The Gopher women's hockey team being snubbed from the NCAA tournament was a shock to the State of Hockey, and in less than two weeks the men's tournament field will be announced, begging the question: Will any Minnesota men's teams be snubbed by the selection committee?
As it stands with two weekends of hockey remaining, the Minnesota Gophers, UMD Bulldogs, Minnesota State Mavericks, St. Cloud State Huskies and Bemidji State Beavers all have a shot at making the NCAA tournament.
- Minnesota State is ranked No. 3 in the USCHO poll
- Minnesota is ranked No. 4
- St. Cloud State is ranked No. 8
- Minnesota-Duluth is ranked No. 9
- Bemidji State is ranked No. 15
The tournament field is made up of 16 teams, including six conference tournament champions who receive an automatic bid, and 10 teams who are selected at-large.
The hosts of the USCHO's "Weekend Review" podcast believe all five Division 1 teams from Minnesota are pretty much locks to make the tournament when the field is announced Mar. 21. The show projects the following teams as tourney locks.
- Big Ten: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan
- Atlantic: AIC
- Hockey East: Boston College, Boston University, UMass
- ECAC: Quinnipiac
- NCHC: St. Cloud State, North Dakota, UMD, Omaha
- WCHA: Minnesota State, Bowling Green, Bemidji State
Teams that are currently considered locks who don't win their conference tournament could be in trouble if there are a bunch of upsets in the conference tournaments, but as things stand now the teams listed above are in pretty good shape.
The WCHA has never had three teams make the tournament since realignment a handful of years ago, but the hosts of the "Weekend Review" podcast think Bemidji State has done enough – and played enough top competition – to warrant a spot in the tournament.
Based on the Pairwise Rankings – which historically do a pretty good job predicting the 16 teams that make the tournament – Minnesota State is the No. 1 team in the nation, which projects as the top seed and one of four No. 1 seeds. .
The Gophers are ranked fifth in the Pairwise, Bemidji State is 10th, St. Cloud State is 16th and UMD is 20th.
Conference tournaments continue the next two weekends. Here's when Minnesota teams play this weekend.
- St. Cloud State vs. Colorado College - Friday
- Minnesota State vs. Ferris State - Friday/Saturday
- Bemidji State vs. Michigan Tech - Friday/Saturday
- Minnesota-Duluth vs. Western Michigan - Friday/Saturday
- Minnesota vs. Michigan State - Sunday