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A reaction to the committee’s bracketing decisions for the NCAA tournament

A couple quick thoughts after seeing how the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee set the brackets for the 2015 tournament:

My two main points from the final Bracketology we posted early Sunday went the opposite of what I thought.

• The committee did move Providence back to Providence, despite what I thought. This must have been one of the prevailing thoughts in moving them to Providence. It seemed as if they decided that Providence should be in Providence, and the lowest remaining seed would play North Dakota, which in this case is Quinnipiac. And by default, Yale plays Boston University.

• The committee did separate BU and Boston College. I thought it would not. But I still am not quite sure about why Minnesota and Harvard were not swapped. Was it bracket integrity? An interesting move there.

The rest falls into line pretty easily after that.

Our Jim Connelly talked to members of the committee and has a reaction piece here.

Here’s our final prediction for the 2015 NCAA tournament brackets

Minnesota State will be the No. 1 overall seed for the 2015 NCAA tournament (photo: Jim Rosvold).

It’s time for the final Bracketology of the season. Here, I will predict how I think the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Committee will think and what the bracket will look like when it is announced (noon EDT Sunday, ESPN).

First, here is my predicted bracket and then I’ll explain how I got there afterwards:

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Rochester Institute of Technology vs. 1 Minnesota State
10 Minnesota vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Harvard vs. 5 Denver

Here is the top 16 of the final PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the other autobids that are not in the top 16:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Miami
5 Denver
6 Minnesota-Duluth
7 Michigan Tech
8 Omaha
9 Harvard
10 Minnesota
11 Boston College
12 St. Cloud State
13 Yale
14t Quinnipiac
14t Providence
16 Bowling Green
38 RIT

Autobids:

Atlantic Hockey: RIT
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Harvard
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: Miami
WCHA: Minnesota State

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 highest seeds left that are not currently in the top 16. The only team that is not is RIT.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Quinnipiac and Providence at 14.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Miami
5 Denver
6 Minnesota-Duluth
7 Michigan Tech
8 Omaha
9 Harvard
10 Minnesota
11 Boston College
12 St. Cloud State
13 Yale
14 Quinnipiac
15 Providence
16 RIT

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, Omaha

No. 3 seeds: Harvard, Minnesota, Boston College, St. Cloud State

No. 4 seeds: Yale, Quinnipiac, Providence, RIT

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference first-round 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 would be 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 Omaha is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Denver is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Harvard is placed in No. 8 Omaha’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Minnesota is placed in No. 7 Michigan Tech’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Boston College is placed in No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 5 Denver’s regional, the East 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 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Providence is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Yale is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Denver

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Harvard vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one in St. Cloud State vs. Denver.

The NCHC has six teams in the tournament, so by the book, the committee can allow for a first-round matchup between those teams. But we’ve seen in the past that if the committee can avoid that happening, it will.

So we have to swap St. Cloud State. The only matchup that can be done here is for St. Cloud to play Michigan Tech to avoid the NCHC-NCHC matchup.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
10 Minnesota vs. 5 Denver

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Harvard vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Michigan Tech

What work is left to be done? Just moving some things around for travel and attendance.

I will swap Harvard with Minnesota to bring the Eastern team back East.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Harvard vs. 5 Denver

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
10 Minnesota vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Now some big questions arise here.

• Do we move Providence back to Providence? That means switching out Yale. Moving a higher seed away from a closer geography does not seem too fair. I’ve been saying all season long that I can move Providence back East as long as it is a higher seed than another Eastern team. Here, that’s not the case. So I leave Providence in Fargo.

• How about the fact that Boston College and Boston University are in the same regional? I think it’s a non-factor. They didn’t meet in the postseason this year. And it’s bracket integrity. I elect to keep that matchup.

So that’s it, the bracket.

The conference breakdown:

NCHC — 6
ECAC Hockey — 3
Hockey East — 3
WCHA — 2
Big Ten — 1
Atlantic Hockey — 1

We’ll see how the committee does it on Sunday.

