Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mid-Weekend Engineer Bracketology

This isn't a full Bracketology, but more a quick update of where we stand. There are only a handful of playing days remaining before the national tournament (today, tomorrow, then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of next week, so... five), teams are going to start having their seasons end (which makes the PWR way more easy to examine) and the Engineers aren't playing anymore, so it's worth taking a look at what happened on each night and see where that leaves us.

Where we stand:
* For the most part, they went very well for RPI. The Engineers are now back up into a three-way tie for 13th place with Dartmouth and BU. That nominally leaves them in 15th place, the final at-large position assuming that there are no upset champions.

No celebration yet, still a long way to go.

We're not going to do a bracket projection right now. We'll give you one if they're still in a tournament position on Monday. However, do understand that if the Engineers do make the NCAA tournament, they will be drawn against one of the teams favored to win the national championship. That means they'll play either Boston College, North Dakota, Michigan, Denver, or Miami. Take what you can get.

The good:
* Minnesota, Dartmouth, St. Cloud State, Maine, Western Michigan, and Colorado College all lost. Union, Michigan, Miami, Denver, North Dakota, Boston College, Notre Dame, RIT, and Bemidji State all won.

The bad:
* Cornell, BU, UNH, and Wisconsin won, Yale and Minnesota State lost.

So clearly, the good outweighs the bad. Now what are we looking for tonight?

* We could really use something out of Minnesota State. Observe the TUC cliff.

26. Cornell (.5061)
27. RIT (.5050)
28. Quinnipiac (.5039)
29. Air Force (.5035)
30. Bemidji State (.5016)
31. Minnesota State (.5002)
---
32. Robert Morris (.4983)
33. Niagara (.4961)
34. Northeastern (.4956)


See that? That's the Mavericks a loss away from their season ending on the other end of the TUC cliff. If that happens, Notre Dame drops a TUC loss, and their comparison with the Engineers flips in their favor, pushing Rensselaer away from an at-large bid. On the other hand, if the Mavericks could win tonight, that would probably save them, even if they go on to lose on Sunday.

What's the contingency if Mankato loses tonight? Well, that's actually a good reason to root for Notre Dame - we could get some help if a TUC beats them in the CCHA semifinals in Detroit. A TUC like... oh... Miami. That's why we're rooting for Notre Dame against Lake State (who almost certainly will not be a TUC after their loss tonight).

* Wisconsin beat CC last night. Good. That pushes CC's RPI down below that of the Engineers, flipping the comparison back to Rensselaer and ultimately, putting them back in the field. So what do we want to see tonight? GO TIGERS!

What? Yes, we're still hoping for the Badgers in THREE in this one. Not two, three. If Wisconsin wins tonight, that will flip their comparison with Rensselaer permanently in their favor on COp. A CC win tonight pretty much seals that comparison for the Engineers.

But, you say, wouldn't that then flip the CC comparison back to the Tigers? Yes, sadly it probably would. But, there's a great way to fix that! If Wisconsin then wins in a game on Sunday, we're sitting pretty with both CC and Wisconsin. It's such a tangled web we weave.

* Cornell, I'm sorry to say, is probably going to be a TUC no matter what after their win last night. I'm not 100% sure of that, but even if Quinnipiac comes back to sweep the next two games, I doubt we're going to be rid of the Big Red. Could we get rid of the Bobcats instead? That would marginally (very marginally) help the Engineers' TUC record if we could do that, but I tend to doubt that as well. The only thing I know 100% would doom us to being stuck with both of them would be if Quinnipiac won tonight and Cornell won on Sunday. If Quinnipiac sweeps the next two games, there's a slight chance of being rid of Cornell. If Cornell wins tonight, there's a slight chance of being rid of Quinnipiac. Pick your poison. I don't see either actually happening. We're not worried about losing comparisons with either of these teams, so that's not an element.

Incidentally, even with Bemidji State beating Nebraska-Omaha for the 4th time this season and becoming a TUC, the Nebraska-Omaha comparison can't be flipped if we can't get rid of Cornell (or Quinnipiac), even if UNO loses again tonight.

* The BU/NU series is tied 1-1 with game 3 coming on Sunday due to the BU women playing tonight in the NCAA tournament. BU advancing doesn't do anything but potentially hurt the Engineers, and their TUC record is already in the toilet, so there's not much adding potential TUC losses down the road can do to them. Of course, their potential for picking up TUC wins down the road (which could flip the Engineers comparison) shouldn't be discounted. So we're still rooting for Northeastern.

Now of course, we can see Northeastern creeping up on the TUC cliff, and we know that one tie added into the Engineers' TUC record would hurt a little. So we root for NU now (one win won't make them a TUC), and then hope they lose later.

* Watch tonight for Dartmouth and Minnesota. If they both lose, that should be a boon for the Engineers - I would expect the comparisons with both of those teams to flip while simultaneously ending their seasons. That would be so money.

The Western Michigan comparison could flip if they lose again tonight, but I doubt it. I suspect that would at least make RPI so close that the whole comparison would come down to "what random RPI effect does this combination of game results have on the comparison?" That's hard to predict, but it's better than WMU winning some more games and basically putting them in control of this one. By the way, thanks, Union, for dropping those two games in December (voice dripping with sarcasm).

* Don't worry too much about St. Cloud State and Alaska right now. Even if they come back to win their series, the Engineers will still win the comparisons with them, and we can hope they lose in the semis to complete the comparison wins.

* The ECAC would have four teams in the tournament right now - Yale, Union, RPI, and Dartmouth, but I tend to doubt that RPI and Dartmouth could both make the tournament in the end unless something odd happens.

* Everything else is still pretty much as it appears in the Engineer Cheering Section. We simply know we're rooting for Colorado College and Minnesota State tonight and their opponents on Sunday night if it gets that far.

* As an aside, Yale can absolutely lock up the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament by losing again tonight against St. Lawrence. Yeah.

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