = 2 pts, Tie = 1 pt)

TeamWinLossTiePointsGames RemainingMax PointsHighest PositionLowest Position
Boston College19703814023
Boston University14563423823
New Hampshire101422212467
Holy Cross12413151010

Hockey East is another conference where teams will miss the playoffs — the bottom two. It has been a top-heavy conference in recent years, like most of the conferences.


Due to the confusing way USCHO has set up their standings one might think Duluth and St. Cloud were done but instead they play against each other with a lot riding on the line.  Both Bemidji State and Ohio State will play Minnesota and Wisconsin respectively in an attempt to stay in home ice position.

WCHA (Win = 3 pts, SOW = 2 pts, SOL= 1 pt)

TeamWinLossTieSOWPointsGames RemainingMax PointsHighest PositionLowest Position
Ohio State1210003624235
Bemidji State1010203223835
St. Cloud State519001501566
Minnesota State316321422067

The WCHA is an all-team playoff, but the top seed gets a bye into the semifinals.