The Division I men’s ice hockey committee finally hammered out its new guidelines last week for seeding the NCAA tournament. This is the first season of the new four-region, 16-team format. The selection process, based on the system of comparisons (and summarized by USCHO’s PairWise Rankings) remains unchanged.
The 16 teams, once selected, will be grouped in four “bands” of four; in essence a group of four No. 1 seeds, four No. 2 seeds, four No. 3 seeds, and four No. 4 seeds. Each of the four teams in each band will be put into one of the four regions. In the first round, a No. 1 seed will always play a No. 4 seed, and a No. 2 seed will always play a No. 3 seed.
In the past, teams often had their seeds flip-flopped within region in order to avoid intra-conference matchups. But now, with four regions, and thus more flexibility, teams can remain in their original seed, and simply be flip-flopped with the same seed in another region.
The selection committee will first place the top four teams as No. 1 seeds, placing them closest to the home region as possible. They will also be arranged in such a way that, if all four advance to the Frozen Four, the top No. 1 seed, will be the fourth-ranked No. 1 seed, and two vs. three.
The remaining seeds are placed closest to home region, but with the flexibility to avoid intra-conference matchups in the first round.
As in years past, schools that are hosting a regional must be kept in that regional, and the committee will also try to maximize revenue by keeping teams in regions that will attract large crowds.
The link below is the recent report of the NCAA’s Division I men’s ice hockey committee, chaired by Massachusetts athletic director Ian McCaw. It first contains the ice hockey committee’s response to general NCAA-wide guidelines that were recently passed, then goes into further detail on the new seeding process.