Here is what is known about next weekend's Big Ten hockey tournament in Detroit. All six teams will play there at Joe Louis Arena. Playing one another this weekend, Ohio State and Wisconsin will be the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively. Minnesota fans will complain that it isn't the Final Five.
Approximately 1,000 "Eight Mile" references will be made.
With one game remaining for each team, there is still a lot to be determined. Three teams entered the weekend within one game of first place Michigan State, including the team the Spartans play this weekend, Michigan. Minnesota hosts Penn State with both ready to jump into first if the other two falter.
Heck things are so close Michigan State went from fourth to first in just one game.
By the end of Friday night the Spartans were back down to third.
With so many scenarios entering this weekend and few being of the Entourage "everyone works out in for us the end, Vince" variety, we here at SB Nation College Hockey decided to wait a day and break the remaining ones left. Seriously, there basically were ways for almost every combination to happen. Throw in ties and shootouts and there were ways in some cases for both .
Thankfully we don't have to deal with the lone scenario where the Gophers hold a tiebreaker over Michigan - Minnesota and Penn State split, Michigan and Michigan State tie twice and the two teams split shootouts. But there are others still alive.
Big Ten Standings after Friday March 13:
Michigan - 36 points (12-7-0-0)
Minnesota - 36 points (11-5-3-0)
Michigan State - 34 points (10-7-2-2)
Penn State - 31 points (10-8-1-0)
Ohio State - 23 points (7-11-1-1)
Wisconsin - 11 points (2-14-3-2)
Games are all 3 points. A regulation or OT win is worth 3 points. A shootout win is worth 2 points and shootout loss 1 point. A regulation or OT loss is worth 0 points. For NCAA purposes shootouts are officially ties.
Below are some of the tiebreakers as a ready guide in case it is needed. If two teams are tied for first place both will be declared co-champions. The tiebreakers are for seeding purposes.
The top two seeds will have a first round bye. With two instead of three games and everyone except possibly Minnesota needing to win the conference tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament, one less game is of the utmost importance.
Here are the tiebreaker procedures from the Big Ten's web site.
a) Seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by the greater number of Big Ten regular-season wins;
b) If not determined by (a), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by the team with the best regular-season winning percentage against the other co-champion(s);
c) If not determined by (a) or (b), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by comparison of total goals for and against each team in contests between (among) co-champion(s) in conference games. For sake of clarity, a team's goals-against shall be subtracted from its goals-for in order to compare;
d) If not determined by (a) or (b) or (c), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by comparison of the winning percentages of the co-champions against the remaining highest ranked Big Ten teams in conference games, successively, until the determination is accomplished or all Big Ten regular-season contests have been considered;
e) If not determined by (a) or (b) or (c) or (d), seeding amongst tied teams shall be determined by the flip of a coin.
Who can still win the Big Ten championship:
Michigan: Outright with more points than Minnesota on Saturday. Co-champion with the Gophers if both have the same points.
Minnesota: Outright with a win and Michigan loss/tie. Co-champion with the Wolverines if both have the same number of points.
Michigan State: Outright with a win and Minnesota loss to Penn Saturday. Co-champion with a win and Gopher shootout win.
Basically the Spartans need a regulation or OT win. Nothing else gets it the title
Who cannot win the Big Ten championship:
Penn State: The Nittany Lions lost its chance with a loss Friday. The best Penn State can finish is a tie for third.
Can all three remaining teams tie?
Thankfully no. Both games ending with wins killed that chance. Thanks Wisconsin and Ohio State for taking the 10 round bullet on that one tonight.
Who wins Big Ten tiebreakers?
Scenario #1: Michigan and Minnesota end up co-champions
Michigan holds the tiebreaker over Minnesota with more conference wins (13 to 12 or 12 to 11).
Scenario #2: Michigan State and Minnesota end up co-champions
Minnesota holds the tiebreaker over Michigan State. To get a co-champion, both teams would have 11 conference wins. The Gophers take the second tiebreaker with a 2-1-1 head-to-head record with the Spartans.
Scenario #3: Penn State and Michigan State tie for 3rd
Penn State would hold the tiebreaker with more wins. (11 to 10).
So to sum up like a "next time on Entourage" recap:
Teams with championship hopes: Michigan, Minnesota Michigan State
Teams with bye hopes: Michigan, Minnesota and Michigan State
Teams that can finish anywhere from first to third: Michigan, Minnesota and Michigan State
Team that can finish anywhere from first to the fourth Big Ten seed: Michigan State
Penn State can finish: Fourth or tied for third and the third seed.
And of course Michigan and Michigan State play 3 hours earlier than Minnesota and Penn State so the latter two teams will know what they need to do.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate