Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WCHA Standings - How'd I Do?

Back in September, while I was still writing for the examiner.com publication, I ventured to predict what was going to happen in the regular season and even offered up my final picks. Now, I'm no Jimmy "The Greek" or Pete Axthelm, but I'd like to think I get one right once in a while. Here's how I saw the league shaping up last October:
  1. Denver
  2. Minnesota
  3. North Dakota
  4. Wisconsin
  5. UMD
  6. St. Cloud State
  7. Colorado College
  8. Alaska-Anchorage
  9. Minnesota State
  10. Michigan Tech
Now, here's what actually occurred, followed in parentheses by the difference between reality and my prognostications:
  1. Denver (N/C)
  2. Wisconsin (+2)
  3. St. Cloud State (+3)
  4. North Dakota (-1)
  5. UMD (N/C)
  6. Colorado College (+1)
  7. Minnesota (-5)
  8. Minnesota State (+1)
  9. Alaska-Anchorage (-1)
  10. Michigan Tech (N/C)
Gee, I wonder what looks to be the outlier here.

I cannot believe I'm too far off in being wrong, especially about Minnesota. Only the most fervent Gopher-haters would have predicted the team would have finished seventh in the league this season despite returning 20 NHL draft picks including three first-rounders. Also, I think St. Cloud State and Wisconsin surprised some out there. Many believed the Huskies would have trouble replacing departed goaltender Jase Weslosky and few could have foretold Wisconsin's offensive explosion in the second half. Other than that, the league sort of fell into expected territory.

The playoffs start this weekend and the WCHA has four teams solidly in the PairWise's top ten:
  • Denver (1)
  • Wisconsin (3)
  • North Dakota (5 - how?)
  • St. Cloud State (7t)
There is little which could happen this weekend to bump any of these teams out of the top ten and they should all secure NCAA Tournament berths in two weeks. That means for the other six teams are fighting for their tournament lives this weekend, running into next week's WCHA Final Five. UMD is on the bubble at #15, Colorado College needs to go on a run at #21, and the Gophers need to run the table over the next two weeks due to their #23 ranking. With teams having everything for which to play, the WCHA playoffs should be very exciting this week.

Programming Note: DP will have playoff previews coming later in the week for the four series not involving the Gophers and will have the UND/Minnesota preview on Friday. Predictions will abound! 

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