The field of 16 is set; now we work on the brackets

All the games are in, and here are the 16 teams that the PairWise Rankings show will be in the 2015 NCAA tournament, grouped by seeding:

1. Minnesota State
2. North Dakota
3. Boston University
4. Miami

5. Denver
6. Minnesota-Duluth
7. Michigan Tech
8. Omaha

9. Harvard
10. Minnesota
11. Boston College
12. St. Cloud State

13. Yale
14. Quinnipiac
15. Providence
16. Rochester Institute of Technology

Jayson Moy is working on his final Bracketology prediction before the selection show (noon EDT Sunday, ESPNU), and we’ll have that when it’s ready.

What I Believe – Friday night edition

After Friday’s games, here is What I Believe.

Fourteen spots are taken, leaving two at-large spots. These are the teams that are in:

Minnesota State
North Dakota
Boston University
Minnesota-Duluth
Denver
Miami
Omaha
Michigan Tech
Boston College
Quinnipiac
St. Cloud State
Atlantic Hockey champion
ECAC Hockey champion
Big Ten champion

These teams must win their conference championship game to get in:

Colgate
Massachusetts-Lowell
Michigan
Rochester Institute of Technology
Mercyhurst

These teams have a way of getting an at-large bid even with a loss:

Harvard
Minnesota

These teams are done playing but still have a chance at an at-large bid:

Providence
Bowling Green
Yale

Just days out, and we can keep most of the Eastern teams in the East

Zach Sanford, Adam Gilmour and Boston College have to wait to learn their NCAA tournament fate, and whether it would involve a game close to home (photo: Melissa Wade).

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 tournament would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

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

This is the penultimate edition for the 2014-15 season. We’ll have our final prediction after Saturday night’s games are done; the selection show is at noon EDT Sunday on ESPNU. We’ll also have updates on the Bracketology Blog through the weekend.

Those of you that are veterans of the college hockey scene know that it is all about the PairWise Rankings. This is USCHO’s numerical approach that simulates the way the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee chooses the teams that make the NCAA tournament.

Since USCHO began the PairWise Rankings, we have correctly identified all of the teams that have been selected to the NCAA tournament.

For the past four years, I am the only prognosticator to have correctly predicted the exact brackets for the NCAA tournament, meaning that I have predicted how the committee thought when putting together the brackets.

This is not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

If you want to skip the inner workings and get to the results of the analysis, then click here.

Here are the facts:

• Sixteen teams are selected to participate in the national tournament.

• There are four regional sites (East — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• Seedings will not be switched. To avoid undesirable first-round matchups, including intra-conference games (see below), teams will be moved among regionals, not reseeded.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2015 pre-championship manual:

In setting up the tournament, the committee begins with a list of priorities to ensure a successful tournament on all fronts, including competitive equity, financial success and the likelihood of a playoff-type atmosphere at each regional site. For this model, the following is a basic set of priorities:

1. Once the six automatic qualifiers and 10 at-large teams are selected, the next step is to develop four groups from the committee’s rankings of 1-16. The top four teams are No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds.

2. Step two is to place the home teams. Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

3. Step three is to fill in the bracket so that first-round conference matchups are avoided, unless it corrupts the integrity of the bracket. If five or more teams from one conference are selected to the championship, then the integrity of the bracket will be protected (i.e., maintaining the pairing process according to seed will take priority over avoidance of first-round conference matchups). To complete each regional, the committee assigns one team from each of the remaining seeded groups so there is a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed at each regional site.

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the number seeds in all conference tournaments through all games of March 18:

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Denver
4 Boston University
5 Michigan Tech
6 Minnesota-Duluth
7 Miami
8 Omaha
9 Boston College
10t Quinnipiac
10t St. Cloud State
12 Bowling Green
13 Minnesota
14 Providence
15 Harvard
16t Colgate
16t Massachusetts-Lowell
22 Robert Morris

Highest remaining seeds in their conference tournaments:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Minnesota State

Notes

• Bracketology assumes that the season has ended and there are no more games to be played — i.e., the NCAA tournament starts tomorrow.

• The highest seeded team remaining in its conference tournament is my assumed conference tournament champion and recipient of the autobid.

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 number one seeds in conference tournaments that are not currently in the top 16. The only team that is not is Robert Morris.

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

There is one tie, Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Denver
4 Boston University
5 Michigan Tech
6 Minnesota-Duluth
7 Miami
8 Omaha
9 Boston College
10 Quinnipiac
11 St. Cloud State
12 Bowling Green
13 Minnesota
14 Providence
15 Harvard
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Minnesota State, Denver, Boston University

No. 2 seeds: Michigan Tech, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami, Omaha

No. 3 seeds: Boston College, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, Bowling Green

No. 4 seeds: Minnesota, Providence, Harvard, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 2 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Denver is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 4 Boston University is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.

