Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gopher Hockey NCAA Tournament Magic Number: 5ish

The Pairwise rankings are a tough nut to crack, but the latest simulations from Jim Dahl over at College Hockey Ranked seem to say that the Gophers are pretty safe to make the NCAA tournament field if they can win five more games before the NCAA field is announced.

Minnesota has six more regular season games remaining, and at least one game in the B1G Conference Tournament.

Mr. Dahl's analysis shows that the Gophers should be somewhere on the right side of the bubble with four more wins in the regular season, but an 0-fer performance in the conference tournament after that could knock Minnesota out of the NCAA tournament field.  To be safe, Gopher fans will want to start counting up to five wins, starting this weekend as Minnesota hosts Michigan State for a Thursday-Friday series.

As a reminder, the top two teams after the B1G regular season get a bye in the first round of the conference tournament, before playing in the semifinal game against the winners of the first round contests.

If the Gophers go 4-2 down the stretch and win in the semifinal matchup of the B1G Tourney before falling in the championship game, they likely will still be okay to get into the big dance.  Anything less than that, though, and Minnesota fans could be biting their fingernails come Selection Sunday, waiting to see if the team survived or if their bubble burst.

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