Hockey Analysis

What Merrimack needs to get into the NCAA tournament

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While there are still multiple scenarios in play — too many to list all of the particulars of how Merrimack could qualify — there seem to be three results that ALL must play out on Saturday in order for Merrimack to have a chance at the NCAA tournament:

1. Union beats Harvard for the ECAC Championship
2. Colgate beats Cornell in the ECAC Consolation
3. RIT beats Air Force for the Atlantic Hockey Championship

If ALL of those results play out, there are still multiple scenarios. Some sees Merrimack get in, while others don’t. And right now, with so many to flip back and forth, it’s hard to get anything definite than what’s listed above.

I will say there are scenarios where the result of the remaining games can all go one way or the other and there are ways for Merrimack to get in. There are no scenarios that I can find that gets Merrimack a tourney spot without ALL of the above three scenarios playing out.

But, if all three scenarios above play out and Western Michigan wins the CCHA Championship, I’d peg Merrimack at having an 80-85% chance of getting into the tournament (with RIT, Colgate, Union and Western Michigan all winning).

Be sure to check back here throughout the evening and night on Saturday while we update you on other results around the country and provide analysis on how it impacts the Warriors.

About Mike McMahon

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10 Comments

  1. Tom

    March 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Mike- Does the NCAA seeding committee have any history of going against the pairwise rankings ?

  2. Mike McMahon

    March 17, 2012 at 9:45 am

    @Tom – it’s ironclad.

  3. Tom G

    March 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Mike – If Western Michigan beats Michigan, Air Force can beat RIT. The first two conditionals are absolute – Union must beat Harvard and Colgate must beat Cornell.

    Ironic – Last night I’m at the Garden rooting for Maine. Last weekend I was up in Maine fearing for my safety wearing Merrimack apparel in public and at the game.

  4. chapter11studios

    March 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Please just tell me there are no scenarios where I must root for BC tonight!

  5. Mike McMahon

    March 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

    What was the full scenario, Tom? I can’t find one that works with Air Force beating RIT unless Harvard beats Union, which would eliminate Merrimack by virtue of Harvard getting an auto-bid and cutting the at-large bids from 15 to 14.

    Merrimack would be T-14th with Michigan State and lose the tie-breaker.

    @Chapter11 – you don’t HAVE to root for BC, but there may be scenarios later in the night where BC winning either helps or is a must. Will be updating the blog throughout the night tonight.

  6. chapter11studios

    March 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I don’t know if I can do it. I suppose if Merrimack *absolutely* needs it I could bring myself to cheer for BC … but I won’t feel good about it. Thanks for all these updates here and on Twitter, by the way. I’ve never checked/stalked one person’s tweets so religiously as I have this weekend.

  7. Tom G

    March 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Mike – I’m kind of new to this but here are two:

    • WCHA Championship game: Denver defeats North Dakota.
    • Hockey East Championship game: Boston College defeats Maine.
    • ECAC Championship game: Union defeats Harvard.
    • ECAC Consolation game: Colgate defeats Cornell.
    • CCHA Championship game: Western Michigan defeats Michigan.
    • CCHA Consolation game: Bowling Green defeats Miami.
    • Atlantic Hockey Championship game: Air Force defeats RIT.

    • WCHA Championship game: Denver defeats North Dakota.
    • Hockey East Championship game: Boston College defeats Maine.
    • ECAC Championship game: Union defeats Harvard.
    • ECAC Consolation game: Colgate defeats Cornell.
    • CCHA Championship game: Western Michigan defeats Michigan.
    • CCHA Consolation game: Miami defeats Bowling Green.
    • Atlantic Hockey Championship game: Air Force defeats RIT.

    My apologies if this isn’t right. We sin the tie breaker with Michigan State.

  8. Mike McMahon

    March 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    No worries … in the top scenario, it would be a 4-way tie for 14th and Merrimack would finish 16th. … Same scenario in the bottom.

    I’ll keep trying but I don’t see a scenario where Air Force wins the AHA title and Merrimack gets in. But, we won’t know for sure until later tonight once we start to see those results. There are literally still thousands of possible scenarios in play.

    We thought originally that last night, there was only ONE where Merrimack qualified, and that’s not correct. So things change almost by the minute as we see results from games and current score projects. Things got whacky last night because no one thought BG would beat Michigan. They didn’t, but while they were winning and I was running possibilities with BG winning, others came to light.

  9. Tom G

    March 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Mike – Sorry to perseverate here – If Maine beats BC, and the games play out below we end up in a three way tie for 14th but win the tie breaker with Michigan state

    Atlantic Hockey
    Championship game: Air Force defeats RIT
    CCHA
    Championship game: Western Michigan defeats Michigan
    Consolation game: Bowling Green defeats Miami
    ECAC
    Championship game: Union defeats Harvard
    Consolation game: Colgate defeats Cornell
    Hockey East
    Championship game: Maine defeats Boston College
    WCHA
    Championship game: Denver defeats North Dakota

    Anyway it would really be great if things work out for us. The team has not been under constant pressure for a week and then to suddenly find out they are in – that would be something.

  10. Mike McMahon

    March 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    That would result in a 3-way tie (Merrimack, Northern Michigan, Michigan State) but Merrimack finishes last in the 3-way tie-breaker, meaning they would finish 14th.

    A 1-on-1 comparison between Michigan State and Merrimack, Merrimack would win. But the 3-way ties are broken differently and Michigan State has a better RPI (exactly how ties are broken isn’t clear, but has been ascertained through studying history, expertise, etc.) … So traditionally speaking, that scenario would have Merrimack out of the tournament. But like I said, the committee could set a new precedent at any given time, but throughout history, that is how they have broken those 3-way ties.

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