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 would be 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 Omaha is placed in No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Miami is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 3 Denver’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 4 Boston University’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 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Boston College is placed in No. 8 Omaha’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 7 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Bowling Green is placed in No. 5 Michigan Tech’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Harvard is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Providence is sent to No. 3 Denver’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Minnesota is sent to No. 4 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Providence vs. 3 Denver
11 St. Cloud State vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Minnesota vs. 4 Boston University
12 Bowling Green vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Harvard vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one this week in St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota-Duluth.

Looking at these bandings, where can we move St. Cloud? The only possible opponent that St. Cloud can have in the second band is Michigan Tech. So we have to have that matchup.

You may argue that with six NCHC teams in the field, the committee has the right to allow a first-round game between teams from that league. But the committee has shown in the past that if it can avoid a intra-league matchup, it will.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Providence vs. 3 Denver
12 Bowling Green vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Minnesota vs. 4 Boston University
11 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Harvard vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

Now we can start maximizing the atmosphere in terms of attendance in the Eastern regionals. We’ve had this problem all year because of the imbalance of Eastern and Western teams. So it’s been difficult to put the Eastern teams back in the Eastern regionals.

How creative can we get?

Who would we like to bring back East?

Providence and Boston University are already there. So we want to bring back Harvard, Quinnipiac and Boston College.

Let’s start off with a Harvard-Minnesota swap.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Providence vs. 3 Denver
12 Bowling Green vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Boston University
11 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

Let’s next swap Quinnipiac with Bowling Green. That works out pretty well, getting Bowling Green back to a regional closer to it as well.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Providence vs. 3 Denver
10 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Boston University
11 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 7 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

Now, can we get Boston College back?

We can’t swap Boston College with St. Cloud, because of the creation of the NCHC-NCHC matchup.

But what we can do is swap the entire matchup.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Providence vs. 3 Denver
10 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Boston University
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 7 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Michigan Tech

And look at that. We have all of the Eastern teams (minus No. 16 overall seed Robert Morris) in Eastern regionals.

And there you have it.

As the week goes on check the Bracketology Blog for more insights leading up to selection Sunday.

Here’s a summary of everything that we have covered.

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
14 Providence vs. 3 Denver
10 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Boston University
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 7 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Conference breakdowns

NCHC — 6
Hockey East — 3
WCHA — 3
ECAC Hockey — 2
Big Ten — 1
Atlantic Hockey — 1

On the move

In: St. Cloud State, Harvard

Out: Yale, Michigan State

Attendance woes?

I think we are OK.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 8 Denver

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

What I Believe – Monday, 3/16

One week until the selections and it’s time to summarize things in the segment I like to call “What I Believe.”

This segment gives a quick summary of “What I Believe” to be the status of each school’s chances on making the NCAA tournament are and other items that I believe are true at the moment.

Teams that are in (8)

Hockey East:
Boston University

NCHC:
Denver
Miami
Minnesota-Duluth
North Dakota
Omaha

WCHA:
Michigan Tech
Minnesota State

This tells me that 11 spots are taken. These eight schools plus the champions of Atlantic Hockey, Big Ten and ECAC Hockey.

The bubble (teams still playing that can make it as at-large selections)

Big Ten:
Minnesota

ECAC:
Colgate
Harvard
Quinnipiac

Hockey East:
Massachusetts-Lowell
Vermont

NCHC:
St. Cloud State

WCHA:
Bowling Green

Teams that have to sit and wait (with probability)

ECAC:
Yale (Long shot)

Hockey East:
Boston College (Likely)
Providence (Balancing on the bubble)

NCHC:
Minnesota-Duluth (Definite)
Omaha (Definite)

Teams that need to win their conference tournament to get in

Atlantic Hockey:
Canisius
Mercyhurst
Robert Morris
RIT

Big Ten:
Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State
Wisconsin

ECAC:
St. Lawrence

Hockey East:
New Hampshire

WCHA:
Ferris State

Teams that have finished their seasons (28)

Atlantic Hockey:
Air Force
American International
Army
Bentley
Holy Cross
Niagara
Sacred Heart

Big Ten:
None

ECAC:
Brown
Clarkson
Cornell
Dartmouth
Princeton
Rensselaer
Union

Hockey East:
Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
Merrimack
Northeastern
Notre Dame

NCHC:
Colorado College
Western Michigan

WCHA:
Alabama-Huntsville
Alaska
Alaska-Anchorage
Bemidji State
Lake Superior
Northern Michigan

How are the 3 and 4 seeds placed in Manchester or Providence?

