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College Hockey:
Bracketology: Final

Let’s get right to it, folks.

Here are the top 16 in the PairWise at the end of play, along with the autobids that were not in the final top 16.

1 Michigan
2 Miami
3 North Dakota
4 New Hampshire
5 Colorado College
6t Boston College
6t Denver
8 St. Cloud State
9t Michigan State
9t Clarkson
11 Minnesota
12 Wisconsin
13t Notre Dame
13t Minnesota State
15 Harvard
16t Princeton
16t Vermont
22t Niagara
– Air Force

Let’s now break the ties.

Boston College wins the comparison over Denver, Michigan State wins the comparison over Clarkson and Notre Dame wins the comparison over Minnesota State.

So, the 16 teams in the tournament are:

1 Michigan
2 Miami
3 North Dakota
4 New Hampshire
5 Colorado College
6 Boston College
7 Denver
8 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan State
10 Clarkson
11 Minnesota
12 Wisconsin
13 Notre Dame
14 Princeton
15 Niagara
16 Air Force

So let’s start our bracketing.

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

Now for the second seeds.

No. 5 Colorado College is sent to the West Regional in Colorado Springs because it is the host.
No. 6 Boston College is sent to the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 7 Denver is sent to the East Regional in Albany.
No. 8 St. Cloud State is sent to the Midwest Regional in Madison.

Now for the third seeds.

No. 12 Wisconsin is sent to the Midwest Regional in Madison because it is the host.
No. 9 Michigan State is sent to No. 7 Denver’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 10 Clarkson is sent to No. 6 Boston College’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota is sent to No. 5 Colorado College’s Regional, the West Regional.

Now for the fourth seeds.

No. 13 Notre Dame is sent to No. 4 New Hampshire’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Princeton is sent to No. 3 North Dakota’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Niagara is sent to No. 2 Miami’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 16 Air Force is sent to No. 1 Michigan’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.

So what do we have for our brackets?

West Regional
Notre Dame vs. New Hampshire
Minnesota vs. Colorado College

Midwest Regional
Air Force vs. Michigan
Wisconsin vs. St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional
Princeton vs. North Dakota
Clarkson vs. Boston College

East Regional
Niagara vs. Miami
Michigan State vs. Denver

We now have to avoid intraconference matchups and we have two. Minnesota vs. Colorado College and Wisconsin vs. St. Cloud State.

Well, with three WCHA teams in the second band and two in the third band, there is absolutely no way we are going to avoid a WCHA-WCHA matchup.

Well, let’s start this way. Let’s look at the third band first, since we have perfect bracket integrity in the first two bands.

Wisconsin cannot move because it is a host school. So we have the ability to move Minnesota. The only non-WCHA team in the second band is Boston College. So we move Minnesota to play Boston College.

Now, where to move Clarkson? We can move the Golden Knights to play Colorado College.

But at the same time, we need to drive some attendance in the East Regional, so we could put Clarkson there and move Michigan State to the West Regional.

This seems to make sense to me.

So our brackets are now:

West Regional
Notre Dame vs. New Hampshire
Michigan State vs. Colorado College

Midwest Regional
Air Force vs. Michigan
Wisconsin vs. St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional
Princeton vs. North Dakota
Minnesota vs. Boston College

East Regional
Niagara vs. Miami
Clarkson vs. Denver

Is there anything else we can do? We could possibly switch the Notre Dame-New Hampshire and Princeton-North Dakota matchups to drive some more attendance. But we do have perfect bracket integrity in the top half of the bracket. So why mess with that?

So that’s it; that’s the bracket.

Right?

Hmm …

Let’s revisit something that I wrote about yesterday. Let’s take a look at bubbles.

Now, when we talk about bubbles, we talk about all teams within a range of comparison wins. In this case, we’re talking about the bubble for the last two at-large berths. This bubble is Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Minnesota State.

Wisconsin has 11 comparison wins, while Notre Dame and Minnesota State have 10 comparison wins each.

Let’s examine this bubble, shall we? Let’s look at the head-to-head comparisons among these three teams.

Notre Dame wins the head-to-head comparisons with both Wisconsin and Minnesota State. Minnesota State wins the head-to-head comparison with Wisconsin. Wisconsin wins no head-to-head comparisons with these two teams.

What does this tell me?

If I have two spots for these three teams, I am going to take Notre Dame and Minnesota State because they win head-to-head comparisons.

So I have now changed the 16 teams in the tournament by examining the details of the bubble.

Let’s go through the bracketing with these 16 teams.

1 Michigan
2 Miami
3 North Dakota
4 New Hampshire
5 Colorado College
6 Boston College
7 Denver
8 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan State
10 Clarkson
11 Minnesota
12 Notre Dame
13 Minnesota State
14 Princeton
15 Niagara
16 Air Force

Midwest Regional
16 Air Force vs. 1 Michigan
9 Michigan State vs. 8 St. Cloud State

East Regional
15 Niagara vs. 2 Miami
10 Clarkson vs. 7 Denver

Northeast Regional
14 Princeton vs. 3 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Boston College

West Regional
13 Minnesota State vs. 4 New Hampshire
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Colorado College

Let’s see if it breaks our intraconference rule. It does not.

How does attendance look? Pretty good.

Wow — this is a perfect bracket.

Yes, I know exactly what you’re asking. How can you do that? The PairWise says that Wisconsin is in. And here you have them out, even though they have one more comparison win than Minnesota State. That’s impossible! You can’t do that! The committee has never done that before.

But, yes, they have.

They have done it in past years by looking at individual comparisons between teams. And pretty much all of the time they have done it, it’s been pretty clear, especially when you’re on the bubble.

But the point here is that they have done it.

However, there’s no way they would take a team into the tournament which has fewer comparison wins over a team with more comparison wins.

They did it with the women’s Division I championship just this past season, putting in Dartmouth ahead of Clarkson. Using the same criteria.

Let’s also not forget one thing. The committee changes every year. The information and numbers provided to the committee is the same, but what they do with it can change from year to year because the committee changes from year to year. We just have no idea what they will do and it is very possible that they will take this approach.

As for me, I would like to say that there are a few reasons why I like this bracket much better than the first one I laid out.

It has perfect bracket integrity

It has great attendance possibilities

You have used the criteria to have 10 at-large teams which have records over .500.

But you know what? What I think should happen, is not what will happen.

So if I have to make a prediction, I will choose the first bracket.

As much as I don’t want to.


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