WCHA Playoff Picture: No One Knows

Way back in October the only thing anybody really knew about the first season of the new-look Western Collegiate Hockey Association was that nobody really knew anything about the new-look Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Fast forward five months and it turns out everyone was right: Pretty much nobody knew anything about the new-look Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Just look at that media poll. Man, we kinda sucked. Pretty much the only thing we got right: Minnesota State and Ferris State were going to finish No. 1 and No. 2 and Alabama-Huntsville is going to finish No. 10. (Although I SEVERELY underestimated how good the resurgent Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves were going to be this year… and had them finishing 10th behind UAH. Whoops.)

Everything else?

It’s still too close to call.

That’s right. With two games left in the season more than HALF of the teams in the WCHA could finish as high as fourth or could be left out of the playoffs altogether.

Geof over at UAHHockey.com has an awesome rundown off all the possible scenarios, so you should read that here. (It’s nice having not one but two engineering schools in this new WCHA, isn’t it? They can do all the hard math for us!)

Anyway the nitty-gritty for you Beaver fans as it relates to Bemijdi State: BSU would finish as high as fourth and get home ice. It could also finish out of the playoffs. Here’s what needs to happen:

-BSU GETS HOME ICE IF: This one relies most on other teams. The Beavers have to sweep Bowling Green this weekend. They also need Alaska to sweep Anchorage, Mankato to sweep Tech and need Ferris to earn at least one point against Lake Superior. If that happens both BSU and Tech finish with 28 points and BSU wins a tiebreaker based on winning percentage against Mankato (BSU beat Mankato once. If Tech is swept by the Mavs, they’ll end the season winless against them.)

-BSU IS IN THE PLAYOFFS IF: If BSU sweeps BGSU they’re in automatically no matter what everyone else does (they may not get home ice but they’ll be in, and that’s what matters).
That’s the only guarantee that BSU is in — a sweep of Bowling Green.

Anything else and the Beavers need help from other teams. I tried to do all the math myself but you’d probably be better off just reading Geof’s recap. There are still a million possibilities, all of which depend on what other teams do.

Basically: BSU is in if they sweep and should be in good shape if they get at least one win.

-BSU IS OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS IF: This is where it gets tricky. If Bowling Green sweeps BSU one wouldn’t think they’d be in playoff position, but think again: If both Bemidji State and Lake State are swept this weekend, Bemidji State wins the tiebreaker and makes the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.

The Beavers, obviously, would rather not take that chance and rely on another team to do their dirty work for them. It behooves them to get the sweep.

Long story short for BSU fans: Root for the sweep, but also root for Ferris State to beat Lake State, Fairbanks to beat Anchorage, Mankato to beat Tech and, maybe most painfully, Huntsville to beat Northern Michigan (I know, but NMU is a point behind BSU and Lake State in the standings now. If UAH beats NMU once and BSU gets a win, BSU is in no matter what.)

I’ll have more on this later in the week. Maybe. I don’t like math so if I figure anything else out I’ll post it.