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College Hockey:
Bracketology: March 11, 2008

It’s time once again to do what we like to call Bracketology — College Hockey Style. It’s our weekly look at how the NCAA tournament would look if the season ended today.

It’s a look into what are the possible thought processes behind selecting and seeding the NCAA tournament teams.

We’re going to skip the pleasantries and rules since most of you readers know them already. So let’s just get to it.

Here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the regular season conference champions that are not in the top 16 (through all games of March 10, 2008):

1t Colorado College
1t Michigan
3 New Hampshire
4t North Dakota
4t Miami
6 Denver
7 Clarkson
8t Boston College
8t St. Cloud State
10 Michigan State
11 Minnesota State
12 Minnesota
13 Wisconsin
14t Boston University
14t Minnesota-Duluth
16t Notre Dame
16t Vermont
16t Harvard
– Bemidji State
– Army

Conference Regular-Season Champions:

Atlantic Hockey: Army
CHA: Bemidji State
CCHA: Michigan
ECAC: Clarkson
Hockey East: New Hampshire
WCHA: Colorado College

Step One

From the committee’s report, choose the 16 teams in the tournament.

We break ties in the PWR by looking at the individual comparisons among the tied teams, and add in any regular season conference champions that are not currently in the Top 16. The only teams that are not listed are Bemidji State and Army. Of course this will all change once the AHA and CHA autobids are awarded this weekend.

Let’s look at the ties.

The ties consist of Colorado College and Michigan at 1, North Dakota and Miami at 4, Boston College and St. Cloud State at 8, Boston University and Minnesota-Duluth at 14.

CC wins the individual comparison with Michigan, North Dakota with Miami, BC with St. Cloud and BU with UMD.

Therefore the 16 teams in the tournament, in rank order, are:

1 Colorado College
2 Michigan
3 New Hampshire
4 North Dakota
5 Miami
6 Denver
7 Clarkson
8 Boston College
9 St. Cloud State
10 Michigan State
11 Minnesota State
12 Minnesota
13 Wisconsin
14 Boston University
15 Bemidji State
16 Army

Step Two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 Seeds — Colorado College, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota
No. 2 Seeds — Miami, Denver, Clarkson, Boston College
No. 3 Seeds — St. Cloud State, Michigan State, Minnesota State, Minnesota
No. 4 Seeds — Wisconsin, Boston University, Bemidji State, Army

Step Three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals. We seed Colorado College first, since it is hosting a Regional. We then place the other No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 1 Colorado College is placed in the West Regional in Colorado Springs.
No. 2 Michigan is placed in the Midwest Regional in Madison.
No. 3 New Hampshire is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 4 North Dakota is placed in the East Regional in Albany.

Step Four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intraconference matchups if possible.

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding (unless you are a host school, in which case you must be assigned to your home regional).

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded 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.

So therefore:

No. 2 Seeds

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

No. 3 Seeds

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.

Therefore:

No. 9 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 8 Boston College’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Michigan State is placed in No. 7 Clarkson’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota State is placed in No. 6 Denver’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Minnesota is placed in No. 5 Miami’s Regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 Seeds

One more time, taking No. 16 v. No. 1, No. 15 v. No. 2, etc.

Here, Wisconsin is placed first since it is hosting a Regional.

No. 13 Wisconsin is placed in No. 2 Michigan’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 16 Army is sent to No. 1 Colorado College’s Regional, the West Regional
No. 15 Bemidji State is sent to No. 3 New Hampshire’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 Boston University is sent to No. 4 North Dakota’s Regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional:

Army vs. Colorado College
St. Cloud State vs. Boston College

Midwest Regional:

Wisconsin vs. Michigan
Michigan State vs. Clarkson

East Regional:

Boston University vs. North Dakota
Minnesota vs. Miami

Northeast Regional:

Bemidji State vs. New Hampshire
Minnesota State vs. Denver

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups.

We have one. Minnesota State vs. Denver. So we switch Minnesota State with Michigan State, the only non-WCHA team in the third band.

Our new brackets:

West Regional:

Army vs. Colorado College
St. Cloud State vs. Boston College

Midwest Regional:

Wisconsin vs. Michigan
Minnesota State vs. Clarkson

East Regional:

Boston University vs. North Dakota
Minnesota vs. Miami

Northeast Regional:

Bemidji State vs. New Hampshire
Michigan State vs. Denver

Well, not a bad setup, except for Michigan getting Wisconsin, but Michigan is not the overall number-one seed, so I think we can keep this the way it is.

