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Tuesday @ The Rink With Jayson Moy

Welcome to CollegeSports.com and USCHO's "Tuesday At The Rink" series of moderated chats.

The final week of the regular season is upon us and teams are facing must-win situations all around the country. To discuss them, we have USCHO Bracketologist Jayson Moy at 2:00 p.m. ET, followed by CSTV's Dave Starman at 3:00 p.m. ET

At The Rink

Jayson Moy has been with USCHO since it's inception in 1996. He began with USCHO as the ECAC Correspondent covering the conference and in 2001 was named the recipient of the ECAC's Media Recognition Award. In 1999 he also assumed the duties of General Manager of USCHO.

Jayson has also been the radio voice for Rensselaer athletics for the last 12 years and has served on the Hobey Baker Award selection committee for the past three seasons.

He hosts USCHO's yearly Town Hall Meeting, which takes place on Frozen Friday before the awarding of the Humanitarian and Hobey Baker Awards. USCHO's PairWise Rankings have been the focus of his weekly Bracketology column in which the correct field has been picked for seven straight years, but to his dismay, not in the order he has predicted. This season he will get it right on the nose.

While Jayson is not joining us until Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. ET, feel free to leave him a question in advance.

CollegeSports.com Moderator: Hi, everyone, and welcome to another session of Tuesday @ The Rink. We've got double barreled action this afternoon. And starting us off today is USCHO Bracketologist Jayson Moy.
Jayson Moy: Hello everyone. Good to talk to all of you. Is everyone ready to pop the headache medicine and try to figure out the brackets for the tournament? No need, it's really all pretty simple (Yes, I just keep telling myself that...).

Stephen (Brooklyn): Last time you were on, you didn't mention Cornell as a team from the ECAC, and you thought Vermont would make the tournament. Care to change that prediciton? If Cornell sweeps this weekend at SLU/Clarkson, they will almost certainly receive a #1 seed as Denver and CC play each other in 2 weeks, and only 1 team can win the WCHA tournament.
Jayson Moy: Seeing as how this is my first chat, you must have been reading something else. I will certainly change somebody's prediction, as right now Cornell looks like a lock to make the tournament. As for Cornell in a number one seed, that is still to be determined. Cornell has to sweep SLU and Clarkson like you mentioned, but they also need Michigan and/or Minnesota and/or CC and/or BC to fail.
Jayson Moy: Michigan will have a tough time making a one seed, but Minnesota, with two wins over St. Cloud will almost certainly nail a one seed down. Likewise with CC if it sweeps Denver next week. Cornell needs some things to happen though as well. The Big Red will be helped by the fact that Dartmouth/Vermont play Harvard/Brown this weekend, strengthing their numbers. But they also need SLU to stay as a Team Under Consideration. And Cornell will also be helped if Canisius wins the AHA title since Cornell has defeated Canisius this season. Vermont, on the other hand, likely out unless the Cats win the ECACHL tourney.

Skeeter (Port Huron): Who will come out of the CHA? Can a dark horse like Wayne State or Robert Morris pull an upset?
Jayson Moy: Robert Morris can certainly put up a big fight, we've seen how scrappy Derek Schooley has the Colonials playing, but I don't think it's possible. Wayne State has done it before. They've come into the CHA tourney as a lower seed and won it all, so it certainly is a possibility. But I think Bemidji and UAH are too strong to let this opportunity go by. Both teams have been in this position before and I think are ready to get in the hunt. If I had to pick, Bemidji would be the team right now.

Adam (Ann Arbor): The Michigan faithful would love to see the Wolverines in Grand Rapids for the regionals. Does Michigan control its own destiny? If they beat BGSU twice and goes undefeated in the CCHA tournament, will its RPI be high enough to overtake one or two of the WCHA teams that will invariably lose in their tournament?
Jayson Moy: The biggest problem here is that the WCHA will almost certainly have 2 teams in the top 4 of the PWR. If one of those two teams is Minnesota, Michigan is in trouble. As Minnesota has to play in Minneapolis, that leaves the other WCHA in Grand Rapids. What does Michigan have to do to get in the top 4 and drop Minnesota? It's very tough, they don't compare well against CC and Denver, and with CC and Denver facing quality opponents in the WCHA Final Five, if they get there, it only strengthens them. The Wolverines can pass BC because BC has a tough road ahead of them down the stretch, but to me, it's unlikely that Michigan will get enough strength to pass anyone.
Jayson Moy: The CCHA isn't strong enough to present opponents for Michigan to lift their RPI at the moment. You folks may hate to hear it, but perhaps it's best, if Michigan wants to play in Grand Rapids, to drop a few notches in the PWR and not be in the 5 or 6 hole, but maybe the 7 or 8 hole to get to Michigan.

Larry (Lansing): What games this week will have the biggest effect on the most teams?
Jayson Moy: Hockey East has some superior matchups this week that can affect teams. UML at Maine, UNH vs BC and BU vs. NU. All six of these teams are Teams Under Consideration and it can certainly swing things in a team's favor or against them. Maine really needs to sweep UML this weekend to bring themselves within striking distance of an at-large bid. UML did themselves a huge favor last weekend sweeping BC and can almost clinch an at-large bid with a sweep this weekend.
Jayson Moy: Then, of course, UNH and BC can have a large effect. BC is 12-5-1 against TUC's at the moment, and two losses here will drop them to 12-7-1, that's within range for a few teams to catch them on that criteria. Meanwhile, UNH is 9-7-3 against TUC's. Two wins brings them up in that criteria and can change some criteria. And then BU and NU has a big effect as well. NU won't be falling out of the TUC's at any time soon, but BU can entrench themselves with two wins. NU most likely will have to win the tournament to get in, but their numbers count. And NU has played a number of common opponents to a lot of the HE and ECACHL teams that are in the top ranks right now. This is going to give Dave Hendrickson a lot to write about this week, not that he needs a reason to write a 10,000 page opus.

