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Here’s our final prediction for the NCAA tournament brackets

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.

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

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota
9 St. Cloud State vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 North Dakota vs. 4 Wisconsin
12 Colgate vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Denver vs. 2 Boston College
10 Minnesota State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Quinnipiac

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

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3t Union
3t Wisconsin
5t Ferris State
5t Quinnipiac
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Notre Dame
9 St. Cloud State
10 Minnesota State
11t Providence
11t Colgate
13 Vermont
14 North Dakota
15 Michigan
16t Northeastern
16t Cornell
16t New Hampshire
– Denver
– Robert Morris

Autobids:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Wisconsin
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
NCHC: Denver
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 teams that are not are Denver and Robert Morris.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and Wisconsin at 3, Quinnipiac and Ferris State at 5 and Providence and Colgate at 11.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Union
4 Wisconsin
5 Ferris State
6 Quinnipiac
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Notre Dame
9 St. Cloud State
10 Minnesota State
11 Providence
12 Colgate
13 Vermont
14 North Dakota
15 Denver
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Union, Wisconsin

No. 2 seeds: Ferris State, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell, Notre Dame

No. 3 seeds: St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, Providence, Colgate

No. 4 seeds: Vermont, North Dakota, Denver, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 1 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Wisconsin is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 Notre Dame is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Ferris State is placed in No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest 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 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 8 Notre Dame’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Minnesota State is placed in No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 6 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Colgate is placed in No. 5 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest 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’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Denver is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 North Dakota is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Vermont is sent to No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota
9 St. Cloud State vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Wisconsin
12 Colgate vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Denver vs. 2 Boston College
10 Minnesota State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 North Dakota vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Quinnipiac

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

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

I swap Vermont with North Dakota.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota
9 St. Cloud State vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 North Dakota vs. 4 Wisconsin
12 Colgate vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Denver vs. 2 Boston College
10 Minnesota State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Quinnipiac

I would like to swap out Minnesota State and Colgate, but I can’t because of Ferris State in the Midwest. So I leave that alone and we are done.

That was easy, wasn’t it?

The conference breakdown:

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

We’ll see how the committee does it Sunday. The selection show is at noon EDT on ESPNU, and we’ll have a live blog to follow.

What I believe on Saturday morning

Based upon everything that we know, and how we’ve transcribed it to our PWR calculator, this is what I believe as of Saturday going into the championship games.

Teams In (10):

Minnesota
Boston College
Union
Ferris State
Wisconsin
Quinnipiac
Massachusetts-Lowell
Notre Dame
St. Cloud State
Colgate

Autobids In (2):
AHA: Canisius/Robert Morris
NCHC: Miami/Denver

Must Win to Get In:

AHA: Canisius/Robert Morris
NCHC: Miami/Denver
HE: New Hampshire
Big Ten: Ohio State
ECAC: None
WCHA: None

Win and Definitely In, but can also go in At-Large:

WCHA: Minnesota State

Must win to be considered for at-large, but not definitely in:

NCHC: North Dakota

There are 12 of 16 spots taken up now, the teams eligible for those four open spots:

Providence
Minnesota State
Vermont
North Dakota
Michigan
New Hampshire
Ohio State

So Providence, Vermont, North Dakota and Michigan are hoping that Minnesota State, New Hampshire and Ohio State all lose, thereby upping its chances of getting into the tournament.

Have fun today!

Just days out, and moving around the third band could solve some attendance issues

scsu mank front Just days out, and moving around the third band could solve some attendance issues

Minnesota State and St. Cloud State are both in the third band as the NCAA tournament stands entering the conference championship weekend (photo: Jim Rosvold).

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

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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the final weekly installment of our Bracketology, but we’ll have some notes during the weekend and bring you our final picks before the field is announced on Sunday (noon EDT, ESPNU; we’ll have a live blog with reaction).

