According to the scenarios I've run, there are five other things around the country this weekend that can severely harm Minnesota's chances of making the big dance. They are:
- Boston University not winning the Hockey East postseason tournament
- Quinnipiac not winning the ECAC postseason tournament
- St. Cloud State winning at least one game in the NCHC tournament
- Bowling Green winning at least one game in the WCHA tournament
- Minnesota State or Michigan Tech not winning the WCHA tournament
Assuming Minnesota takes care of business against Ohio State today, they've still got a decent shot of making the tourney even if they lose to Michigan or MSU in Saturday's championship game. Based on the scenario-building I've done, it looks to me like a win tonight will get the Gophers into the NCAA tournament so long as no more than two of the above bad results take place.
As a Gopher fan, these are the only results you need to pay attention to this weekend (other than the Gophers, of course).
We'll go into why each of these results harm the Gophers in more detail below:
Boston University not winning Hockey East
BU is the only team left in the HE tournament that is guaranteed a spot in the NCAAs already based on their performance throughout the year. If any team other than BU wins, that means a spot from the bottom of the bubble disappears.
Quinnipiac not winning the ECAC
Similar to BU's situation, the other teams left in the ECAC tournament will not make the NCAAs unless they win their conference playoff. A win by Harvard, St. Lawrence or Colgate would mean the bubble shrinks yet another spot.
St. Cloud State winning at least one game in the NCHC
This one is a little different. St. Cloud is currently ahead of Minnesota in the PWR due to their high RPI. However, a loss tonight against North Dakota and a loss or tie in the third place game tomorrow would sink the Huskies' RPI below that of Minnesota's, giving the Gophers a boost up the rankings and another team to absorb a bubble hit below them.
Bowling Green winning at least one game in the WCHA
Same here as above. Bowling Green is just ahead of Minnesota in the PWR, but a loss to Michigan Tech today would sink them below the Gophers in the RPI and the PWR.
Minnesota State or Michigan Tech not winning the WCHA
If MSU-M or MTU don't win the WCHA tournament, that means that either A) Bowling Green won a game, or B) Ferris State won the tournament and won the conference's autobid into the NCAA tournament. Either of those results means one less bubble team will make it.