Minnesota looks like a completely new team in the past few weeks, blasting Denver with seven goals two weeks ago and taking three points at rival Wisconsin. But as exciting as it was for Gophers fans to watch their team earn its first sweep since Nov. 19-20, Minnesota didn’t get any closer to an at-large bid to the tournament. In fact, it took a step backward.

The Gophers entered the weekend 18th in the PairWise Rankings, beat Michigan Tech 5-2 and fell to two spots Friday and gained one spot after Saturday’s win. It’s not that Minnesota hurt itself by beating the Huskies, but wins over a weak team like Michigan Tech hold limited value.

The PairWise is used to decide the NCAA tournament field and compares teams based on four criteria: each team’s RPI (ratings percentage index), winning percentage vs. TUCs (teams under consideration, must have a +.5000 RPI), head-to-head competition and winning percentage against common opponents.

Michigan Tech is not a TUC, and since nearly every team in the WCHA has a great record against the Huskies, beating Tech doesn’t help much in the common opponents department. Essentially, the Gophers would be in the same position in the PairWise if they had a bye this weekend instead of sweeping Tech.

The wins did give the Gophers four points, which helps them wrap up a spot in the WCHA’s top six for home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Gophers go to Bemidji State this weekend to end the season, but like the Michigan Tech series, Minnesota has very little to gain in Bemidji in terms of the PWR.

The Beavers are on the verge of dipping below .5000 in the RPI and a Gophers sweep would ensure that.

BSU’s dropping could have a positive affect on Nebraska-Omaha by erasing the blemish of UNO’s 1-3 record against the Beavers. North Dakota would take a slight hit since the Sioux beat BSU four times, but UND’s win percentage vs. TUCs is so far set apart that it won’t affect much.

St. Cloud State is the one team BSU can affect if it loses its TUC status. The Huskies are 3-1 against the Beavers this season with a .4677 winning percentage against TUCs, and that would drop to .4259.

The reality is all signs point to BSU’s RPI falling below .5000. The Beavers would likely have to get, at least, a split with Minnesota and then win its playoff series to remain a TUC.

Five of SCSU’s comparison wins (Dartmouth, Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Ferris State and Alaska) rely heavily on winning percentage vs. TUCs, and the Huskies will likely lose all five without their record against BSU.

Three or four points for SCSU this weekend in Denver could help turn some comparisons and move the Huskies up the PWR, but BSU’s imminent falling out of the TUCs would bring SCSU right back down. A Denver sweep would most likely get the Pioneers into the top four in the PWR.

Minnesota-Duluth has a big series with UNO this weekend at Amsoil Arena as far as tournament positioning goes. A Bulldogs sweep would turn comparisons with the teams directly ahead of them and put UMD back in position for a two seed and a run at a top seed.

But if things go sour for the Bulldogs this weekend and UNO leaves with three or more points, UMD’s winning percentage vs. TUCs would plummit to .500. The Bulldogs would go from 11th in the PWR to the bubble, losing comparisons because of the TUCs it didn’t beat.

  • Anthony D

    perhaps it would be more “important” to beat TUC’s instead of “improtant” Can anybody on this site actually use spellcheck?

    • a$$hunter

      What an a$$. Does it really matter? Im sure your the only perfect person who has never misspelled anything, right?

      • Scott

        I agree with Anthony on this one. If you want to be a legitimate web site, then do a better job with things like this. Everyone does make mistakes, but you have editors for a reason and if you’re any good it shouldn’t be too difficult to catch a blatant spelling error in the title of your article.

        • B.D.

          ahhh, the IMPROTINENCE…..

      • StormJr

        Yes, it matters….it’s very, very improtant.

      • Anthony D

        “I’m sure your the only…” Clearly I don’t need to worry about you joining me in that elite category ;) Also, I really don’t care THAT much about spelling, but if it’s going to the the second word of your title, which everybody on the site is going to see, you SHOULD get that correct. The latest Bracketology post had 2 blatant errors in it, one of which pretty much defeated the entire purpose of it in the 1st place.

        • Ke$ha

          Yo, Anthony D(umbass)!
          “if it’s going to the the second word of your title …”?
          Good job, buddy.

  • Anthony D

    Anyways, good article about the TUC’s. Hopefully BSU and SCSU take care of business this weekend, don’t really want to see SCSU slide that far down the PWRs

  • Jason

    Good article!

  • Guest

    Does anybody know why Yale is 1st in PWR yet they didn’t even win their own conference?

    • Looking at the individual comparisons, it boils down to two things: Yale has the best RPI of all TUCs and has a very strong record against TUCs (12-3-0). This gives them two points pretty much right off the bat against every other team. For a team to win the comparison they’d need to have a better record against common opponents and a one game advantage in head to head, which no one has.

      • Guest

        Thanks for they reply but I’m just curious because looking at the comparison UND v Yale. UND in 1st in RPI to 2nd in Yale. Yale has better win % in TUC but UND’s entire schedule has been against TUC which is 35 games compared to only 15 for Yale. Either way it doesn’t really matter too much since more than likely they both will be 1 seeds in the tournament anyway.

        • SiouxAlumDenver

          Yeah its a dumb system. UND loses the comparison simply based on percentage, and they lose the common opponent because they spilt with CC and Yale beat them. I would guess the NCAA might, and hopefully, sees the SOS for UND and puts them as the number one overall seed. But UND would still need to do well in the Final Five and not lose to a weak opponent.

          • Guest

            Regardless, Yale will play where they want to be. Over in Brideport or whatever that dumb uck town is over there!

        • Guest

          except number 1 overall should in theory give you the Atlantic Hockey champion as a first round opponent and as we all are aware, this will not be a TUC (i.e. one of the top 15 teams in the rankings) and could present a much easier opportunity to advance.

          • jason

            I believe TUC aren’t just the top 15…bemidji is still a TUC and they are t29.

  • Scott

    And doesn’t Pairwise also utilize head to head results? Kind of lazy writing which I guess shouldn’t come as a surprise with the WCHA bloggers.

  • Steveo

    Minnesota does this every year. They refuse to play any non conference road series against anybody. The only time they will play a contender on the national seen is if they do it for the money against other Big Ten opponents at a so called neutral site like the Xcel energy center or Target Center. They even pay off league teams like Mankato and St. Cloud to give up regular season home games to play at their preferred neutral site. Look up their schedules under this administration and they play 75% of their games, non-conference, regular season, and playoffs WCHA and NCAA right in the Twin Cities proper.

  • tom

    anybody have final five tickets for sale?

    • Scott

      Just wait for the delusional Gopher fans to unload them in a couple of weeks.

  • northdasotan

    The NCAA is not going to give the number one seed to the Sioux over Yale. The NCAA wants to see Yale succeed and does obviously does not like the SIOUX.

  • Duh!

    What? No picture of that class-act NoDak fan flipping off the Michigan player after the empty-netter?

    Sioux are OVER-RATED and the fans are CLASSLESS.

    • Jonny

      Living in NoDak and dealing with Sioux fans is awful. The weather is nothing compared to putting up with them.

      • Nodak Fan

        So move

    • USCHO policy doesn’t permit the use of that sort of image. That individual did the same thing on Winnett’s goal as well and certainly did not represent his team well.