Let’s look at attendance. Albany is helped by BU being there, so it looks so-so on the attendance front.

So I think this could be the bracket. But, let’s look at it another way.

Remember that the first thing the committee does after it determines which teams have been selected is to place the host institutions in their respective regionals.

So we have to place Colorado College and Wisconsin first before we do anything. (Imagine what would happen here had BU decided to continue to host the regional in Worcester?)

So we do this first and foremost:

No. 1 Colorado College is placed in the West Regional.
No. 13 Wisconsin is placed in the Midwest Regional.

Now we continue to place our other teams starting with the first band.

Follow my logic as I place teams.

Since No. 13 Wisconsin is in the fourth band and is already placed, in order to maintain perfect bracket integrity, I would want the No. 13 team to play the No. 4 team. In this case, it’s North Dakota.

So, let’s start in this order now.

No. 1 Colorado College has already been placed in the West Regional.
We now place No. 4 North Dakota, the lowest team in this band, in the Midwest Regional.
No. 2 Michigan is placed in the next closest regional, the East Regional.
No. 3 New Hampshire is placed in the Northeast Regional.

Let’s continue with our bracket integrity placing as we have always done.

No. 5 Miami is placed in No. 4 North Dakota’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Denver is placed in No. 3 New Hampshire’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Clarkson is placed in No. 2 Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 8 Boston College is placed in No. 1 Colorado College’s regional, the West Regional.

Let’s continue with the third band.

No. 9 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 8 Boston College’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Michigan State is placed in No. 7 Clarkson’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota State is placed in No. 6 Denver’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Minnesota is placed in No. 5 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

Now the fourth band.

No. 13 Wisconsin has already been placed in No. 4 North Dakota’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Boston University is placed in No. 3 New Hampshire’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Bemidji State is placed in No. 2 Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 16 Army is placed in No. 1 Colorado College’s regional, the West Regional.

So, here is our bracket:

West Regional:
Army vs. Colorado College
St. Cloud State vs. Boston College

Midwest Regional:
Wisconsin vs. North Dakota
Minnesota vs. Miami

East Regional:
Bemidji State vs. Michigan
Michigan State vs. Clarkson

Northeast Regional:
Boston University vs. New Hampshire
Minnesota State vs. Denver

So let’s take care of intraconference matchups.

We have Minnesota State vs. Denver, Boston University vs. New Hampshire and Wisconsin vs. North Dakota.

Let’s take care of Minnesota State vs. Denver first. That’s a simple switch, Minnesota State with Michigan State, the only non-WCHA team in the third band.

We have to switch out BU now. We can’t switch with Wisconsin, so we move to the next closest seed, Bemidji State. So we make this change.

Now Wisconsin vs. North Dakota. We can switch North Dakota with New Hampshire or Michigan. But, remember two things. There are seven WCHA teams in the tournament and we’ve already matched up the lowest number-one seed with the highest number-four seed. So, you know what, I am inclined to leave it this way.

So, here we go with the bracket.

West Regional:
Army vs. Colorado College
St. Cloud State vs. Boston College

Midwest Regional:
Wisconsin vs. North Dakota
Minnesota vs. Miami

East Regional:
Boston University vs. Michigan
Minnesota State vs. Clarkson

Northeast Regional:
Bemidji State vs. New Hampshire
Michigan State vs. Denver

Are there any more changes?

I can make one more for travel and attendance purposes. We switch Bemidji State with Army. Why? Army can now drive instead of fly, and will draw more fans to Worcester than to Colorado Springs. And Bemidji has to fly no matter what, so it doesn’t matter. Remember that this was also done last year when Air Force was kept in Denver and Alabama-Huntsville was sent to Grand Rapids.

So our bracket:

West Regional:
Bemidji State vs. Colorado College
St. Cloud State vs. Boston College

Midwest Regional:
Wisconsin vs. North Dakota
Minnesota vs. Miami

East Regional:
Boston University vs. Michigan
Minnesota State vs. Clarkson

Northeast Regional:
Army vs. New Hampshire
Michigan State vs. Denver

What do I like about this bracket? Attendance is nice and it’s pretty equitable given our rules.

This is my bracket this week.


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