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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Since the last time we took a detailed look at the Pairwise, Michigan split a pair at OSU and a bunch of other teams played a lot of games. Western fell out of TUCland; UNO and Lake State entered. Michigan's TUC record is now a mediocre 8-7-1 with a 1-1 record versus LSSU and a 2-0 record versus UNO hovering around the cliff. Northern, Michigan's opponent this weekend, is not a TUC.

Winning Comparisons

  • Denver. We're in a worse spot now that DU has drawn UW in the WCHA playoffs. If they sweep that series they'll win COP and probably move past us in RPI.
  • Maine. [Last time: a solid comparison we lost.] Maine did cough it up against UMass, getting swept, and that was enough to flip the comparison... but only by a tiny amount. RPI is virtually tied. They win COP and we have a fair edge in TUC. Maine's first round playoff series is against the same UMass team that just swept them; if they win the series they'll probably take the comparison at year's end. If they lose it's ours.
  • Miami. [Last time: a tossup we lost.] Margins are razor-thin everywhere. Whoever finishes better in the CCHA tournament will win the comparison. If one team wins the consolation game while the other loses the championship game, Miami probably takes the comparison.
  • Colorado College. Status quo: decent RPI edge and unassailable in COP. We'd have to lose our series versus Northern for them to flip the comparison with a long WCHA playoff run.
  • Michigan State. [was: tossup we won.] We now have a big COP edge and a medium RPI one. If we beat Northern, State will have a hard time passing us even with a H2H win.
  • Dartmouth. Don't think there's any way for them to flip the comparison unless they win the ECAC and we lose to Northern.
  • St. Lawrence. TUC is now very tight, but we win COP and have a 0.1 RPI edge.
Locks: LSSU, UNO, MSU-Mankato, Cornell, [was: solid win]. Wisconsin, Michigan Tech, Vermont. [was: solid win], UMass.

Losing Comparisons

  • North Dakota. NoDak's in a weird situation: their first round opponent, MSU-Mankato, currently sits #23 in RPI. If they sweep Mankato it's likely they'll no longer be a TUC; the Sioux are 3-0-1 against Mankato this year. Even if they lose the Screamin' Eagles, they'll still be ahead of us in TUC, but we win COP and RPI is pretty tight.
  • Boston College. [last time: tossup we lost]. They made up a lot of ground by sweeping UNH.
  • Boston University. If they lose their series against Vermont we can pass them. Otherwise they'll be ahead of us.
  • Clarkson. [last time: lock we lost... guess not.] We own COP, they have a sizable edge in RPI. TUC could get interesting. If LSSU drops out and Clarkson loses to a TUC in the ECAC tournament, we could pass them with a CCHA championship. It's a longshot but just possible enough.
Locks: SCSU, [was solid loss]. Minnesota, Notre Dame, UNH.

The Upshot

Our position has improved. A couple teams have moved into the Lock Win category, Maine is now in a dead heat with us, and Michigan State is now significantly behind us. Only the BC sweep of UNH damaged any of our comparisons.

With our OSU split things are basically the status quo: we are locked into the 7-12 range. Denver gacked it up against CC last weekend and fell to 10th, which significantly reduces the chances we'll get paired with them in Denver, but we're now 9th and staring down a bracket featuring Minnesota. There's a tremendous amount of jitter in the PWR and things will change enough between now and the tourney selection that it's not worth getting exercised about yet, though. One thing that does seem likely: a bid in Grand Rapids. Most brackets I see from educated prognosticators give GR attendance the benefit of the doubt and put Michigan there whenever possible. Since Notre Dame is within driving distance of GR, there's also some sentiment to put the Irish there. No offense to ND, but as a relatively untested #1 seed who caught us when Billy Sauer was at his nadir and minus Cogs and Jack, I'd rather see them than any other potential #1.