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

With time starting to run out, more spots are being clinched

Welcome to NCAA by the Numbers. This weekly piece looks at where each team stands in its conference. We will look at who is in or out of the playoffs, who can get home ice, and who will win the trophy.

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.


The CHA was idle other than the twice rescheduled Mercyhurst-RIT game that went to OT. Next week, the teams starts their second round of conference play, and we will start to see things settle out.

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, so winning the CHA regular season will give the winner the best chance to take that bid.


This weekend gave us a lot of good information. Clarkson proved they are still for real, taking care of Princeton at Hobey Baker. Three teams are locked into the playoffs and no one eliminated yet. Princeton, Clarkson, and Cornell all have a chance to lock up a home ice this coming weekend.

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

This title is now completely Princeton’s to lose. They only need a single point to win the title once again, which should come Friday as they travel to Brown.

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

Northeastern has locked home ice and stands two points away from winning the regular season trophy. The trio behind them have also locked up playoff berths. Due to the Beanpot, the top won’t settle out too much this coming weekend, but the rest of the conference looks to make their cases for the postseason.

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.


This weekend was a real shocker, as both Wisconsin and Minnesota faltered — but still managed to lock up home ice at the least. Minnesota can’t fall lower than second. Even though Ohio State won this weekend they still could be caught by Bemidji State, whom they have coming to town this weekend.

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.