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College Hockey:
Final Bracketology

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty to begin with. Here are my projected brackets for the NCAA tournament:

Grand Forks:
Michigan vs. North Dakota
Holy Cross vs. Minnesota

Green Bay:
Colorado College vs. Miami
Bemidji State vs. Wisconsin

Worcester:
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Boston University
Boston College vs. Cornell

Albany:
Maine vs. Harvard
New Hampshire vs. Michigan State

How did I get here?

It’s pretty simple except for one thing.

Here are the PairWise Rankings for the top 16 teams, plus any autobids not in the top 16, with all games accounted for and with the RPI “bonus.”

1 Wisconsin
2 Minnesota
3 Boston University
4 Michigan State
5 Harvard
6t Cornell
6t Miami
6t North Dakota
9 Michigan
10 Colorado College
11 Boston College
12t Maine
12t New Hampshire
12t Nebraska-Omaha
15t Dartmouth
15t Denver
21t Holy Cross
28t Bemidji State

Let’s separate out the bands. Here they are:

One Seeds: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Boston University, Michigan State
Two Seeds: Harvard, Cornell, Miami, North Dakota
Three Seeds: Michigan, Colorado College, Boston College, Maine
Four Seeds: New Hampshire, Nebraska-Omaha, Holy Cross, Bemidji State

In the past, we’ve given everyone a number from 1-16 based upon their ranking in the PWR. It’s time to put that to the test.

Let’s begin placing teams in regionals.

Number One Seed Band
No. 3 Boston University, as the host, is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 1 Wisconsin is placed in the Midwest Regional in Green Bay.
No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in Grand Forks.
No. 4 Michigan State is placed in the East Regional in Albany.

Number Two Seed Band
No. 7 North Dakota, as the host, is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 5 Harvard is placed in No. 4 Michigan State’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Miami is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 8 Cornell is placed in No. 1 Wisconsin’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.

Number Three Seed Band
No. 9 Michigan is placed in No. 8 Cornell’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Colorado College is placed in No. 7 North Dakota’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Boston College is placed in No. 6 Miami’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Maine is placed in No. 5 Harvard’s Regional, the East Regional.

Number Four Seed Band
No. 13 New Hampshire is placed in No. 4 Michigan State’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Holy Cross is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 16 Bemidji State is placed in No. 1 Wisconsin’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.

So, our brackets:

Green Bay:
Michigan vs. Cornell
Bemidji State vs. Wisconsin

Grand Forks:
Colorado College vs. North Dakota
Holy Cross vs. Minnesota

Worcester:
Boston College vs. Miami
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Boston University

Albany:
Maine vs. Harvard
New Hampshire vs. Michigan State

We have one intraconference matchup and that’s Colorado College vs. North Dakota. So we swap Colorado College with Michigan.

Our new bracket:

Green Bay:
Colorado College vs. Cornell
Bemidji State vs. Wisconsin

Grand Forks:
Michigan vs. North Dakota
Holy Cross vs. Minnesota

Worcester:
Boston College vs. Miami
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Boston University

Albany:
Maine vs. Harvard
New Hampshire vs. Michigan State

So that’s our bracket, right?

Hmmmm.

Let’s examine the PairWise a little more closely.

In the two band, we have Cornell, Miami and North Dakota all tied for the sixth spot.

We have a round-robin of sorts amongst this group. Miami beats North Dakota, North Dakota beats Cornell and Cornell beats Miami if you look at the individual comparisons.

We’ve already put Harvard into the No. 5 slot. That’s a given because Harvard is higher in the PWR by two full comparisons.

So we’re trying to slot three teams into three different slots as Nos. 6, 7 and 8. We know that North Dakota must play in Grand Forks, so we will assign the Fighting Sioux the No. 7 seed. And based upon the rule that RPI breaks a tie, that’s where it sits on the rankings after breaking ties.

Not we’re left with Cornell and Miami, for seeds No. 6 and 8. Cornell has beaten Miami in the individual comparison. By that means, Cornell is No. 6 and Miami is No. 8.

Which changes our bracket to:

Green Bay:
Colorado College vs. Miami
Bemidji State vs. Wisconsin

Grand Forks:
Michigan vs. North Dakota
Holy Cross vs. Minnesota

Worcester:
Boston College vs. Cornell
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Boston University

Albany:
Maine vs. Harvard
New Hampshire vs. Michigan State

Well, what do you say now?

Attendance is possibly better, and let’s not forget that attendance is a factor in the committee’s decision-making.

And now that we’ve said the dreaded word “attendance,” can we make one more argument — that we should switch Cornell and Harvard?

After all, with both BU and BC in the same bracket in Worcester, attendance is not going to be a problem. So why not send Cornell and its 2000 fans to Albany to boost attendance?

I would not make that switch because Harvard is too far ahead in the PairWise to legitimately make that argument.

So I am not comfortable with that. But I am comfortable enough with the bracket that I’ve laid out.

So here it is, the final bracket projection from Bracketology:

Green Bay:
Colorado College vs. Miami
Bemidji State vs. Wisconsin

Grand Forks:
Michigan vs. North Dakota
Holy Cross vs. Minnesota

Worcester:
Boston College vs. Cornell
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Boston University

Albany:
Maine vs. Harvard
New Hampshire vs. Michigan State


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