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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 highest remaining seeds in the conference tournaments through all games entering the conference championship weekend:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3t Union
3t Ferris State
5 Wisconsin
6 Quinnipiac
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Notre Dame
9t Providence
9t St. Cloud State
11 Michigan
12t Minnesota State
12t North Dakota
14 Vermont
15 Colgate
16 Cornell
31 Mercyhurst

Current highest remaining seeds based in conference tournaments:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Ferris 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 am going to use the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament as my assumed conference tournament champion and receiver of the automatic bid.

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 Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and Ferris State at 3, Providence and St. Cloud State at 9 and Minnesota State and North Dakota at 12.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Union
4 Ferris State
5 Wisconsin
6 Quinnipiac
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Notre Dame
9 Providence
10 St. Cloud State
11 Michigan
12 Minnesota State
13 North Dakota
14 Vermont
15 Colgate
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Union, Ferris State

No. 2 seeds: Wisconsin, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell, Notre Dame

No. 3 seeds: Providence, St. Cloud State, Michigan, Minnesota State

No. 4 seeds: North Dakota, Vermont, Colgate, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 1 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Ferris State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 Notre Dame is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Wisconsin is placed in No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest 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 Notre Dame’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Michigan is placed in No. 6 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Minnesota State is placed in No. 5 Wisconsin’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Colgate is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 Vermont is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 North Dakota is sent to No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Providence vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 North Dakota vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Minnesota State vs. 5 Wisconsin

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Michigan vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have Providence vs. Notre Dame.

We can move around that third band to avoid intraconference matchups and still have some attendance issues be solved.

Thus, we can move St. Cloud State to St. Paul, Michigan to Worcester and Providence to Bridgeport.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
10 St. Cloud State vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 North Dakota vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Minnesota State vs. 5 Wisconsin

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
11 Michigan vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
9 Providence vs. 6 Quinnipiac

OK, now that there are no more intraconference matchups, how can we make the brackets better from an attendance standpoint?

What jumps out at me is a multi-level switch.

Michigan to Cincinnati, Wisconsin to St. Paul, Notre Dame to Cincinnati, which leaves Minnesota State to Worcester.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
10 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 North Dakota vs. 4 Ferris State
11 Michigan vs. 8 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
12 Minnesota State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
9 Providence vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Attendance-wise, this is perfect and there shouldn’t be issues at any of the sites.

So that is it.

See you here late Saturday night for our final prediction as to what the bracket will look like.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
10 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 North Dakota vs. 4 Ferris State
11 Michigan vs. 8 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
12 Minnesota State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
9 Providence vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Colgate, Minnesota State
Out: Cornell, Northeastern

Attendance woes?

I do have some concerns now because of the way teams are spread out.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
10 North Dakota vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Northeastern vs. 3 Union
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

This weekend will tell a lot. I have nine teams that are definitely in the tournament: Minnesota, Boston College, Union, Ferris State, Wisconsin, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell, Notre Dame and the Atlantic Hockey champion.

That leaves seven spots up for grabs. St. Cloud State is almost guaranteed a spot, while Providence is also almost there. That leaves five spots. We’ll see how the weekend progresses.

PairWise Predictor: What are 2014′s NCAA playoff permutations?

With the weekend’s games now (finally) in the books, USCHO.com’s PairWise Predictor is live.

What’s the PairWise Predictor? It’s your opportunity to test out your choices for winners in next weekend’s six Division I conference tournaments to see how they affect the PairWise Rankings.

We’ve updated the PairWise Predictor for 2014, both to reflect changes in the NCAA criteria and to include the same detailed comparisons that our 2014 PairWise Rankings provide.

You can test the entire range of results to find out which teams are in no matter what happens, which teams are definitely out, and which teams need a lot of help — or some crazy scenarios — to make it into the tournament.

Will Hockey East get five teams into the NCAA tournament? Is there a scenario that will get four ECAC Hockey or three NCHC teams in? Are Minnesota and Boston College No. 1 locks? Give some match-ups a shot and let us know in the comments area below what odd or unlikely results you find.

Check back all week as our resident bracketologist Jayson Moy and other members of the USCHO.com staff add their thoughts about who can make it in and what teams need to do to get there.

