College Hockey:
Bracketology: A Final Analysis

The selections for the 2003-2004 NCAA Tournament were announced Sunday, and we almost hit it on the head with our final Bracketology.

Once again USCHO.com’s PairWise Rankings correctly picked all 16 teams in the tournament, all 16 seeds correct, and, using Bracketology, we had every matchup correctly picked except for two, with two teams being switched.

Here’s what we predicted:

Midwest Regional:
13 Notre Dame vs. 4 Minnesota
12 Michigan State vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

West Regional:
16 Holy Cross vs. 1 North Dakota
10 Miami vs. 7 Denver

East Regional:
15 Niagara vs. 3 Maine
11 Wisconsin vs. 6 Ohio State

Northeast Regional:
14 Harvard vs. 2 Boston College
9 New Hampshire vs. 8 Michigan

Bracketing the Frozen Four, if all four number-one seeds advance, then the top overall seed plays No. 4, and No. 2 plays No. 3. Therefore, the winners of the Midwest and West Regionals face each other in one semifinal (Minnesota and North Dakota’s brackets), while the winners of the East and Northeast Regionals (Maine and Boston College’s brackets) play the other semifinal.

We got everything right except for one thing — Harvard went to the East Regional and Niagara went to the Northeast Regional.

Why did this happen?

Simply put, the committee decided to keep bracket integrity rather than follow the fly rule to save some money.

I was burned by it last year, and I got burned again.

The Committee, over the last two years, has shown a trend — that bracket integrity is the most important thing. Moreso than attendance and moreso than saving money on the fly rule.

Either way, it’s a great tournament. Sit back and enjoy.

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