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Monday, March 07, 2005

Michigan's sweep of a decent BGSU team propelled them past Minnesota and Cornell into fourth in the latest pairwise rankings (3-2-1 bonus assumed). Take a picture, kids, because it probably won't last. Michigan managed to pass Minnesota because the Gophers played an 8-23-4 Michigan Tech team and murdered their RPI in the process, and now hold the #4 spot by the whispiest of whiskers, a .0005 RPI edge. Michigan also has 8 very precarious TUC wins: 4 against BGSU (RPI .5068), 2 against UNO (RPI .5009), and 2 against Miami (RPI .5024). If any of those teams should drop below .5000 RPI Michigan may lose the comparisons against Cornell and Minnesota.

At this point Michigan is locked in somewhere between #3 and #6. They will lose comparisons to CC and DU no matter what. They will win comparisons with just about everyone else except for three tossups: BC, Minnesota, and Cornell.

Michigan currently loses its BC comparison by the thinnest TUC margin. BC has a 14-5-3 record, Michigan a 14-6-3 record. BC has a solid RPI lead. Michigan takes the CoP category (largely because they got to waste ND four times this year and BC flukily lost to them). If Michigan wins the CCHA tournament and the tenously-TUC CCHA teams remain on the good side of the line they will probably pick up two TUC wins. If BC loses to a TUC in the HEA tournament, Michigan will pick up the comparison.

To win the Minnesota comparison Michigan has to stay ahead in RPI and hope that our TUC record stands up. Michigan cannot afford to have anyone drop below the TUC Mendoza line.

To win the Cornell comparison Michigan must stay ahead in the TUC battle and beat State should Michigan face them, as that would cost Michigan its Common Opponents category against Cornell.

With that in mind, your rooting guide for next weekend:
BC over Massachusetts- paradoxically, if BC blows this weekend they won't pick up a TUC loss and we can't pass them.
Minnesota State over Minnesota - Hurt that Gopher RPI and TUC record.
UNO over LSSU- UNO must remain a TUC.
BG over UAF- ditto.
Miami over MSU- ditto, though the fact that MSU played us five times makes this closer. If Miami can remain a TUC with one win that would be best, but who knows?
Michigan over ND- well, duh.

What about Cornell? I can't decide if I want them out now so they can't pick up TUC wins or in so they can pick up a loss. Michigan's fate against Cornell will depend more on the CCHA teams hovering around the RPI Mendoza line than anything Cornell does.

My prediction: we lose one of our TUC trio and thus all three comparisons, finish #6, and get swapped to #7 and into Grand Rapids.