 

One week out, and the No. 3 seeds pose some challenges

providencefront One week out, and the No. 3 seeds pose some challenges

Brandon Tanev and Providence are one of three Hockey East teams in the three band in this week’s Bracketology (photo: Melissa Wade).

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

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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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 11:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3t Union
3t Wisconsin
5 St. Cloud State
6 Ferris State
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Notre Dame
10 North Dakota
11t Providence
11t Vermont
13 Cornell
14t Michigan
14t Northeastern
16 Colgate
32 Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage or top remaining seeds:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Ferris 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.

• Because the Big Ten is still in regular season play, I’m using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the conference leader. In other conferences, it’s the top remaining playoff seed. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

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 is Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and Wisconsin at 3, Providence and Vermont at 11 and Michigan and Northeastern 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
2 Boston College
3 Union
4 Wisconsin
5 St. Cloud State
6 Ferris State
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Notre Dame
10 North Dakota
11 Providence
12 Vermont
13 Cornell
14 Michigan
15 Northeastern
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Union, Wisconsin

No. 2 seeds: St. Cloud State, Ferris State, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Notre Dame, North Dakota, Providence, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Cornell, Michigan, Northeastern, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 1 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Wisconsin is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Ferris State is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 4 Wisconsin’s regional, the Midwest 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 Notre Dame is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 North Dakota is placed in No. 7 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 6 Ferris State’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 St. Cloud’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Northeastern is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 Michigan is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Cornell is sent to No. 4 Wisconsin’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Notre Dame vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Northeastern vs. 2 Boston College
10 North Dakota vs. 7 Quinnipiac

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have Notre Dame vs. Lowell and Northeastern vs. Boston College.

Since there are three Hockey East teams in the three band, we can only have North Dakota play Lowell. So we swap Notre Dame with North Dakota.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Northeastern vs. 2 Boston College
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Northeastern can only play Union or Wisconsin. So we swap Michigan and Northeastern.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Northeastern vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

OK, time to fine-tune our brackets.

Let’s get all of our teams in the two band closest to home as well. That involves switching matchups instead of just one team.

We’ll move the St. Cloud State-Vermont game to the West, Ferris State-Provdence to the Midwest, Quinnipiac-Notre Dame to the East and Massachusetts-Lowell against North Dakota to the Northeast.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
10 North Dakota vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Northeastern vs. 3 Union
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

How does all this look? Looks good to me. I would love to swap Cornell and Michigan, but I can’t because of the Big Ten matchup. So we have to leave this as is.

So that is it.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Wisconsin
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
10 North Dakota vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Northeastern vs. 3 Union
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Northeastern
Out: Minnesota State

Attendance woes?

I do have some concerns now because of the way teams are spread out.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 North Dakota vs. 5 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 Boston College
10 Notre Dame vs. 6 Ferris State

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

Teams are starting to cement their places in the tournament as you didn’t see much movement at all in the top 10.

Teams will solidify their spots this weekend. After this weekend you’ll also have some interesting positions in Hockey East, as the losers of Boston College vs. Notre Dame and Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Vermont will have to wait a week to see if they get at-larges, which can very well happen.

Two weeks out, and one swap creates a regional of familiar foes

2014030119 06 34188 Two weeks out, and one swap creates a regional of familiar foes

Ben Marshall and Minnesota are the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament at this point, but the West Regional could also include some familiar foes (photo: Jim Rosvold).

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

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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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 4:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3t Union
3t St. Cloud State
5 Wisconsin
6 Ferris State
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 North Dakota
10 Notre Dame
11 Providence
12 Michigan
13t Cornell
13t Vermont
15 Northeastern
16 Colgate
17t Minnesota State
17t Minnesota-Duluth
34 Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Minnesota State (based tiebreaker win over Ferris 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.

