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Gopher Women’s Hockey: NCAA Screws Gophers

Minnesota misses the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 seasons

Eric Miller—

Somehow the NCAA decided that the Minnesota Gophers weren’t worthy of one of obtainable at-large bids when they announced the 8 team-NCAA Tournament field ending Minnesota’s 13 season streak of making the tournament. UMD, Boston College and Providence all received bids over Minnesota, even though the Gophers had better available metrics than all three schools. There is no way otherwise to put it, the Gophers got utterly screwed by the NCAA.

Minnesota finished the season with a 11-8-1 record on the season. Minnesota had their season come to a close with a loss to Wisconsin in the WCHA Frozen Faceoff semifinals on Saturday. The Badgers beat Ohio State to win the tournament today.

Minnesota lost 8 games this season. Four to #2 Wisconsin, four to #3 Ohio State. They beat the Buckeyes twice, and swept #5 seed UMD. The Bulldogs made the tournament over the Gophers.

UMD finished second place in the regular season in the WCHA. How? In the unbalanced schedule they only played Wisconsin twice and Ohio State twice splitting with each team. They also played the Gophers twice, losing both games. The Bulldogs were destroyed by Ohio State in the WCHA semifinals on Saturday.

Minnesota had to play Wisconsin four times and Ohio State six. They then lost a fourth time to the Badgers in the semifinal Saturday.

While the Pairwise is not a fair ranking of schools in different conferences this season due to the lack on non-conference games you can still use in to differentiate between teams in the same conference. Minnesota was ranked ahead of UMD in both KRATCH and RPI. But UMD is in the field as the #5 seed, and the Gophers did not get in.

Boston College went 14-5 this season losing twice to Providence, once to #1 Northeastern and once each to unranked teams Boston University and UConn in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. BC beat Providence once and Northeastern once. That’s it. Yet they are in the field as the #6 seed.

Providence went 12-7-1 this season. They lost to Northeastern four times including the Hockey East Championship Game Saturday. They went 2-1 against Boston College. They tied unranked UConn, and lost to unranked Maine and New Hampshire. New Hampshire went 7-14-1 on the season. Yet, somehow Providence got in the field over Minnesota. How?

The only...and I mean ONLY explanation is that the committee decided they couldn’t have four WCHA teams in the field. They will probably give some BS explanation that well we couldn’t determine strength of conferences this season so we had to keep it as even as possible.

That is a load of bullshit. The WCHA has been the strongest conference in the nation for the last 3-4 years. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Minnesota have been ranked in the top four of the national poll all season long. The WCHA GOT THREE OF THE TOP FIVE NCAA TOURNAMENT SEEDS. Yeah, the WCHA is significantly stronger than the other conferences. It is an absolute joke.

Even if you believed that line of BS, Minnesota should be in the tournament over UMD. They played a tougher schedule and got punished for it. It’s that simple.

If you want to believe in more conspiratorial means...

UMD was the only WCHA member of the selection committee and they somehow got in over Minnesota despite worse metrics in all but regular season record with an unbalanced schedule.

We all knew with the NCAA needing to revert back to the “old smoky room” for tournament selection that things might get weird. But man....I want some of whatever they were smoking to make that room smoky with these selections.