Arizona State Has All But Sealed NCAA Bid

College Hockey News from CHN

February 17, 2019
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by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor (@CHN_AdamWodon)

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They may not want to talk about it yet, but after another weekend sweep, Arizona State has all but locked in an at-large NCAA tournament bid.

Playing their last home game of the season Saturday night, the Sun Devils watched a 4-1, third-period lead evaporate against American International, only to win it early in overtime when PJ Marrocco put in a redirect of a feed from Brinson Pasichnuk.

While AIC has been writing a success story in its own right in Atlantic Hockey this year, it’s nothing like what Arizona State has done. In just its fourth season of playing Division I hockey (third full one), the team that still doesn’t have a conference has put together 21 wins already this season and is currently No. 8 in the Pairwise.

The Sun Devils have just two games left in the regular season — they will sit a week, then play a pair of games at Minnesota the first weekend of March. Then they will watch as everyone else participates in their conference tournaments, while waiting official word three weeks after that, when the NCAA tournament Selection Show airs on March 24.

Presuming the team makes the NCAAs, it means Arizona State will go four weeks between games.

The top 16 teams in the Pairwise make the NCAA tournament, minus the automatic bids earned by the six conference tournament champions. As a result, it’s theoretically possible only 10 at-large bids would be available, though that’s very unlikely. And because Arizona State only plays two more games, the possibility of dropping in the Pairwise is also minimized.

As a result, although there theoretically scenarios where Arizona State doesn’t make the NCAAs, the possibility at this point is remote to the extreme.

This is surely not lost on Arizona State players, who are nonetheless trying to keep …

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