Saturday, March 23, 2013

One NCAA Tournament Berth to Go

The final berth in the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship will come down to tomorrow's final CCHA Championship.

If Michigan, winner of its last five games, defeats Notre Dame on Sunday in Detroit, the Wolverines will garner the CCHA's automatic bid and advance to their 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament. If the Fighting Irish, who are already in line for an at-large bid, triumph, then Yale will also get in.

Western Michigan looks like it will be sidelined, regardless of whoever wins tomorrow's last-ever CCHA title. That's largely because previously not-under-consideration Canisius won the Atlantic Hockey playoff crown and that league's automatic berth, "stealing" a spot from a higher-ranked team, according to the Pairwise Rankings.

Also earning autobids by winning league postseason titles this weekend were UMass Lowell (Hockey East), Union (ECAC) and Wisconsin (WCHA). Earning at-large bids, according to the Pairwise, should be Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Miami, Boston College, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Denver, Niagara, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State.

The NCAA Selection Show will air on Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. The NCAA Regionals will be held on March 29-31 in Manchester, Providence, Toledo and Grand Rapids, Minn., while this year's Frozen Four will take place on April 11-13 in Pittsburgh.

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