I had a pretty good question from Matt Wellens the other day. He asked me how are the 3 and 4 seeds placed in either Manchester or Providence? He had asked this in reference to Minnesota-Duluth and why it was placed in either Manchester or Providence, since there is no geographic preference to UMD or Miami (as an example).

The answer is simple, but the process is not. And it also shows one that the placement process is much more complicated than it seems.

Because there is no geographic preference in this example of UMD or Miami, we have to look further down the placement process, to where teams sit in the second, third and fourth bands.

Having a great atmosphere by placing teams closer to their geographic regionals if at all possible is what the committee will try to do. Therefore, we try to match the seeds of UMD and Miami to the best placement further down the seeding chart.

Boston University is the overall number six at the moment. To keep bracket integrity, we want to pair it with the overall number three. Which in this case is UMD.

So we know that UMD and BU will be paired together in a regional.

Then after this, we take a look and see what the third and fourth bands look like and how we can maximize the opportunities.

Later in the Bracketology, I have decided that I want to bring Providence to the East Regional. Because I am doing that, I can’t have Providence playing a first-round game against Boston University. Therefore, Boston University must be placed in the Northeast Regional rather than the East Regional.

As a result of this, the pair of UMD-BU has to be placed in the Northeast Regional.

And that’s why I have placed UMD in Manchester rather than Providence.

Simple, yet complicated. Welcome to the PWR and the bracketing process.

One week out, and the bracket hasn’t changed much

Quinnipiac moves from Providence to Manchester in Jayson Moy’s prediction this week (photo: Quinnipiac Athletics).

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 tournament would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

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

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 22.

Those of you that are veterans of the college hockey scene know that it is all about the PairWise Rankings. This is USCHO’s numerical approach that simulates the way the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee chooses the teams that make the NCAA tournament.

Since USCHO began the PairWise Rankings, we have correctly identified all of the teams that have been selected to the NCAA tournament.

For the past four years, I am the only prognosticator to have correctly predicted the exact brackets for the NCAA tournament, meaning that I have predicted how the committee thought when putting together the brackets.

This is not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

If you want to skip the inner workings and get to the results of the analysis, then click here.

Here are the facts:

• Sixteen teams are selected to participate in the national tournament.

• There are four regional sites (East — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• Seedings will not be switched. To avoid undesirable first-round matchups, including intra-conference games (see below), teams will be moved among regionals, not reseeded.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2015 pre-championship manual:

In setting up the tournament, the committee begins with a list of priorities to ensure a successful tournament on all fronts, including competitive equity, financial success and the likelihood of a playoff-type atmosphere at each regional site. For this model, the following is a basic set of priorities:

1. Once the six automatic qualifiers and 10 at-large teams are selected, the next step is to develop four groups from the committee’s rankings of 1-16. The top four teams are No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds.

2. Step two is to place the home teams. Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

3. Step three is to fill in the bracket so that first-round conference matchups are avoided, unless it corrupts the integrity of the bracket. If five or more teams from one conference are selected to the championship, then the integrity of the bracket will be protected (i.e., maintaining the pairing process according to seed will take priority over avoidance of first-round conference matchups). To complete each regional, the committee assigns one team from each of the remaining seeded groups so there is a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed at each regional site.

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of March 10:

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Boston University
7 Omaha
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Bowling Green
12t Quinnipiac
12t Yale
14t Minnesota
14t Massachusetts-Lowell
16 St. Cloud State
26 Robert Morris
32t Michigan State

Current conference leaders or regular season champions based on tiebreakers established by each conference:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris (regular season champion)
Big Ten: Michigan State
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac (regular season champion)
Hockey East: Boston University (regular season champion)
NCHC: North Dakota (regular season champion)
WCHA: Minnesota State (regular season champion)

Notes

• Bracketology assumes that the season has ended and there are no more games to be played — i.e., the NCAA tournament starts tomorrow.

