Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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WCHA in spotlight as NCAA field is nearly set

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: March 24, 2013 - 10:31 AM

What a final season for the WCHA as we know it.

Half of the WCHA's 12 teams this season will be the NCAA tournament. Each of the four regions will have one, and two will have two WCHA teams

The six teams that made the NCAAs, based on the latest PairWise Rankings which mimic the way the NCAA seeds and fills out its 16-team field:

Gophers: second seed overall (behind only Quinnipiac) ... WCHA regular-season co-champion (with St. Cloud State .. should be top seed in West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... will leave WCHA for Big Ten Conference next season

North Dakota: sixth seed overall (if Michigan wins CCHA tournament) or eighth (if Notre Dame with CCHA) ... third in WCHA, losing on last day of regular season when UND had a chance at MacNaughton Cup ... three-year reign as Broadmoor Trophy winner came to an end with semifinal loss in Final Five semifinals ... will leave WCHA for National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season

Denver: ninth seed overall ... Pioneers got bounced in first round of WCHA playoffs by Colorado College ... had to  sweat out to see if they got into NCAA tournament ... will leave WCHA for National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season

Minnesota State Mankato: 11th seed ... re-invigorated team under first-year coach Mike Hastings, who found a gem in freshman goalie Stephon Williams ... only WCHA team in NCAA field which will stay in the league

St. Cloud State: 13th seed ... regular-season co-champions ... but last team to get at-large bid because of poor 3-5-0 nonconference record ... had a scare with so many upsets in tournaments ... will leave WCHA for National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season

Wisconsin: 14th seed ... reached NCAAs with an automatic bid after winning Final Five despite coming in as fourth seed ... started season 1-7-2 ... will leave WCHA for Big Ten Conference next season


No other conference has more than three teams in the NCAA field:

Atlantic Hockey (2): Niagara, regular-season champion, and Canisus, tied for seventh in regular season, but won conference tournament ... Gophers beat Canisus 1-0

CCHA (2 or 3): Miami, regular-season champion, Notre Dame, second in conference race and maybe Michigan, seventh in conference race if Wolverines beat Irish in conference tournament final

ECAC (2 or 3): Quinnipiac, runaway regular-season champion, Union, won conference tournament, fourth in conference race and maybe Yale (if Notre Dame wins CCHA), third in conference

Hockey East (3): UMass-Lowll, regular-season champion, Boston College, second in conference race and defending NCAA champion, and New Hampshire, tied for third in conference race




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