Watching the top
#2 North Dakota used a pair of wins over #13 Nebraska-Omaha to climb past #3 St Cloud, which dropped a pair of games to desperate #15 Minnesota-Duluth. That leaves UND as the only team capable of taking over #1 from idle Quinnipiac this weekend.
In last week’s outlook I predicted that the top 12 were generally safe, with no one likely to drop below 14. Though there was some minor shuffling within the group, only Nebraska-Omaha fell out of the top 12, landing at #13 following a pair of losses to North Dakota.
Safe this weekend
This week’s top 12 look similarly safe for another week, with no one likely to come out of the weekend below #13. Note that quite a few of these teams, including #9 Notre Dame, #11 Harvard, and #12 Mass.-Lowell, are insulated against much movement by being idle this weekend. Teams likely safe in the top 13 include:
#2 North Dakota
#3 St Cloud St
#5 Boston College
#9 Notre Dame
#10 Boston University
Around the bubble
Most teams from #13 Nebraska-Omaha down to #21 Minnesota State could end up on either side of the bubble—at #14 or higher after this weekend, or below 14. The notable exceptions are #16 Minnesota will struggle to climb above #15 and idle #19 Robert Morris isn’t likely to climb beyond #17.
#14 Penn State
#15 Minnesota Duluth
#17 Michigan Tech
#21 Minnesota St
Need to climb
A handful of teams can’t quite make it into position for an at-large bid (which we’re currently calling #14 and better), but can come out of the weekend in the teens, preserving hope for an at-large bid with additional conference tournament success. Those include:
#19 Robert Morris
Need to win their conference tournaments
Idle #24 St Lawrence, and #26 Bowling Green and below are unlikely to come out of the weekend in the teens, and thus face a steep climb to gain an at-large bid.
A couple data notes
The Eastern teams are already in conference tournaments, and thus playing best of three series this weekend. Their “win 2” curves include both the 2-0 and 2-1 scenarios. They are generally double-topped, and the 2-0 scenario is the better outcome.
There seems to be some confusion about whether the Feb. 20 Denver vs CC matchup was a neutral site game. As of now, USCHO, CHN, and the Denver site all list it as a home game for Denver; while collegehockeystats.net and the CC site list it is a neutral site game. This has a minor effect on RPI which does not affect any of the above outcomes; though these calculations assume it was a neutral site.