Monday, January 31, 2011

Scoreboard Watching (Part III)

Time for the third edition of Scoreboard Watching. The Icers earned a crucial split with Delaware that sets things up quite well, but where does everyone else set up for the new rankings to be released Friday?

Since last time, I've removed No. 8 Minot State. The Beavers represented well with a split against Arizona State and have an easy schedule the rest of the way. The No. 7 Sun Devils also stay off as that split, combined with their sweep of Arizona over the weekend, represented their toughest remaining challenges. I think it's down to six teams for four spots, although that might be generous to Illinois - yep, I gave the Fighting Illini another reprieve, even though I said I wouldn't.

9. Oklahoma (23-12-1)

January 17th at North Dakota State, W 6-2
January 21st/22nd vs. Davenport,  L 4-8/L 3-6
January 28th/29th at Liberty, W 6-5/W 6-1
February 3rd/6th vs. Eastern Washington (ACHA D2), 8:00 p.m./1:00 p.m.
February 4th/5th vs. Oakland, 8:00 p.m./5:00 p.m.
February 11th/12th at Illinois, 8:30 p.m./8:30 p.m.

The Sooners are bloodied, but still standing. I said last week that if they beat Liberty and held position in the next ranking that they'd ultimately be in, and I have to stick with that.

10. Oakland (19-7-4)

January 21st/22nd vs. Western Michigan, W 6-4/W 2-1
January 28th/29th at Buffalo, W 7-0/W 6-1
February 3rd at Central Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m.
February 4th/5th at Oklahoma, 8:00 p.m./5:00 p.m.
February 11th vs. Davenport, 8:00 p.m.
February 12th at Davenport, 7:30 p.m.

Will the Grizzlies four fairly unimpressive wins be enough to pass Oklahoma? Maybe. I'm pretty confident that they're not moving down though.

11. Penn State (18-8-0)

January 21st at West Chester, W 7-1
January 22nd vs. West Chester, W 4-2
January 28th/29th at Delaware, L 2-4/W 3-2
February 4th/5th vs. Rhode Island, 9:00 p.m./2:00 p.m.
February 11th/12th vs. Robert Morris (PA), 9:00 p.m./3:30 p.m.

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the Icers' Saturday win over Delaware saved a spot in the top 12 of the next ranking...

12. Iowa State (21-14-0)

January 21st/22nd vs. Minnesota-Crookston (ACHA D2), W 12-2/W 14-2
January 28th/29th vs. Colorado State (ACHA D2), W 4-3 (OT)/W 3-2
February 4th/5th vs. Kansas (ACHA D2), 8:30 p.m./9:30 p.m.
February 11th/12th at Lindenwood, 8:30 p.m./5:00 p.m.

...but whether they stick at 11 or drop to 12 largely depends on how much credit Iowa State gets for beating a collection of meatballs, including two tight ones with Colorado State last weekend.

13. Robert Morris (IL) (21-7-1)

January 21st/22nd at Arizona State, W 4-3 (OT)/L 2-3 (SO)
January 28th/29th vs. Indiana, W 4-1/W 5-1
February 4th/5th at Ohio, 7:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.
February 11th/12th vs. John Carroll, 8:20 p.m./8:30 p.m.

The Eagles held serve for now, but go to Bird Arena for two next weekend - tougher games than any of the teams they're trying to catch have in front of them.

14. Illinois (15-9-1)

January 21st/22nd vs. Wisconsin (ACHA D2), W 9-1/W 11-2
January 29th vs. Ferris State (ACHA D2), W 8-0
February 4th/5th at Kent State, 7:15 p.m./7:15 p.m.
February 11th/12th vs. Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m./8:30 p.m.

Illinois didn't play Purdue last weekend after all, and instead beat up on Ferris State on Saturday, in between the Bulldogs' Friday and Sunday games with Illinois' D2 team. Not sure what happened there, but no matter - Illinois pretty much needs to win out, do so convincingly, and hope for help.

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