Paula’s picks: Feb. 25, 2011

The last weekend of regular-season play – how strange it seems to be writing that, because it feels as though October was just a week ago.

There is so much at stake this weekend and so much can change with just a point that the drama quotient for every game is exceptionally high. When it’s all over, I’m sure many coaches will liken this weekend to playoff hockey.

Standings and possibilities

After last night’s 2-2 tie between Ferris State and Ohio State, the Bulldogs earned the extra shootout point. That means that the CCHA standing look like this today, with points totals.

1. Notre Dame (56)
2. Michigan (55)
3. Miami (49)
4. Western Michigan (41)
5. Ferris State (40)
6. Northern Michigan (39)
7. Alaska (38)
8. Lake Superior (37)
9. Ohio State (36)
10. Michigan State (29)
11. Bowling Green (15)

Notre Dame, Michigan and Miami have secured first-round byes. Miami may move up to second place in points with Michigan, but the Wolverines own that tiebreaker. Michigan State and Bowling Green are each locked into their positions.

Here’s how each team can finish. I’m not good with the math and all the permutations (I teach English), but I think this is correct:

  • With two wins, Notre Dame takes the league outright. The Fighting Irish cannot finish lower than second place.
  • Michigan can finish as high as first, but no lower than third.
  • Miami can finish as high as second (in points), but no lower than third.
  • Western Michigan can finish in fourth, but can finish as low as seventh.
  • Ferris State: fourth to seventh.
  • Northern Michigan: fourth to seventh.
  • Alaska: seventh to ninth.
  • Lake Superior: fourth to ninth.
  • Ohio State: seventh to ninth.
  • Michigan State: 10th.
  • Bowling Green: 11th.

I’m sure that someone will let me know if I got this wrong.

Tiebreakers

In order:

1. Conference wins.
2. Best regular-season win percentage against other teams tied for position.
3. Total goals in regular-season league play, for and against, in contests between or among the teams tied for position.
4. Best win percentage of tied teams against the remaining highest-ranking CCHA teams.
5. Coin toss.

Picks

Last week, including last night’s game: 5-3-3 (.591)
Season to date: 100-65-26 (.592)

The Bulldogs and Buckeyes have one game remaining tonight, and I talked about that series yesterday, along with some additional stuff about the Broncos and Wolverines. Here are the picks for the Friday-Saturday series. Start times are noted.

BGSU at MSU. Two wins this weekend would give the Falcons a better wins total than they had a year ago, but it’s hard to see that happening, given that Saturday’s contest will be the last home game these Spartans get to play for a coach they really love and respect, Rick Comley. The Spartans haven’t lost to the Falcons in four games and are 7-2-1 in the last 10 contests between the teams. Last weekend, BG tied and lost to Northern Michigan at home, while MSU split with Alaska on the road. After this weekend, the Falcons will still be in 11th place and the Spartans in 10th, no matter who wins. 7:35 Friday, 7:05 Saturday. MSU 3-2, 4-2.

Miami at LSSU. The RedHawks are unbeaten by the Lakers in the last eight meetings (7-0-1) and Miami is riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3) into Sault Ste. Marie. Miami was off last weekend while the Lakers took two points from Ohio State in Columbus with a tie and the extra shootout point. Both games are 7:05 p.m. Miami 4-2, 4-2.

ND vs. WMU. Last week, the Irish swept Ferris State, while the Broncos were swept by the Wolverines. Michigan’s Carl Hagelin, who scored the game-winning goal with three seconds left in overtime to deliver that sweep, said that WMU head coach Jeff Blashill told him in the handshake line that the Broncos would be gifting the Wolverines a win in this home-and-home series against the Irish – and one Notre Dame loss with four points from Michigan would give UM the regular-season title. I realize that Blashill was talking in the heat of the moment and congratulating a very worthy opponent, but I have a feeling that Notre Dame may have something to say about this, too. The Irish took four points from the Broncos in a home-and-home series Oct. 29-30, with the win coming at home. 7:35 Friday in Kalamazoo, 7:05 Saturday in South Bend. ND 3-2, 4-2.

UM at NMU. The Wolverines are 6-2-2 in their last 10 against the Wildcats. Last weekend, UM swept WMU at home and NMU took four points from BGSU with a tie and win on the road. The Wildcats trail the Wolverines 6-10-3 at home all-time, and the last time these teams met in Marquette was Oct. 17-18, 2008 – a split with NMU winning 2-0, UM winning 5-3. While both teams have a lot on the line, the Wolverines are playing for a regular-season championship. A tie for first place with Notre Dame would give Michigan the title outright, as the Wolverines own the tiebreaker over the Irish. More points would, too. 7:35 p.m. both nights. UM 3-2, 4-2.

UAA vs. UAF. The Seawolves are 7-2-1 against the Nanooks in the last 10 games, but those two losses came last season, when Fairbanks swept Anchorage to take the Governor’s Cup – which they defend this weekend. Last weekend, the Seawolves (11-16-3) split with WCHA foe Nebraska-Omaha. The Nanooks split a pair at home against the Spartans. 7:05 p.m. AT Friday in Anchorage. 7:07 p.m. AT Saturday in Fairbanks. I don’t understand the 7:07 p.m. start, either.UAF 4-3, 4-2.

  • Paula Weston

    Hey kids. I’ll be back to check in on this later — off to day job stuff. I proofread twice, but you know my old eyes…

    You can reach me on Twitter: @paulacweston
    You can reach me by email: paula.weston@uscho.com

    Happy Friday!

  • Jimjamesak

    Error noted: UAA hasn’t ended their WCHA, they play Minnesota State next weekend. Well that and you picked them to get swept.

  • Ghadhlig

    UAA/UAF Governor’s Cup is a home and home series. Friday night in Fairbanks, Saturday night in Anchorage.

  • Paula Weston

    Thanks, guys. Got the corrections. I knew that UAA-UAF is home-and-home (hence the “vs.” not the “at”), but I put Fairbanks there both nights anyway. And I am sorry that I just completely glossed over that series with Minnesota State. AARP is knocking on my door — obviously. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • ganafu

    Michigan is going to finish either first or second since they own the tiebreaker with Miami, and Miami is locked into third place.

  • Joshsko

    hey Paula ganafu is right, there is no way Miami can take 2nd in the ccha. Miami is locked into third. Michigan will finish 2nd or first depending on tonight’s results. I think you should look into AARP…

  • Craigjolly

    There are so many inaccuracies here I don’t know where to begin.

  • Tomwarns

    for Saturday’s UMass-Lowell vs BC game, Jim picked BC to win, but said “difficult to pick against the River Hawks.” Guess you meant Eagles?

  • Phoenixfyre1313

    Pretty much onboard with your picks again this week, although it is hard to imagine UMD losing another 2 at home.   I am thinking split there.

  • Thefightingman

    Wrong.  Go real WCHA Mavs!

  • Jaturenne

    Wow how does the Shephard family keeps thier jobs….Someone need sto tell me what they have on Mcleod. Oh yeah Mcleod is equally incompetent. 

  • Johnny1212

    At the top of your picks column you should divulge your season record.  For Fun! 

  • Guest

    Hi, my name is Chris Lerch, and I write about RIT…and then I write about RIT.  And then when I’m done, I write about RIT.