Friday, March 22, 2013

Favored Sons

Well, we wanted Minnesota State and North Dakota, we got Wisconsin and Colorado College. Not the best start, but fortunately we're not in a position to be do-or-die anywhere just yet... although we're looking at some BIG games today.

With the two setbacks, RPI's KRACH-weighted odds of making the national tournament now sits at 14.8794%. The Engineers can no longer finish 13th in the Pairwise, the best they can now hope for is 14th (587 scenarios of a possible 32,296).

We've got the same 12 teams that are locks or virtual locks. Here's where we stand with the rest of the at-large hopefuls.
Notre Dame - 85.9161%
Western Michigan - 81.9957%
Union - 54.5077%
Wisconsin - 25.1730%
Boston University - 19.5755%
Providence - 18.7168%
Rensselaer - 14.8784%
Robert Morris - 0.8433%

Alaska has been eliminated from NCAA contention due to CC's win over North Dakota.

All of those figures are down from yesterday with the exception of Wisconsin, naturally. RPI and Union took the biggest hits (as did RMU, if you consider that they were at least above 3% yesterday), the others were minimal at best.

It should go without saying that we want our closest competitors for an at-large bid to lose ASAP. That means we'd like to get those four teams ahead of us out tonight, if possible. Since all four are playing teams that are guaranteed to be in the tournament anyway, it makes much of what we're hoping to see today very academic.

Here's the schedule, all times eastern.

3pm
St. Cloud State over Wisconsin

4pm
Quinnipiac over Brown
Niagara over Canisius

5pm
UMass-Lowell over Providence

7:30pm
Yale over Union
Mercyhurst over UConn

8pm
Boston College over Boston University
Minnesota over Colorado College

The Mercyhurst/UConn game has been hard to draw a bead on for sure, in part because it's probably the least important game of the night for the Engineers, but also because there are different potential reasons for supporting either team. Ultimately, our gut instinct is to take Mercyhurst. Why? Because RPI played the Lakers this year (winning twice), which suggests a better PWR boost if they win tonight. They are lower rated in KRACH than UConn, suggesting that if Niagara advances as we hope they will, the Purps would be more heavily favored against Mercyhurst than against the Huskies.

Despite this, the Engineers appear to be better off in the KRACH-weighted odds if UConn wins, even though a Mercyhurst victory leaves more paths to an at-large bid open. We're sticking with our gut and taking the Lakers - which could be irrelevant if Niagara wins anyway.

The good news? We're rooting for higher seeds in every game but the Mercyhurst/UConn game.

The bad news? Losses for our teams in any of the five biggest games - SCSU/UW, Niagara/Canisius, UML/PC, Yale/UC, and BC/BU - would be difficult to swallow.

With the CCHA on a Saturday/Sunday schedule this year, it's likely we won't know for sure if the Engineers are in the tournament until Sunday. If they're definitively out, that could come today or tomorrow.

We'll keep you updated via Twitter as the day progresses. Starting at three, we'll also have a chat here at WaP if you wish to keep caught up on what's going on around the country in real time.

Once more unto the breach, friends.

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