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College Hockey:
Bracketology: Feb. 17, 2010

It’s time once again to do what we like to call Bracketology — college hockey style. It’s our weekly look at how I believe the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship Committee will use the PairWise to determine the NCAA Tournament bracket.

If you’re new to Bracketology, click here for the background.

Here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders (through all games of Feb. 16):

1 Miami
2 Denver
3 Wisconsin
4t St. Cloud State
4t Bemidji State
4t Boston College
7 Colorado College
8 Yale
9t Minnesota-Duluth
9t Cornell
9t New Hampshire
9t Vermont
13t North Dakota
13t Michigan State
15 Massachusetts
16 Ferris State
– RIT

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:
Atlantic Hockey: RIT
CHA: Bemidji State
CCHA: Miami
ECAC: Yale (wins head-to-head tiebreaker with Cornell)
Hockey East: New Hampshire
WCHA: Denver

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 current league leaders that are not currently in the top 16. The only team that is not is RIT.

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

The bubbles consist of St. Cloud, Bemidji and BC at 4; UMD, Cornell, UNH and UVM at 9; and North Dakota and MSU at 13.

Looking at the head-to-head PairWise comparisons we break all of our ties.

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

1 Miami
2 Denver
3 Wisconsin
4 St. Cloud State
5 Bemidji State
6 Boston College
7 Colorado College
8 Yale
9 Minnesota-Duluth
10 Cornell
11 New Hampshire
12 Vermont
13 North Dakota
14 Michigan State
15 Massachusetts
16 RIT

Step Two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 Seeds — Miami, Denver, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State
No. 2 Seeds — Bemidji State, Boston College, Colorado College, Yale
No. 3 Seeds — Minnesota-Duluth, Cornell, New Hampshire, Vermont
No. 4 Seeds — North Dakota, Michigan State, Massachusetts, RIT

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 other No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 1 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Fort Wayne, Ind.
No. 2 Denver is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn.
No. 3 Wisconsin is placed in the East Regional in Albany, N.Y.
No. 4 St. Cloud State is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.

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 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

So therefore:

No. 2 Seeds

No. 8 Yale is placed in No. 1 Miami’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Colorado College is placed in No. 2 Denver’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Boston College is placed in No. 3 Wisconsin’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Bemidji State is placed in No. 4 St. Cloud’s Regional, the Northeast 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 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 8 Yale’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Cornell is placed in No. 7 Colorado College’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 New Hampshire is placed in No. 6 Boston College’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 Bemidji’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 4 Seeds

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

No. 16 RIT is sent to No. 1 Miami’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Massachusetts is sent to No. 2 Denver’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Michigan State is sent to No. 3 Wisconsin’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 North Dakota is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

Northeast Regional:

Vermont vs. Bemidji State
North Dakota vs. St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional:

RIT vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Yale

East Regional:

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin
New Hampshire vs. Boston College

West Regional:

Massachusetts vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Colorado College

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have North Dakota vs. St. Cloud and New Hampshire vs. Boston College.

The only place where North Dakota can go is to face Miami, since the other three No. 1 seeds are all WCHA teams. So we place North Dakota in that bracket. Then we switch RIT to the next highest seed, which is Denver. And we also adjust Michigan State and Massachusetts accordingly.

Therefore, Michigan State will play St. Cloud and Massachusetts will play Wisconsin.

Now we tackle New Hampshire. We can’t switch New Hampshire with Vermont, since that creates another Hockey East-Hockey East matchup. So we can switch with either Cornell or Minnesota-Duluth.

We can’t switch with UMD because that creates a WCHA-WCHA matchup. So we switch UNH with Cornell.

So our tournament now becomes:

Northeast Regional:

Vermont vs. Bemidji State
Michigan State vs. St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional:

North Dakota vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Yale

East Regional:

Massachusetts vs. Wisconsin
Cornell vs. Boston College

West Regional:

RIT vs. Denver
New Hampshire vs. Colorado College

Do we like the way this looks?

We have no intraconference matchups, so we are OK. Integrity also looks OK.

Do we have an attendance issue?

It looks great in Albany and pretty good in Fort Wayne.

Worcester and St. Paul will be problems.

Can we make it better?

Looking at it, St. Cloud, Bemidji and Michigan State might be better off in St. Paul.

So let’s switch the entire bracket geographies.

Now what do we have?

West Regional:

Vermont vs. Bemidji State
Michigan State vs. St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional:

North Dakota vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Yale

East Regional:

Massachusetts vs. Wisconsin
Cornell vs. Boston College

Northeast Regional:

RIT vs. Denver
New Hampshire vs. Colorado College

Let’s take a look.

Much better.

Can we make it any better?

There is one possibility that you can consider here. Because we have a four-way tie in the third band (seedings 9-12), we can move those teams around at will basically, without affecting bracket integrity.

Does this piece of information help us whatsoever?

Maybe switching Minnesota-Duluth and Vermont will help to boost St. Paul’s attendance even more. This gives us three Minnesota teams in St. Paul.

I am certainly for that. So I am going to make that switch.

Our new brackets:

West Regional:

Minnesota-Duluth vs. Bemidji State
Michigan State vs. St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional:

North Dakota vs. Miami
Vermont vs. Yale

East Regional:

Massachusetts vs. Wisconsin
Cornell vs. Boston College

Northeast Regional:

RIT vs. Denver
New Hampshire vs. Colorado College

Now there is outstanding attendance in Albany and St. Paul.

Worcester gets a boost from UNH and RIT.

Fort Wayne gets a boost from Miami and North Dakota.

So that’s where I’ll hang my hat this week.

Check the Bracketology Blog for other items and we’ll see you here next week for the next Bracketology.


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