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College Hockey:
Final Bracketology: March 21, 2009

OK folks, it’s time to roll on the Bracketology.

Let’s dispense with the formalities. If you want them, check out previous Bracketologys.

Here are the top 16 in the final PairWise Rankings (PWR) and automatic bids not in the Top 16:

1 Boston University
2 Notre Dame
3 Denver
4 Michigan
5 Yale
6t Northeastern
6t Minnesota-Duluth
8 North Dakota
9 Vermont
10 New Hampshire
11 Cornell
12 Princeton
13 Miami
14 Air Force
15t Ohio State
15t Minnesota
15t Wisconsin
– Bemidji State

The autobids are:

Atlantic Hockey: Air Force
CCHA: Notre Dame
CHA : Bemidji State
ECAC: Yale
Hockey East: Boston University
WCHA: Minnesota-Duluth

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 autobids that are not currently in the Top 16. The only team that is not is Bemidji State.

From there, we can start looking at all the ties in a more detailed fashion.

We have Northeastern and Minnesota-Duluth at 6, which is won by Northeastern, and then we have a three-way tie at 14, in which Ohio State wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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

1 Boston University
2 Notre Dame
3 Denver
4 Michigan
5 Yale
6 Northeastern
7 Minnesota-Duluth
8 North Dakota
9 Vermont
10 New Hampshire
11 Cornell
12 Princeton
13 Miami
14 Air Force
15 Ohio State
16 Bemidji State

Step Two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 Seeds – Boston University, Notre Dame, Denver, Michigan
No. 2 Seeds – Yale, Northeastern, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota
No. 3 Seeds – Vermont, New Hampshire, Cornell, Princeton
No. 4 Seeds – Miami, Air Force, Ohio State, Bemidji State

Step Three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals. Following the guidelines, there are no host teams in this grouping, so that rule does not need to be enforced. We now place the No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 1 Boston University is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 2 Notre Dame is placed in the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids.
No. 3 Denver is placed in the West Regional in Minneapolis.
No. 4 Michigan is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.

Step Four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference 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

We have to place Yale first, since it is a host.

No. 5 Yale is placed in No. 4 Michigan’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 8 North Dakota is placed in No. 1 Boston University’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 2 Notre Dame’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Northeastern is placed in No. 3 Denver’s Regional, the West 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:

UNH must be placed first because it is hosting.

No. 10 New Hampshire is placed in No. 8 North Dakota’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Princeton is placed in No. 5 Yale’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Cornell is placed in No. 6 Northeastern’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 9 Vermont is placed in No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 Seeds

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

No. 16 Bemidji State is sent to No. 1 Boston University’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Ohio State is sent to No. 2 Notre Dame’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Air Force is sent to No. 3 Denver’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Miami is placed in No. 4 Michigan’s Regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

Midwest Regional:

Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
Vermont vs. Minnesota-Duluth

West Regional:

Air Force vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Northeastern

East Regional:

Miami vs. Michigan
Princeton vs. Yale

Northeast Regional:

Bemidji State vs. Boston University
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups.

We have an absolute mess in the bracket.

Ohio State vs. Notre Dame; Miami vs. Michigan; and also Princeton vs. Yale.

Let’s solve Princeton vs. Yale first. We can’t switch Princeton with Cornell because that creates another all-ECAC matchup. We can’t switch Princeton with New Hampshire because UNH is a host school. So the only team we can switch is Vermont. So we make that change.

Now we have to switch Miami with either Air Force or Bemidji State. Miami is closest in seeding to Air Force, so we swap those two. Then that leaves us swapping Ohio State with Bemidji State.

Our new brackets:

Midwest Regional:

Bemidji State vs. Notre Dame
Princeton vs. Minnesota-Duluth

West Regional:

Miami vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Northeastern

East Regional:

Air Force vs. Michigan
Vermont vs. Yale

Northeast Regional:

Ohio State vs. Boston University
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota

So there is our bracket.

Let’s take a look at it and see if we like it.

Looking at it, I just do not like the attendance factors in Minneapolis and Grand Rapids. They do not look good at all. In the meantime, I love the attendance considerations in Manchester and Bridgeport.

So what can we do?

We have to create championship atmospheres without substantially changing the integrity of the bracket.

I’m going to sort of go out on a limb here a little bit, but follow me. By switching Northeastern and Minnesota-Duluth, we can help the attendance in at least one regional.

In this case, by making the switch, we can help out the Minneapolis Regional by putting two WCHA teams in it.

So I am willing to make the move and the switch.

I may be wrong, but I can see the attendance issue coming up here, along with the economic cost-cutting.

So our bracket:

Midwest Regional:

Bemidji State vs. Notre Dame
Princeton vs. Northeastern

West Regional:

Miami vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Minnesota-Duluth

East Regional:

Air Force vs. Michigan
Vermont vs. Yale

Northeast Regional:

Ohio State vs. Boston University
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota

Again, the only if that we’ve taken is to improve attendance and cut some costs by switching Northeastern and Minnesota-Duluth in this scenario.

And we’ll live by it.


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