With just one regular-season game remaining for each Big Ten team, the outcomes of the conference standings (and therefore the options of seeding for the conference tournament) are set. Let’s look at what can happen…
- Maryland, Ohio State, and Johns Hopkins are in the tournament.
- Rutgers has been eliminated from contention.
- Penn State and Michigan will play for the final tourney spot this weekend, locked into the No. 4 seed.
On to the possibilities. Things aren’t quite hammered down with the 1-3 seeds. Maryland (4-0) can drop out of the top spot, passed by either of the other two teams based on tiebreakers.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume Ohio State beats Rutgers. If they don’t, the seeding is fairly straightforward: Maryland winning the conference makes the Bucks No. 2 and Hopkins No. 3, or Hopkins winning the league makes UMd No. 2 and Ohio State No. 3. In the more likely scenario that Ohio State takes care of business against the Scarlet Knights, a Maryland win means it’s Terps 1 (5-0), Ohio State 2 (4-1), Hopkins 3 (3-2).
If Johns Hopkins does knock off their rival, however, the scenario will come down to goal differential, as all three will sit at 4-1 in the league. As things stand now, Ohio State is plus-2 in goal differential in the three-team mini-conference. Maryland is plus-1, and Hopkins is minus-3.
- Hopkins wins by one goal. Ohio State plus-two, Maryland even, Hopkins minus-two.
- Hopkins wins by two goals. Ohio State plus-two, Hopkins minus-one, Maryland minus-one. Hopkins beats out Maryland for No. 2 seed thanks to head-to-head victory.
- Hopkins wins by three-four goals. Ohio State plus-two, Hopkins even (or plus one), Maryland minus two (or three).
- Hopkins wins by five goals. Ohio State plus-two, Hopkins plus-two, Maryland minus four. Ohio State beats out Hopkins for top seed based on head-to-head result.
- Hopkins wins by six or more. Hopkins plus-three (or more), Ohio State plus-two, Maryland minus five (or more).
A Hopkins win ensures Ohio State is the top seed unless the Blue Jays win by six or more. A Hopkins win by more than a single goal (but fewer than six) gives the Buckeyes the top seed with the Blue Jays locked into second. A six-goal Hopkins win seems out of the realm of reality, but would make the Blue Jays the top seed.
The most likely outcome, of course, seems to be that Maryland wins The Rivalry Trophy, with LaxPower projecting a three-plus goal victory at home, and the seedings are straightforward at that point. Michigan and Penn State are playing for the right to face Maryland, with a chance to play Ohio State if the Terps trip up against Hopkins.