• For conferences still in regular season play, I will be using the conference tiebreakers to determine the top seed for that conference’s tournament. For conference already in the postseason, I will be using the highest remaining seed. These teams are my assumed conference tournament champions and recipients of the autobids.

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 teams that are not are Robert Morris and Michigan State.

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

There are two ties, Quinnipiac and Yale and Minnesota and Massachusetts-Lowell.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Boston University
7 Omaha
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Bowling Green
12 Quinnipiac
13 Yale
14 Minnesota
15 Robert Morris
16 Michigan State

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Michigan Tech, Boston University, Omaha, Denver

No. 3 seeds: Providence, Boston College, Bowling Green, Quinnipiac

No. 4 seeds: Yale, Minnesota, Robert Morris, Michigan State

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 2 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 would be 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 Denver is placed in No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Omaha is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Providence is placed in No. 8 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Boston College is placed in No. 7 Omaha’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Bowling Green is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 5 Michigan Tech’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Michigan State is sent to No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Robert Morris is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Minnesota is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Yale is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
12 Quinnipiac vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Bowling Green vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Providence vs. 8 Denver

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have none this week.

Then let’s leave everything as it is. Now, you know that can’t happen, right?

Why not?

The PWR has not changed much over the past week except in the fourth band, so our argument remains the same. I think it’s familiar by now.

Let’s look at the East and Northeast regionals.

There are three Western teams in the Northeast Regional and two ECAC Hockey teams in the East Regional. I’m not so concerned about the East as I would be the Northeast.

We have Providence and Boston College sitting in the West and Midwest regionals, respectively, and it would be nice to bring one of them back East to help bolster attendance in the East.

I have gotten many notes stating that the West Regional is sold out and the Midwest Regional has good ticket sales and asking why I am moving teams to these regionals for attendance purposes. I am not doing it for those regionals; I am doing it to boost attendance in the East and Northeast regionals.

The other point is that why would we not want to make a great atmosphere in the sold-out regionals? After all, one of the mandates of the committee is to make the atmosphere a great one for the student-athletes.

Now back to our analysis.

With Boston University sitting in the two band and in the East, you can’t bring back both Providence and Boston College. So we need to decide who to bring back.

I will look at the PWR. Providence is 9, Boston College is 10. So let’s work on bringing the higher seed back East.

Providence, though not the host in the East Regional, is still a nice draw in Providence. So I would like to place the Friars there.

This means that Quinnipiac must move to Manchester, and in turn, Bowling Green must move. But I would like to move the Falcons to South Bend because of the proximity, and then that means Boston College moves to take Providence’s spot.

But if I do that, I create a WCHA-WCHA matchup, so I will also swap Denver and Michigan Tech.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 8 Denver

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

And there you have it.

We’ve maximized what we have had in terms of Eastern teams in the East Regional.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology, and you can check out the Bracketology Blog for some musings during the week.

Here’s a summary of everything that we have covered.

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 8 Denver

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

Conference breakdowns

NCHC — 5
Hockey East — 3
WCHA — 3
Big Ten — 2
ECAC Hockey — 2
Atlantic Hockey — 1

On the move

In: Michigan State

Out: Michigan

Attendance woes?

I think we are OK.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 8 Denver

Two weeks out, and it’s time to watch for teams falling off the bubble

NInth overall seed Providence and 10th overall seed Boston College both could be in line for a move to the East Regional. Which one would the committee pick? (photo: Melissa Wade)

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 tournament would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

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

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 22.

Those of you that are veterans of the college hockey scene know that it is all about the PairWise Rankings. This is USCHO’s numerical approach that simulates the way the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee chooses the teams that make the NCAA tournament.

Since USCHO began the PairWise Rankings, we have correctly identified all of the teams that have been selected to the NCAA tournament.

For the past four years, I am the only prognosticator to have correctly predicted the exact brackets for the NCAA tournament, meaning that I have predicted how the committee thought when putting together the brackets.

This is not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

If you want to skip the inner workings and get to the results of the analysis, then click here.

Here are the facts:

• Sixteen teams are selected to participate in the national tournament.

