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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If NCAA hockey tournament started today, U would be on bubble

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: December 3, 2012 - 11:59 PM

If the NCAA hockey tournament were starting today -- and let's assume the current first-place teams won their respective postseason conference tournaments -- the Gophers would be the last of the 16 teams in the field.

Or, if anybody but Niagara emerged as the Atlantic Hockey tournament champion or there was a major upset winner in any of the other postseason tournaments, the Gophers would be out.

Never mind that they are No. 4 in the national poll this week, or No. 5 in the USA Today poll.

Interesting, eh?

Here is how I've come to these conclusions. As we all know, the PairWise ratings -- based on team comparisons that a computer can do easily -- mimic how the NCAA picks it's at-large teams.

The champions of the five conferences get automatic bids. Then nine at-large teams are named.

So who is in the field?

Well, the current conference leaders are Niagara in Atlantic Hockey, Miami in the CCHA, Quinnipiac in the ECAC, Boston College in Hockey East and Denver in the WCHA. For the purposes of this exercise, let's say they all win their conference tournaments and get automatic bids.

The four tops seeds -- who will be in separate regionals -- according to the current PairWise ratings would all be schools out East:

Top overall seed: Boston College, No. 1 in the PairWise, first in Hockey East (automatic bid, assuming Eagles win conference tournament), defending NCAA champion, coming to Minneapolis for the Mariucci Classic. Coaches by legendary Jerry York, who just tied the record for most victories by a Division I college coach.

Second seed: New Hampshire, No. 2 in PW.

Third seed: Dartmouth, No. 3 in PW. Would be sent to Midwest or West Region

Fourth seed: Yale, No. 4 in PW. Would be sent to Midwest or West Region.

The four No. 2 seeds in the regionals would be: Boston University, Notre Dame, Miami (automatic bid) and Quinnipiac (automatic)

The four No. 3 seeds: Western Michigan, Denver (automatic), Cornell, Union

The four No. 4 seeds: North Dakota, Harvard, Gophers and Niagara (automatic) ... Gophers, No. 15 in PW, would be last at-large team in.

If one team -- or more -- below Niagara in the PW ratings wins a conference tournament, thereby grabbing an automatic spot, then the Gophers would be out of the NCAAs.

Just missing as of today: Ohio State, tied with Niagara for No. 16 in PW, and three WCHA teams -- No. 18 Nebraska Omaha, No. 19. St. Cloud State and No. 20. Colorado College.

Obviously, a lot can change with the PW ratings week to week. And there are still three months left in the regular season and postseason tournaments to play. This is just a snapshot look at how things stand on Dec. 3.

Here is a breakdown by conference of who would be in:

Atlantic Hockey (1): Niagara

CCHA (3): Notre Dame, Miami, Western Michigan.

ECAC (6): Dartmouth, Yale, Quinnipiac, Cornell, Union, Harvard.

Hockey East (3): Boston College, New Hampshire, Boston University

WCHA (3): Denver, North Dakota, Gophers.

Six ECAC teams in the NCAAs! That would be something for that league. Probably won't end with that many. Things will sort out.

The WCHA only has three because everyone is beating everyone in the conference. Take Saturday for example, lowly Wisconsin wins on the road at first place Denver and Alaska Anchorage gets its first conference win over visiting St. Cloud State, tied for second.

The top four teams in strength of schedule, which influences RPI, an important stat in the PW ratings, are: Dartmouth, Boston College, Boston University and Yale. Three of those teams would be No. 1 seeds today.

The Gophers and Nebraska Omaha, two NCAA bubble teams (as of today) who just split with each other, are Nos. 42 and 43, respectively, out of 59 Division I teams.

The Gophers' strength of schedule will take a jump with Colorado College, Air Force, Boston College and Notre Dame coming up in that succession. They sorta eased into this season. Now it gets rough.


Boston College coach Jerry York's march to a milestone hit a speed bump on Friday. The Eagles, who lost their seassn opener to Northeastern 3-1, won 10 in a row until losing at Boston University 4-2.

But on Saturday, BC bounced back to win 5-2 at home. It was the 924th win for York, tying York with retired Ron Mason of Michigan State for most wins all-tiime as a college hockey coach.

York's record is now 924-558-94 in 41 seasons. He will try to break Mason's mark on Friday at Providence.

The Friars are 7-6-1, 5-4-0 in Hockey East, so a road win is not a foregone conclusion.

If BC, 11-2, 10-2, should lose, there next game is not until the Mariucci Classic. So Gophers fans would have a chance to see hockey history. The Eagles play one-win Alabama-Huntsville on the first day of the tournament and the Gophers on the second.



Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
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