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College Hockey:
Bracketology: March 3, 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.

Just remember that this is not a prediction. This is a possible look into what the Committee might be thinking.

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 March 2):

1 Denver
2 Miami
3 Wisconsin
4t St. Cloud State
4t Bemidji State
6t Boston College
6t North Dakota
8t Yale
8t Alaska
10 New Hampshire
11 Cornell
12t Michigan State
12t Vermont
14t Minn.-Duluth
14t Ferris State
16 Northern Michigan
– RIT

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:
Atlantic Hockey: RIT
CHA: Bemidji State
CCHA: Miami
ECAC: Yale
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 State and Bemidji State at 4, Boston College and North Dakota at 6, Yale and Alaska at 8, Michigan State and Vermont at 12 and Minnesota-Duluth and Ferris State at 14.

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

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

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

Step Two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 Seeds — Denver, Miami, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State
No. 2 Seeds — Bemidji State, Boston College, North Dakota, Yale
No. 3 Seeds — Alaska, New Hampshire, Cornell, Michigan State
No. 4 Seeds — Vermont, Minnesota-Duluth, Ferris State, 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 Denver is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn.
No. 2 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Fort Wayne, Ind.
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 Denver’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Miami’s Regional, the Midwest 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 Alaska is placed in No. 8 Yale’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 New Hampshire is placed in No. 7 North Dakota’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Cornell is placed in No. 6 Boston College’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Michigan State 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 Denver’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Ferris State is sent to No. 2 Miami’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth is sent to No. 3 Wisconsin’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Vermont is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

Northeast Regional:

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

Midwest Regional:

Ferris State vs. Miami
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota

East Regional:

Minnesota-Duluth vs. Wisconsin
Cornell vs. Boston College

West Regional:

RIT vs. Denver
Alaska vs. Yale

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have two in UMD-Wisconsin and Ferris State-Miami.

It’s pretty simple, we just swap the two teams.

Our new brackets:

Northeast Regional:

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

Midwest Regional:

Minn.-Duluth vs. Miami
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota

East Regional:

Ferris State vs. Wisconsin
Cornell vs. Boston College

West Regional:

RIT vs. Denver
Alaska vs. Yale

Do we like the way this looks?

We have to look at attendance, especially in the Northeast and West Regionals. The East and Midwest Regionals should be just fine.

We would be better off served by just switching the whole bracket.

We would dramatically improve St. Paul’s attendance, and slightly improve Worcester’s attendance.

So we have to do that.

Our new brackets:

West Regional:

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

Midwest Regional:

Minnesota-Duluth vs. Miami
New Hampshire vs. North Dakota

East Regional:

Ferris State vs. Wisconsin
Cornell vs. Boston College

Northeast Regional:

RIT vs. Denver
Alaska vs. Yale

The big debate here is whether or not to switch the Northeast and East brackets altogether as well.

There is some merit to that, given that there is no Boston-area school in the Northeast Regional at the moment, while you have BC sitting out there in Albany. A possibility for sure.

But if I were the committee, that’s what I would put out as the bracket.

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


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