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College Hockey:
What Happened With The Selection?

The selections are out and they differed from the brackets that we had projected on Saturday evening. We had all 16 teams picked correctly, but had some of them in the wrong spots.

So what happened?

Here was our bracket projected on Saturday evening with a .003-.002-.001 bonus:

West Regional:

13 Maine vs. 4 Minnesota
11 Wisconsin vs. 5 Cornell

Midwest Regional:

15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Colorado College
10 Ohio State vs. 7 North Dakota

East Regional:

14 Colgate vs. 3 Denver
12 Boston University vs. 6 Michigan

Northeast Regional:

16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Harvard vs. 8 New Hampshire

Here was the announced bracket:

West Regional:

13 Maine vs. 4 Minnesota
10 Ohio State vs. 5 Cornell

Midwest Regional:

14 Colgate vs. 2 Colorado College
11 Wisconsin vs. 6 Michigan

East Regional:

16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
12 Boston University vs. 7 North Dakota

Northeast Regional:

15 Bemidji State vs. 3 Denver
9 Harvard vs. 8 New Hampshire

So what happened?

One key move, plain and simple.

Here are the 16 teams in the tournament in rank order:

1 Boston College
2 Colorado College
3 Denver
4 Minnesota
5 Cornell
6 Michigan
7 North Dakota
8 New Hampshire
9 Harvard
10 Ohio State
11 Wisconsin
12 Boston University
13 Maine
14 Colgate
15 Bemidji State
16 Mercyhurst

The committee determined that in the overall seeding process, Denver was No. 2 and Colorado College was No. 3 based upon the fact that Denver compiled a 3-2 record on the ice against CC this season — even though the Tiger finish above the Pioneers in both overall PWR and the head-to-head comparison.

This was the explanation given by Committee Chairman Wayne Dean on the selection show on ESPN2. So our real seeding order is:

1 Boston College
2 Denver
3 Colorado College
4 Minnesota
5 Cornell
6 Michigan
7 North Dakota
8 New Hampshire
9 Harvard
10 Ohio State
11 Wisconsin
12 Boston University
13 Maine
14 Colgate
15 Bemidji State
16 Mercyhurst

So here we go, let’s assign the seeds:

No. 1 Seeds — Boston College, Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota
No. 2 Seeds — Cornell, Michigan, North Dakota, New Hampshire
No. 3 Seeds — Harvard, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Boston University
No. 4 Seeds — Maine, Colgate, Bemidji State, Mercyhurst

Step Three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

We place host schools first and then place the other No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 4 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in Minneapolis as the host school.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the East Regional in Worcester.
No. 2 Denver is placed in the Northeast Regional in Amherst.
No. 3 Colorado College is placed in the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids.

Place the No. 2 seeds in regionals.

The committee likes to seed the quarterfinals such that the four regional championships are played by No. 1 v. No. 8, No. 2 v. No. 7, No. 3 v. No. 6 and No. 4 v. No. 5, if all the highest seeds go through.

No. 8 UNH is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s Regional, the East Regional
No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Denver’s Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 6 Michigan is placed in No. 3 Colorado College’s Regional, the Midwest Regional
No. 5 Cornell is placed in No. 4 Minnesota’s Regional, the West Regional

Place the No. 3 seed in regionals.

Our bracketing system has one Regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16, another with 2, 7, 10, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

But we have BU as a host, so we have to slide a little bit.

Therefore:

No. 12 Boston University is placed in No. 8 New Hampshire’s Regional, the East, as the host
No. 10 Ohio State is placed in No. 6 Michigan’s Regional, the Midwest
No. 9 Harvard is placed in No. 7 North Dakota’s Regional, the Northeast
No. 11 Wisconsin is placed in No. 5 Cornell’s Regional, the West

Place the No. 4 seeds in regionals.

One more time, and this time we’re going back to taking No. 16 v. No. 1, No. 15 v. No. 2, etc.

No. 16 Mercyhurst is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s Regional, the East
No. 15 Bemidji State is placed in No. 2 Denver’s Regional, the Northeast
No. 14 Colgate is placed in No. 3 Colorado College’s Regional, the Midwest
No. 13 Maine is placed in No. 4 Minnesota’s Regional, the West

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional:

13 Maine vs. 4 Minnesota
11 Wisconsin vs. 5 Cornell

Midwest Regional:

14 Colgate vs. 3 Colorado College
10 Ohio State vs. 6 Michigan

East Regional:

16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
12 Boston University vs. 8 New Hampshire

Northeast Regional:

15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Denver
9 Harvard vs. 7 North Dakota

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have a few.

We have to break up UNH-BU first. We switch UNH with North Dakota.

Now we have to break up Ohio State-Michigan. We switch Ohio State with Wisconsin.

We now have:

West Regional:

13 Maine vs. 4 Minnesota
10 Ohio State vs. 5 Cornell

Midwest Regional:

14 Colgate vs. 3 Colorado College
11 Wisconsin vs. 6 Michigan

East Regional:

16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
12 Boston University vs 7 North Dakota

Northeast Regional:

15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Denver
9 Harvard vs. 8 New Hampshire

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

So there you have it. Once you make the change of CC and Denver in the seeding order, you have the bracket as it was announced.

All rules were followed except for one – the reseeding of CC and Denver, which violated the straight PairWise thoughts that we have had all along.

The committee could have saved itself a lot of grief by doing one simple thing — switching CC and Denver’s locations, not their overall seeds, so that CC was in Amherst as the No. 2 seed and Denver was in Grand Rapids as the No. 3 seed. That would have been the thing to do to make the bracket as pure as it could have been.

I do believe the committee may have opened up a can of worms.


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