• Because there are an uneven amount of games played inside each conference, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader in each conference. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

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 Minnesota State and Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and St. Cloud State at 3, and Cornell and Vermont at 13.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Union
4 St. Cloud State
5 Wisconsin
6 Ferris State
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 North Dakota
10 Notre Dame
11 Providence
12 Michigan
13 Cornell
14 Vermont
15 Minnesota State
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Union, St. Cloud State

No. 2 seeds: Wisconsin, Ferris State, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: North Dakota, Notre Dame, Providence, Michigan

No. 4 seeds: Cornell, Vermont, Minnesota State, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 1 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Ferris State is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Wisconsin is placed in No. 4 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest 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 North Dakota is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Notre Dame is placed in No. 7 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 6 Ferris State’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Michigan is placed in No. 5 Wisconsin’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Minnesota State is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 Vermont is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Cornell is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 North Dakota vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 Michigan vs. 5 Wisconsin

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 Boston College
10 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have Michigan vs. Wisconsin.

How should we handle this one? We have a few choices — we can swap out Michigan or we can swap out Wisconsin. What is a better solution?

For me, to boost attendance and to boost other items, I swap out Wisconsin with Massachusetts-Lowell.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 North Dakota vs. 5 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 Boston College
10 Notre Dame vs. 7 Quinnipiac

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 6 Ferris State

Now we do some fine tuning. We can’t do much on the 2-3 band because of the Hockey East matchups that may occur in the first round. So we leave that band alone.

But I would love to get Notre Dame or Ferris State to the West or Midwest. I perhaps would like to consider moving Quinnipiac to Bridgeport and swapping with Ferris State. So I think I will do that.

What can we do in the 1-4 band? We can make one swap: Cornell and Minnesota State. But here we can try to invoke protecting the No. 2 seed, as it is facing a team outside of the top 16 of the PWR.

So for now, we leave it as is.

So that is it.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 North Dakota vs. 5 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 Boston College
10 Notre Dame vs. 6 Ferris State

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Providence vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Providence, Minnesota State

Out: Northeastern, Colgate

Attendance woes?

I am worried a bit about Cincinnati and Worcester.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Notre Dame vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

Teams are starting to cement their places in the tournament while the bubble continues to be volatile.

Three weeks out, and we can build a better West Regional

2012032518 27 30204 Three weeks out, and we can build a better West Regional

North Dakota and Minnesota played in the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn., in 2012 (photo: Jim Rosvold).

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

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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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. 25:

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3t Union
3t Ferris State
5 St. Cloud State
6 Wisconsin
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 North Dakota
11t Cornell
11t Vermont
11t Colgate
14t Michigan
14t Notre Dame
16 Providence
– Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Ferris 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.

• Because there are an uneven amount of games played inside each conference, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader in each conference. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

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 Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and Ferris State at 3, and Cornell, Colgate and Vermont at 11 and Michigan and Notre Dame at 14.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3 Union
4 Ferris State
5 St. Cloud State
6 Wisconsin
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 North Dakota
11 Cornell
12 Vermont
13 Colgate
14 Michigan
15 Notre Dame
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Boston College, Minnesota, Union, Ferris State

No. 2 seeds: St. Cloud State, Wisconsin, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Northeastern, North Dakota, Cornell, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Colgate, Michigan, Notre Dame, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Ferris State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Wisconsin is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest 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 Northeastern is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 North Dakota is placed in No. 7 Quinnipiac’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Cornell is placed in No. 6 Wisconsin’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Notre Dame is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Michigan is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Colgate is sent to No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
11 Cornell vs. 6 Wisconsin

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have Northeastern vs. Massachusetts-Lowell.

We could just swap Cornell and Northeastern.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 6 Wisconsin

It’s time to fine tune the brackets as I think the committee will do it. The first concern is attendance.

I see a real nice swap that will blow attendance out of the water. We swap Quinnipiac and Wisconsin.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

What else can we do? We can find a way for Notre Dame or Michigan to be in Cincinnati.

We can’t put Colgate in Bridgeport because of Union, and we can’t move Mercyhurst because we want to preserve the 1 vs. 16 matchup with Boston College and Mercyhurst. And we can put Colgate in St. Paul because we already have Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin in St. Paul. So the fourth team really is moot at this point.