• There are four regional sites (East — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• Seedings will not be switched. To avoid undesirable first-round matchups, including intra-conference games (see below), teams will be moved among regionals, not reseeded.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2015 pre-championship manual:

In setting up the tournament, the committee begins with a list of priorities to ensure a successful tournament on all fronts, including competitive equity, financial success and the likelihood of a playoff-type atmosphere at each regional site. For this model, the following is a basic set of priorities:

1. Once the six automatic qualifiers and 10 at-large teams are selected, the next step is to develop four groups from the committee’s rankings of 1-16. The top four teams are No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds.

2. Step two is to place the home teams. Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

3. Step three is to fill in the bracket so that first-round conference matchups are avoided, unless it corrupts the integrity of the bracket. If five or more teams from one conference are selected to the championship, then the integrity of the bracket will be protected (i.e., maintaining the pairing process according to seed will take priority over avoidance of first-round conference matchups). To complete each regional, the committee assigns one team from each of the remaining seeded groups so there is a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed at each regional site.

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of March 3:

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Omaha
6 Boston University
7 Michigan Tech
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Minnesota
12t Quinnipiac
12t Yale
14 Bowling Green
15t Michigan
15t Massachusetts-Lowell
25 Robert Morris

Current conference leaders or regular season champions based on tiebreakers established by each conference:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris (regular season champion)
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac (regular season champion)
Hockey East: Boston University (regular season champion)
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Minnesota State

Notes

• Bracketology assumes that the season has ended and there are no more games to be played — i.e., the NCAA tournament starts tomorrow.

• I’m using the conference tiebreakers to determine the No. 1 seed for that conference’s tournament. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion and recipient of the autobid.

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 Robert Morris.

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

There are two ties, Quinnipiac and Yale and Michigan and Massachusetts-Lowell.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Omaha
6 Boston University
7 Michigan Tech
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Minnesota
12 Quinnipiac
13 Yale
14 Bowling Green
15 Michigan
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Omaha, Boston University, Michigan Tech, Denver

No. 3 seeds: Providence, Boston College, Minnesota, Quinnipiac

No. 4 seeds: Yale, Bowling Green, Michigan, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 2 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 would be 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 Denver is placed in No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Omaha is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Providence is placed in No. 8 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Boston College is placed in No. 7 Michigan Tech’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 5 Omaha’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Bowling Green is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Yale is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
12 Quinnipiac vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Providence vs. 8 Denver

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have none this week.

Then let’s leave everything as it is. Now, you know that can’t happen, right?

Why not?

Let’s look at the East and Northeast Regionals.

There are three western teams in the Northeast Regional and two ECAC Hockey teams in the East Regional. I’m not so concerned about the East as I am the Northeast.

We have Providence and Boston College sitting in the West and Midwest Regionals, respectively, and it would be nice to bring one of them back East to help bolster attendance.

With Boston University sitting in the two band and in the East, you can’t bring back both of them. So we need to decide which team to bring back.

I will look at the PWR: Providence is 9, Boston College is 10. So let’s work on bringing Providence back East.

Providence, though not the host in the East Regional, is still a nice draw in Providence. So I would like to place them there.

This means that Quinnipiac must move to Manchester, and in turn, Minnesota to take Providence’s spot.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 8 Denver

And there you have it.

We’ve maximized what we have had in terms of Eastern teams in the East Regional.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

Here’s a summary of everything that we have covered.

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 8 Denver

Conference breakdowns

NCHC — 5
Hockey East — 3
WCHA — 3
Big Ten — 2
ECAC Hockey — 2
Atlantic Hockey — 1

On the move

In: Yale

Out: St. Cloud State

Attendance woes?

I think we are OK.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Tidbits

Playoff time

It’s playoff time, and some teams head into action this week while others have a bye. What’s important here is the bubble and how to stay alive. Some teams can’t do anything until next week to improve their lot on the PWR.

So teams such as St. Lawrence and Colgate can’t do anything to get off the bubble as of yet. But teams like Harvard, Vermont and Northeastern can.

So take a look at the series this weekend that involve Vermont, Northeastern and Harvard. If your team is on the bubble, such as Lowell and St. Cloud State, you certainly want these teams to lose their series this weekend.

Three weeks out, and an abundance of NCHC teams presents some competing priorities

With St. Cloud State in as a No. 4 seed and Minnesota-Duluth as one of three No. 1 seeds from the NCHC, we have some competing priorities to weigh (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

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 tournament would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

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

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 22.

