With the holiday break behind us we have a short few months before the NCAA tournament. The Pairwise Ranking are as follows:
- St. Lawrence (15-1-2)
- Wisconsin (17-2-1)
- Clarkson (15-3-4)
- Minnesota (15-3-2)
- Boston College (13-3-3)
- Minnesota-Duluth (13-4-3)
- Colgate (15-2-2)
- Robert Morris (14-1-5)
Four of those teams didn’t make last year’s tournament (St. Lawrence, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, and Robert Morris) which leaves some historically good teams on the outside looking in.
9. Quinnipiac Bobcats (14-5-3)
It’s kind of strange to see Quinnipiac below the top eight, especially since they’re ahead of Colgate in the ECAC and have beaten the Raiders head to head. Quinnipiac has five losses to the Raiders’ two, but three are to ranked opponents (Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Boston College), and one is to formerly ranked Princeton. Colgate’s losses came to Princeton and Quinnipiac and they haven’t yet played St. Lawrence or Clarkson.
The smart money says Quinnipiac is better than both Colgate and Robert Morris. Whether they can reflect that via the Pairwise is a different story. Colgate has some room to falter with their four games versus the Knights and Saints as well as another meeting with the Bobcats. Quinnipiac’s schedule is a bit easier playing each of the ECAC teams one more time along with Merrimack.
10. Northeastern Huskies (12-6-3)
Northeastern was running relatively smoothly with a solid 10-3-1 record to start the season and then went 2-3-2 heading into the break. The loss and tie to Boston College weren’t so bad. The two losses to Vermont were (even though Vermont is a relatively solid team).
They’ll start the second half of the season with five of seven on the road but they only have one more game each versus Boston College and Boston University. A second place finish in Hockey East should be easily achievable but it’s likely to leave them outside the top eight unless they run the table.
11. Boston University Terriers (12-7-1)
Speaking of Hockey East teams, BU sits in a similar position. They only have one conference game each against their two toughest opponents but they do see Boston College a second time in the Beanpot Tournament. The Terriers are only four points back of the Huskies with a game in hand, but somehow it feels like a sizable gap.
This is a team that split against Connecticut, and then Minnesota ccoming into the break so it’s tough to tell what we’re going to get from them looking ahead.
12 and 13. Cornell (8-4-1) and Princeton (10-6-2)
Two successful ECAC teams that are capable of making some noise. Cornell has been the better team so far, especially considering that two of their losses were against Wisconsin. Princeton was expected to contend more this year but a sweep by Boston University and a bad loss against Dartmouth have largely sunk them.
The Big Red face a gauntlet in the second half getting Princeton, Quinnipiac, Colgate, Clarkson, and St. Lawrence all in a row. They see the latter two teams a second time to end the year so a fall is likely. But hey, losing to Minnesota and/or Wisconsin means you should get tournament consideration, right?
21. Syracuse (5-9-5)
The Orange get on this list because they’re the team most capable of challenging Robert Morris in the CHA. The Colonials have just one loss but they’re not a team that’s been blowing out opponents. Syracuse has had some good moments this year, the latest coming in a close 4-3 loss to a depleted Boston College squad.
Their record doesn’t look great but four of those losses came to ranked teams. I guess that isn’t terribly inspiring either. Syracuse is an odd case. They often put together pieces of good years here and there but they seem incapable of fitting a whole one together.
Final Pairwise Prediction:
- St. Lawrence
- Boston College
- Robert Morris