So Notre Dame or Michigan has to go to Bridgeport, the other to Cincinnati and Colgate to St. Paul.

So how?

We try to preserve the bracket integrity as much as we can. So the lowest seed gets the highest seed and the other matchup falls into place.

That means 14 plays 4 and 15 plays 3.

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Notre Dame vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

I am quite good with these brackets.

So that is it.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Notre Dame vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

Hockey East — 5
ECAC Hockey — 4
Big Ten — 3
NCHC — 2
Atlantic Hockey — 1
WCHA — 1

On the move

In: Colgate

Out: Maine

Attendance woes?

No issues for me.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Cornell vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 8 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

Is anyone else drooling at that West Regional?

Four weeks out, and either Michigan or North Dakota has to move East

mich f Four weeks out, and either Michigan or North Dakota has to move East

Michigan lost twice at Minnesota last weekend but is still in line for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament (photo: Michelle Bishop).

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

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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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. 18:

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3t Union
3t St. Cloud State
5 Ferris State
6 Quinnipiac
7 Wisconsin
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 Michigan
11t Maine
11t North Dakota
11t Vermont
14 Cornell
15 Notre Dame
16t Minnesota-Duluth
16t Colgate
– Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Ferris 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.

• Because there are an uneven amount of games played inside each conference, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader in each conference. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

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 Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and St. Cloud State at 3, and Maine, North Dakota and Vermont at 11.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3 Union
4 St. Cloud State
5 Ferris State
6 Quinnipiac
7 Wisconsin
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 Michigan
11 Maine
12 North Dakota
13 Vermont
14 Cornell
15 Notre Dame
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Boston College, Minnesota, Union, St. Cloud State

No. 2 seeds: Ferris State, Quinnipiac, Wisconsin, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Northeastern, Michigan, Maine, North Dakota

No. 4 seeds: Vermont, Cornell, Notre Dame, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Wisconsin is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Ferris State is placed in No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest 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 Northeastern is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Michigan is placed in No. 7 Wisconsin’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Maine is placed in No. 6 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 North Dakota is placed in No. 5 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Notre Dame is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Cornell is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Vermont is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Vermont vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Cornell vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have a few in Michigan vs. Wisconsin, Cornell vs. Union and Northeastern vs. Massachusetts-Lowell.

Swapping Cornell with Vermont will solve that matchup.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Now we can make a straight switch of Michigan and Northeastern to fix that matchup.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Looking at this, I really don’t want to take Michigan away from a western regional.

But I also don’t want to take North Dakota away from a western regional.

What to do?

It’s one or the other. So I will preserve bracket integrity and go this way.

Now to address attendance issues. What can I do?

I would like a little more attendance in Cincinnati, so I think I can swap Cornell and Notre Dame, just to bring some more people to Cincinnati.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Cornell vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

I like that. So that is it.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Cornell vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 8 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: North Dakota, Notre Dame, Maine

Out: Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, Providence

Attendance woes?

No issues for me.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

Hockey East is ruling the roost with six teams, but down the stretch here, as teams play each other, what is going to happen? There are other teams on the bubble, and some just need to get hot.

Five weeks out, and a lot of moves make for good story lines

2014012520 43 4018 Five weeks out, and a lot of moves make for good story lines

Kyle Rau and Minnesota tied Austin Farley and Minnesota-Duluth at the North Star College Cup (photo: Jim Rosvold).

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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

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 — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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. 11:

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3t Union
3t Ferris State
5 Quinnipiac
6 Massachusetts-Lowell
7 Wisconsin
8 St. Cloud State
9 Cornell
10t Michigan
10t Northeastern
12 Vermont
13 Minnesota-Duluth
14 Colgate
15 Providence
16t Maine
16t Yale
– Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Ferris 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.

