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Three scenarios that could put Northern Michigan into NCAA hockey tournament Saturday

March 17, 2012 - Matt Wellens

The Northern Michigan hockey team remains alive in the hunt for an NCAA tournament at-large berth, despite having been bounced from the CCHA playoffs two weeks ago.

The Wildcats can no longer catch Western Michigan, which defeated Miami to set up a CCHA title match with Michigan.

Northern did get some help from Harvard on Friday, however, as the Crimson took out Cornell, 6-1, in the ECAC semifinals.

Another team that seems to hold the fate of NMU in its hands is RIT, which beat Niagara in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals.

Victories by RIT don’t necessarily boost NMU, but they do deliver a blow to Michigan State, which could drop out of the top 15 of the PairWise if RIT beats Air Force on Saturday and Western Michigan defeats Michigan.

The Spartans loss could be the Wildcats’ gain — or Merrimack’s, who also remains on the bubble.

Here are the simple scenarios that could get NMU into the NCAA tournament as an at-large No. 4 seed. The reason I say ‘could’ and not ‘will’ is because nothing is final until the selection committee announces the field at noon on Sunday on ESPNU.

Scenario No. 1:

ECAC: Colgate defeats Cornell AND Union defeats Harvard.

Scenario No. 2:

ECAC: Union defeats Harvard.


CCHA: Western Michigan defeats Michigan.


Atlantic Hockey: RIT defeats Air Force.

Scenario No. 3

ECAC: Colgate defeats Cornell.


CCHA: Western defeats Michigan.


Atlantic Hockey: RIT defeats Air Force.

Note: Scenario No. 3 allows for Harvard to win the ECAC title. NMU would still get in as the No. 14 overall seed. Scenarios No. 1-2 would make NMU the No. 15 overall seed.

All three scenarios were calculated using the College Hockey News “You Are The Committee” tool.

Many scenarios result in NMU tied with Merrimack and others create a three-way tie with Michigan State for 14. The committee is unclear what the tiebreaker is — RPI or PairWise comparison.

NMU beats Merrimack every time in head-to-head RPI and in the PairWise comparison, 2-0. On the other hand, Michigan State beats out NMU in both categories. Michigan State and Merrimack split with the Spartans winning the RPI battle, but losing the comparison.



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