Those of you that are veterans of the college hockey scene know that it is all about the PairWise Rankings. This is USCHO’s numerical approach that simulates the way the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee chooses the teams that make the NCAA tournament.

Since USCHO began the PairWise Rankings, we have correctly identified all of the teams that have been selected to the NCAA tournament.

For the past four years, I am the only prognosticator to have correctly predicted the exact brackets for the NCAA tournament, meaning that I have predicted how the committee thought when putting together the brackets.

This is not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

If you want to skip the inner workings and get to the results of the analysis, then click here.

Here are the facts:

• Sixteen teams are selected to participate in the national tournament.

• There are four regional sites (East — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• Seedings will not be switched. To avoid undesirable first-round matchups, including intra-conference games (see below), teams will be moved among regionals, not reseeded.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2015 pre-championship manual:

In setting up the tournament, the committee begins with a list of priorities to ensure a successful tournament on all fronts, including competitive equity, financial success and the likelihood of a playoff-type atmosphere at each regional site. For this model, the following is a basic set of priorities:

1. Once the six automatic qualifiers and 10 at-large teams are selected, the next step is to develop four groups from the committee’s rankings of 1-16. The top four teams are No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds.

2. Step two is to place the home teams. Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

3. Step three is to fill in the bracket so that first-round conference matchups are avoided, unless it corrupts the integrity of the bracket. If five or more teams from one conference are selected to the championship, then the integrity of the bracket will be protected (i.e., maintaining the pairing process according to seed will take priority over avoidance of first-round conference matchups). To complete each regional, the committee assigns one team from each of the remaining seeded groups so there is a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed at each regional site.

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Feb. 24:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Miami
7 Denver
8 Omaha
9 Boston College
10 Minnesota
11t Quinnipiac
11t Providence
13 Bowling Green
14 St. Cloud State
15 Yale
16 Massachusetts-Lowell
19 Michigan
23 Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on tiebreakers established by each conference:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan (Most conference wins)
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Minnesota State

This is a change from past weeks and is designed to show the team that has the inside track at the top seed for the league playoffs now that all of the contenders have played the same number of games.

Notes

• Bracketology assumes that the season has ended and there are no more games to be played — i.e., the NCAA tournament starts tomorrow.

• I’m using the conference tiebreakers to determine the No. 1 seed for that conference’s tournament. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion and recipient of the autobid.

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 teams that are not are Michigan and Robert Morris.

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

There is one tie, Quinnipiac and Providence.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Miami
7 Denver
8 Omaha
9 Boston College
10 Minnesota
11 Quinnipiac
12 Providence
13 Bowling Green
14 St. Cloud State
15 Michigan
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Michigan Tech, Boston University, Denver, Omaha

No. 3 seeds: Boston College, Minnesota, Quinnipiac, Providence

No. 4 seeds: Bowling Green, St. Cloud State, Michigan, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 would be 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 Omaha is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Denver is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Boston College is placed in No. 8 Omaha’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Minnesota is placed in No. 7 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Providence is placed in No. 5 Michigan Tech’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 St. Cloud State is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Bowling Green is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one this week in St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota-Duluth.

If you take a look at where you can move St. Cloud, there is only one spot that you can do it — against the No. 1 overall seed Minnesota State. Because there are three other NCHC teams in the No. 1 band, that’s the only spot.

People will refer to the rule that if you have more than five teams in the field, then first-round intraconference matchups are OK. But, as we have seen in the past, the committee will try to avoid it if it can, no matter how many teams there are from one conference.

The committee also has shown a tendency, however, to protect the No. 1 overall seed and make sure it draws the No. 16 overall seed in the first round, so there are some competing factors here.

But we’ll make the switch and then adjust the seedings downward.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Is there anything else that we can do? It doesn’t look like it at all.

You have to wonder about attendance in the East and Northeast regionals now with all those Western teams.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

Here’s a summary of everything that we have covered.

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Conference breakdowns

NCHC — 6
Hockey East — 3
WCHA — 3
Big Ten — 2
ECAC Hockey — 1
Atlantic Hockey — 1

On the move

In: St. Cloud State, Michigan

Out: Yale, Harvard

Attendance woes?

With so many Western teams, I worry about the East and Northeast now.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
12 Providence vs. 6 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Boston College vs. 5 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

BNY Mellon Wealth Management