Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Look at the Final Standings and Kudos WCHA

The coming weekend marks the end of the WCHA regular season. It is just the first end mark of the college hockey season, the longest of the sports. In this article, we look back at the season so far and discuss the possible standings when the dust clears late Saturday night.

North Dakota has won another McNaughton Cup and has shown themselves to be the best while playing the best. Men’s Division I Ice Hockey has 58 teams that are ranked on the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Those with an RPI of 0.5000 or greater are in the TUC for the PWR. Because the WCHA has 11 teams in the TUC, yes that is 11 of the 12 teams in the conference, the Sioux have an overall record of 24-8-3 and a record against TUC the same, 24-8-3. Every team that UND ahs played is a quality team, so defined by the NCAA. The only WCHA team not in the TUC is UND’s last regular season and their first round playoff opponent, Michigan Technological University.

To look at the WCHA playoff possibilities, we break the teams into groups of four based on the standings and their grouping of current playoff standing. 
The Top Third. These four teams have already clinched first round playoff home ice.

Current Standings:
  1. North Dakota          39 points
  2. Denver                35
  3. Nebraska – Omaha      34
  4. Minnesota – Duluth          33
  • North Dakota visits Michigan Tech
    • The Sioux have won the WCHA Championship and will host MTU in the first round
  • Denver hosts Saint Cloud State
    • Pioneers can finish tied for 1st-4th place, but cannot be seeded above 2nd
    • Denver has a difficult draw this weekend with a surging SCSU team
  • Omaha visits UMD
    • Mavericks and Bulldogs can finish 2nd-4th place
    • Winner of the weekend series between UNO and UMD will better the other in playoff seeding
    • A sweep and Denver getting swept would get the winner 2nd place
The Middle Third. These teams are all still home ice eligible.

Current Standings:
  1. Minnesota – Twin Cities   28 points
  2. Colorado College          26
  3. Wisconsin                 25
  4. Saint Cloud State         24
  • UMTC visits Bemidji State
    • Gophers can finish 5th or 6th place tie
      • Tie-breaker win against CC
      • Tie-breaker loss against Wisconsin
      • Likely tie-breaker win against SCSU (depends on final WCHA goals for minus goals against)
    • One point clinches the Gophers home ice in the first round
  • CC visits Wisconsin
    • CC can finish 5th-tie 8th (seeded 9th due to tie-breaker loss to UAA)
    • UW can finish 5th-9th
    • Tie-breaker between Tigers and Badgers will be determined in their series this weekend
      • CC wins tie-breaker with SCSU
      • UW loses tie-breaker with SCSU
    • One Tiger win locks up home ice in the first round for CC
    • CC and UW cannot both have home ice in the first round
    • Both teams can be on the road in the first round
  • Saint Cloud State visits Denver
    • Huskies can finish tie 5th to tie 9th
    • Home ice for Huskies must be an SCSU sweep and Wisconsin 3-point weekend
The Bottom Third. These teams cannot achieve home ice in the first round of the playoffs.

Current Standings:
  1. Alaska – Anchorage             22 points
  2. Bemidji State                  20
  3. Minnesota State – Mankato      20
  4. Michigan Tech                   6
  • UAA visits MSUM
    • Seawolves can finish tie 7th to 11th
    • Mavericks can finish tie 9th to 11th
  • Bemidji State hosts UMTC
    • BSU can finish tie 8th to 11th
  • Michigan Tech hosts North Dakota
    • MTU will finish 12th
    • Rematch with North Dakota in the first round of the playoffs at Grand Forks

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