“If so and so wins, Western is in. If so and so loses, Western is out.”
These are the words ringing around campus and throughout the college hockey community. The words of what different scenarios need to play out in order for the Western Michigan Bronco’s hockey team to earn their third consecutive NCAA tournament bid.
After getting swept out of the CCHA playoffs last weekend by CCHA rival, Michigan, the Broncos have to sit back and wait for their tournament selection on Sunday evening.
“Our idea is to continue to prepare,” WMU Head Coach Andy Murray said. “I told our players that there has been a lot of great work here this year and if the work that we have done earlier this season is enough, than we deserve that spot in the NCAA tournament.”
For the past week, students, columnists, and even former players are using the app that CollegeHockeyNews.com created. The app allows anyone to predict the outcome of the remaining confrence tournament games and then calculates who will get in the tournament based on a team’s final Pairwise ranking. The Pairwise ranking best compares the system that the tournament committee uses to determine which 16 teams get bids into the NCAA tournament.
In order for WMU to make it into the NCAA tournament, the team to watch is Niagara. Niagara is located in the Atlantic Hockey Conference. If any team other than Niagara wins the Atlantic tournament, WMU’s chances of earning a tournament bid become much slimmer.
Another team to watch is Wisconsin in WCHA. Right now, Wisconsin sits below WMU in the Pairwise rankings, but if the Badgers can pull out a remarkable tournament run, which they are capable of, then they jump WMU in the Pairwise, leaving the Bronco’s tournament hopes in further jeopardy.
The final team to watch is Boston University. In order for Boston to win the Hockey East tournament, the Terriers need to fend off long-time rival Boston College in the semi-finals and need to defeat one of the hottest teams in college hockey, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, assuming UMass-Lowell defeats Providence.
Many people believe that if Michigan wins the CCHA tournament, WMU is automatically eliminated; this is false. While the Wolverines winning the tournament does not help WMU, it does not eliminate them. In a scenario where Niagara, Michigan, BRown, UMass-Lowell and Minnesota all win their respective conference tournaments, WMU still gets in as the 14th seed.
If you would like to give yourself a headache or just want to act as the tournament committee yourself, go to http://www.collegehockeynews.com/ratings/yatc.php. Afterwards you can Tweet your final rankings to @Wenzel_Herald and we can compare all the possible scenarios to get WMU in, or out, of the NCAA tournament.
Follow @Wenzel_Herald on Twitter for news, live updates, and complete game coverage throughout the season.