Tom, Boston: Does the selection committee at all try to avoid potential rivalry matchups when putting the bracket together. For instance, would they make a special attempt to keep BC and BU or Colorado College and Denver out of the same regional, thereby avoiding possible 2nd round matchups? Or are they strictly concerned with only avoiding 1st round conference matchups?
Jayson Moy: The committee's only real priority is avoiding first round intraconference matchups. Rivalry games do not mean much to them, only in the first round. We've seen the likes of BC-UNH in the second round, or BU-Maine as well.

Eddy (Norwich, VT): Jayson, does a split this weekend with Harvard and Brown knock Dartmouth out of at-large contention? Or does the prospect of playoff games against Vermont bolster the Big Green's chances?
Jayson Moy: A weekend split with Harvard and Brown probably will not knock Dartmouth out of playoff contention, but it's really all dependent upon how other teams also do. Dartmouth is 8-5-2 against TUC's at the moments, and would move to 9-6-2 against TUC's should they split. (Brown will most likely remain a TUC after this weekend). Dartmouth would have to watch what Wisconsin, BU, Northern Michigan and Michigan State do.
Jayson Moy: The PWR wins that Dartmouth holds over those four teams is heavily reliant on the Record Against TUC's criteria. A slip there, and that criteria could turn easily, resulting in lost PWR comparisons for Dartmouth. Should Dartmouth play in the second round of the ECACHL tournament, it would depend upon who that is. Vermont would help, Brown could possibly help, if Dartmouth got the bye, but getting a bye and playing a team that's not a TUC, won't help. Dartmouth is clearly on the bubble.

Jack (Orono): How many points will the Black Bears have to take in their final four games against ranked opponents in order to secure a tourney bid before the conference tournament? Does Lowell beating BC make it more difficult for them to earn a bid on account that their games against BC will have less leverage?
Jayson Moy: Maine has to take 8 points to have a chance at an at-large without winning the HE tournament. If you look at the PWR wins column, Maine has to increase its PWR win total by at least 4-5 wins. That means passing some teams and changing around the comparisons. In this case, Maine can take Michigan State, NMU, Colgate, Ohio State and Wisconsin if it sweeps 4 games.
Jayson Moy: Maine will improve its RPI by beating UML and BC, plus pick up four wins over TUC's. That would be enough to take over Michigan State and NMU. So there's two wins. That would also overtake Colgate, and a combination of RPI and TUC wins would have them overtake Ohio State and Wisconsin. If Maine falters in these four games, they have to go to Boston and win the HE Championship to make it in.

Bob (Andover, MA): Hi Jason-- In general, if a TUC team beats another TUC squad ranked higher in the PairWise, does the winning team improve its rank? Thanks.
Jayson Moy: Not necessarily. It's all relative in this game. A win against a TUC will put a notch in your column, but it's still a combination of all four factors. So to say that a win over a higher ranked TUC will result in more wins is not the case at all.

James Anderson, Marquette, MI: I see Northern Michigan dropped off this week. Do you see a scenario that would put NMU in the tourney?
Jayson Moy: There are always scenarios. The simplest one, of course, is to win the CCHA Tournament, but in case the Wildcats don't, they have to pick up some PWR wins. The easiest two for them to pick up will be the PWR losses they have right now to Wisconsin and Dartmouth. Why Wisconsin? Well, Wisconsin has four games left against TUC's and if the Badgers lose four of them, or even split, their record against TUC's goes down. NMU is stuck on 9-7-2 until they get to the CCHA Tournament, but Wisconsin losing four will change that criteria in favor of NMU. Then a sweep of Ferris State will also turn the Common Opponents criteria NMU's way, since that will move them to 9-3-3 against Common Opponents, taking that comparison away from Wisconsin, and in turn giving the Comparison win to NMU.
Jayson Moy: Dartmouth, as mentioned before, has two games against TUC's this weekend. Two losses turns the comparison towards NMU's favor. A combination of these two things happening with Dartmouth and Wisconsin, and NMU has enough wins to be 14th in the PWR. A lot of ifs, but there's a scenario for you.

Tom (Troy): Do you have a favorite or two among the "Big 4" that could score an upset in the tournaments and take an autobid, denying the #13 or #14 Pairwise teams spots in the big dance?
Jayson Moy: I don't think two is enough to list. In HE we've already talked about Maine. And don't forget that Northeastern could be a threat. Let's face it, if any of the lower seeds gets out of the quarterfinals against BC, UNH, BU or Maine, they have a real shot. Then in the ECACHL there's always Rensselaer. OK, so I threw that in for me. But Vermont, Dartmouth, even Brown or St. Lawrence, if they get hot. Over in the CCHA we talked about NMU, there's also Michigan State, who has shown they can play after splitting with Ohio State this past weekend. Then in the WCHA, I don't think you can rule anyone out over there. But if you had to pin me down to two teams, I would go with Michigan State or Dartmouth.

Colorado Springs: What team do you think has the best chance of winning the NCAA championship?
Jayson Moy: This is a trick question right? So that I can get my e-mail filled with hate messages? I know how you people work. As of right now, if I had to fill out a pool sheet, I would take Colorado College. The combination of offense, defense and goaltending has what it takes.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Unfortunately, that is all we have time for with Jayson.
Jayson Moy: It was great being here folks, send more questions over to me via email, and I'll try to answer more in a future Bracketology. There's plenty of more weeks to go, so keep reading, keep debating and we'll see you at the rink. Thanks folks.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Don't forget.....At the top of the hour, we will be joined by CSTV's Dave Starman, so send your questions in now.

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