As the NCAA season progresses, I’m going to publish weekly rankings in conjunction with the USCHO poll. These rankings will be entirely statistics based with the explanation as to how those stats are developed here. As I prefer to do when compiling rankings, a team’s final ranking will be determined by a summation of their rankings in various statistical categories:
- Overall winning percentage (pct)
- Goal differential (+/-)
- Percentage of shots taken (S%) – (Editor’s Note – This is essentially the best imitator of Corsi %. I’m told that shot attempts (Shots on goal plus missed shots plus shots taken that get blocked) are recorded but that data is not available anywhere.)
- Percentage of shots taken relative to Opponents’ S% (Rel S%)
- Power play and penalty kill percentage
- S% versus teams with an S% of 50% or more
- Rel S% versus teams with an S% of 50 or more
- Shooting Percentage (Sht%)
- Save Percentage (Sv%)
Also I have taken to making all of my spreadsheets available for download here.
The top five will probably stay about the same. Minnesota and Wisconsin could shuffle depending on how their series goes at season’s end, and the same for Clarkson and Quinnipiac and their final matchup.
Places six through nine could shuffle a lot depending on how the teams do in conference play. I feel like Northeastern is pretty secure at #6 or #7, but the rest is a mystery. The #10 spot will probably continue to be a revolving door between Colgate and Harvard, and perhaps also Robert Morris, Syracuse, Mercyhurst, or St. Lawrence.
USCHO is discontinuing the PairWise Rankings so those are gone.
I’ve added the previous weekend’s results along with each team’s movement from the previous week. Again, eight teams make the NCAA Tournament so let’s run down the top eight:
1. Boston College (2)
It’s probably up to Northeastern or Boston University to put a dent in the Eagles’ undefeated season. BC’s remaining opponents are a combined 68-96-12 (not counting their potential second round Beanpot matchup). The Eagles should cruise to 34-0-0 and it’ll be difficult not to make them the one seed heading into the NCAA tournament. That probably means an extremely favorable matchup against the CHA tournament champion.
2. Wisconsin (1)
The Badgers exorcised one of the few demons they have this season, sweeping North Dakota to improve to 2-1-1 against the Fighting Hawks this season. They’re only five points up on Minnesota in the WCHA so a Gopher sweep in the Badgers’ final two regular season games will hand Minnesota the conference’s top seed, but the Badgers are in a good position. They’re most likely looking at the two seed in the NCAA tournament and a matchup against one of their WCHA foes.
3. Quinnipiac (3)
Quinnipiac’s outlook is dependent on how they do to finish ECAC play in the regular season and how they perform in the ECAC tournament. It will probably comes down to them or Clarkson with Princeton or Harvard possibly playing spoiler.
A regular season ECAC title and an ECAC tournament championship will probably get them the three or four seed and have them playing either Clarkson or Northeastern. The selection committee will probably keep them away from Bemidji State or North Dakota to minimize air travel although this may be unavoidable. The best case scenario for the selection committee is if only one of the two aforementioned WCHA teams makes the tournament and someone like Princeton takes the others’ place.
4. Minnesota (4)
Minnesota just seems a cut below the Badgers, even with a healthy Hannah Brandt. A runner up performance in the WCHA tournament definitely keeps them out of the top two seeds. Whether they’re #3 or #4 probably depends on how the ECAC shakes out. If the ECAC regular season champion and tournament champion are the same team, Minnesota is probably #4. If the ECAC picture is less clear, they’re probably #3.
The best scenario in terms of travel would have them playing either North Dakota or Bemidji State.
5. Northeastern (6)
Even though they’re above the Golden Knights in my rankings, the Huskies are probably 6th at best. They’re a wildly entertaining team, and sometimes a wildly inconsistent one. They’ve got the firepower to score goals with the best of them, but sometimes their passing choices are puzzling which makes their attack ineffective and strains a defense that isn’t good enough to thrive when asked to do most of the work.
Northeastern can probably expect to get either Clarkson or Quinnipiac should they make the tournament, but they need to have a solid end of the season for that to be a guarantee.
6. Clarkson (5)
Clarkson tied Cornell and Cornell tied Brown so by the transitive property of sports congruence, Clarkson and Brown are about even.
Every team drops games they should win, but the Knights seem to do it an awful lot, even though they’re 20-3-3. That means one of two things, either they’re unlucky, or they aren’t that good.
Clarkson will most likely be playing Quinnipiac or Minnesota as the five seed unless something goes spectacularly right or horribly wrong for them down the stretch.
7. Princeton (7)
With the RPI and PairWise rankings currently blank on USCHO.com, it’s difficult to tell where the Tigers stand against the other tournament bubble teams. They probably need a really strong finish to even have a shot at consideration and they may well need to just win the ECAC tournament and grab an auto-bid.
Princeton will most likely be ruing the day the CHA was given an auto-bid.
8. North Dakota (8)
I feel like the Fighting Hawks are going to be just good enough to sneak into the tournament with an at-large bid. Harvard and Cornell are both having down years, and Princeton and St. Lawrence probably aren’t quite good enough to take the spot of a team like North Dakota.
North Dakota is probably looking at Minnesota or Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament depending on how easily they get in.
Ideal NCAA Matchups:
#1 Boston College vs. #8 Syracuse
#2 Wisconsin vs. #7 Bemidji State
#3 Quinnipiac vs. #5 Clarkson
#4 Minnesota vs. #6 North Dakota
This allows the selection committee to do minimal shuffling to avoid air travel in the first round. Unfortunately (for them), I don’t think you’ll be able to make the case for the worse of North Dakota or Bemidji State over Northeastern.
It also pretty much makes every first round game a rivalry game. (Boston College and Syracuse have been rivals in other sports, though their hockey rivalry is pretty much nonexistent.)
More Likely NCAA Matchups:
#1 Boston College vs. #8 CHA Winner
No one has elevated themselves in the CHA. In a just world it would probably be Syracuse, but Mercyhurst and Robert Morris both have a chance.
#2 Wisconsin vs. #7 North Dakota
I think Northeastern is a little bit better than North Dakota, and this is a better matchup for travel purposes anyway.
#3 Minnesota vs. #6 Northeastern
I can’t see either Quinnipiac or Clarkson running away with the ECAC and Minnesota will benefit from those two teams beating one another. If only one of North Dakota and Bemidji State make the tournament there will be at least one high travel game, and this is it.
Plus watching these two offenses try to score a million goals on one another would be amazing.
#4/5 Quinnipiac vs. #4/5 Clarkson
Whoever comes out of the ECAC pile gets the home game basically. It’ll be a bummer for Quinnipiac if they are once again sent packing in the first round by an ECAC rival.