How many teams will each conference send to the NCAAs?

Of the remaining possible scenarios that could come out of this weekend’s conference tournaments, here’s a breakdown of the share of scenarios of how many teams each conference sends:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Atlantic Hockey 0% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Big 10 0% 0% 0% 2% 23% 75% 0%
ECAC 0% 1% 62% 37% 0% 0% 0%
Hockey East 0% 0% 46% 54% 0% 0% 0%
NCHC 0% 0% 2% 60% 38% 0% 0%
WCHA 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0%

Atlantic Hockey

1 team – 100%

No teams from Atlantic Hockey will make the tournament at-large, so only the winner of the conference tournament will make the NCAAs. That will be either #20 Mercyhurst, #43 Robert Morris, #30 Air Force, or #34 Canisius.

Big 10

3 teams – 2%
4 teams – 23%
5 teams – 75%

Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan are guaranteed to make the NCAAs. The Big Ten’s representation won’t be increased by the conference tournament’s winner, as the winner will be one of Notre Dame or Ohio State.

Penn State and Minnesota are both idle and both stand a pretty good chance of making the NCAAs (in 98% and 76% of scenarios, respectively). Because both are idle, there is significant overlap between Penn State and Minnesota making the tournament (both need conference tournaments won by high PWR teams to move the cutline and poor performance by other teams in search of an at-large bid, such as North Dakota). Because of that, The Big Ten puts all 5 possible teams in the NCAAs in 75% of remaining scenarios.


1 team – 1%
2 teams – 62%
3 teams – 37%

Only #3 Cornell is guaranteed a tournament appearance, but it’s very unlikely they will be the ECAC’s only representative.

Clarkson is guaranteed an appearance with just one win, and makes the tournament in 73% of scenarios in which they don’t win at all.

Princeton and Harvard can each make the NCAAs by winning the ECAC tournament, but only by winning the ECAC tournament, so both can’t make it.

So, it’s possible, but very unlikely, for Cornell to win the conference tournament and be the only ECAC team to advance. If Clarkson wins the conference tournament, both Cornell and Clarkson will go to the NCAAs. If either of the other two win, the ECAC will have three representatives if Clarkson makes it at-large or two if not.

Hockey East

2 teams – 46%
3 teams – 54%

Providence and Northeastern are guaranteed to make the NCAAs.

If either Boston University or Boston College win the Hockey East tournament, that winner will also advance, giving Hockey East three teams.

There are also a very small number of scenarios in which BC or BU make the NCAAs despite Providence or Northeastern advancing (generally having to do with favorable cutlines and some quirky RPI luck; see How Boston University can make the NCAAs without winning Hockey East for more details).


2 teams – 2%
3 teams – 60%
4 teams – 38%

St Cloud St and Denver are guaranteed bids.

While one might guess that #8 Duluth is a lock, especially knowing that #9 Providence and #10 Michigan are, reader of CollegeHockeyRanked – NCAA tournament possibilities know that Duluth misses in about 11% of scenarios in which they lose the semifinal. So, the NCHC advances only 2 teams in about 2% of possible scenarios, or 3 teams in about 60%.

North Dakota also stands some chance of advancing, either by winning the NCHC tournament (25% of possible scenarios) or at-large.


2 teams – 100%

Minnesota State is guaranteed a bid.

But, Minnesota State has already been eliminated from the WCHA tournament. Neither of the remaining two teams–Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech–can make the NCAAs at-large. So, the winner is guaranteed to be the WCHAs second team in the NCAAs.

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