• Because there are an uneven amount of games played inside each conference, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader in each conference. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

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 Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and Ferris State at 3, and Michigan and Northeastern at 10.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3 Union
4 Ferris State
5 Quinnipiac
6 Massachusetts-Lowell
7 Wisconsin
8 St. Cloud State
9 Cornell
10 Michigan
11 Northeastern
12 Vermont
13 Minnesota-Duluth
14 Colgate
15 Providence
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Boston College, Minnesota, Union, Ferris State

No. 2 seeds: Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State

No. 3 seeds: Cornell, Michigan, Northeastern, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, Providence, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Ferris State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

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 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Wisconsin is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest 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 Cornell is placed in No. 8 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Michigan is placed in No. 7 Wisconsin’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Northeastern is placed in No. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Providence is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Colgate is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Minnesota-Duluth is sent to No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Providence vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Colgate vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have a few in Michigan vs. Wisconsin, Colgate vs. Union and Northeastern vs. Massachusetts-Lowell.

We have to break those up. Let’s take the Colgate vs. Union matchup first and it seems pretty simple: We just swap Colgate and Providence.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Now we look at Northeastern and Lowell. We could swap Northeastern with Cornell. But why don’t we swap St. Cloud with Lowell instead?

You give a higher seed a better geographic draw in this case, so I sort of like it a little better.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Now I have to break up Michigan and Wisconsin.

We swap Michigan and Vermont. Simple.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 8 St. Cloud State

So that’s it, right? We have our bracket.

Well, let’s see where we can fine-tune some things.

For example, how about we look at attendance? (Yes, I know this always happens, but follow along.)

If we have the opportunity to bring St. Cloud State to the West and Quinnipiac to the East, why don’t we do it? We swap.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Anything else?

Well, we have two Minnesota teams in Cincinnati and only one in St. Paul. So should we try to get one of the those teams to St. Paul? Either St. Cloud State or Minnesota-Duluth?

If you want to bring St. Cloud State to St. Paul, that means you also bring Michigan to St. Paul, because Michigan can’t play Wisconsin and you would be swapping St. Cloud State with Wisconsin.

So if you did that, the bracket would look like this:

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

But you could also swap Colgate and Minnesota-Duluth as the other option.

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Which of the two situations is more attractive to the ticket buyer in both St. Paul and Cincinnati?

I would think the second option. In the second option, you have a first-round matchup of two Minnesota teams, plus old rivals Wisconsin in the barn. You also have Michigan in Ohio, which is a bigger plus for attendance.

For option one, it’s not as attractive attendance-wise to me.

Thus, I go with option two as my final bracket.

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

I’ve swapped and played with this as much as possible, but also within all of the rules. And I’m quite happy with the result.

So that is it.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

Hockey East — 5
ECAC Hockey — 4
Big Ten — 3
NCHC — 2
Atlantic Hockey — 1
WCHA — 1

On the move

In: Vermont, Colgate

Out: New Hampshire, North Dakota

Attendance woes?

No issues for me.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 North Dakota vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 New Hampshire vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Providence vs. 6 Cornell

Interesting …

Some great story lines this week. Minnesota and Wisconsin in the same barn out West, and a great rematch of the North Star College Cup. Michigan in Ohio. Nate Leaman still on track to face his former team in the East, plus the top two teams in ECAC Hockey there. And in the Northeast, the top two teams in Hockey East as well. There are so many great stories with this week’s results.

Six weeks out, and this bracket doesn’t need much work

northdakotafront Six weeks out, and this bracket doesnt need much work

North Dakota would be the last at-large team in the NCAA tournament with this week’s PairWise Rankings (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 will wind up come selection time.

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

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.

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

For the past three 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 the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

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 — Bridgeport, Conn.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.)

• 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: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• 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 2014 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. 4:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Quinnipiac
4t Union
4t Ferris State
6 Cornell
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8t Michigan
8t Northeastern
10 St. Cloud State
11t Providence
11t Minnesota-Duluth
13 Wisconsin
14 New Hampshire
15 North Dakota
16 Notre Dame
– Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Ferris 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.

• Because there are an uneven amount of games played inside each conference, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader in each conference. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

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 Mercyhurst.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Union and Ferris State at 4, Michigan and Northeastern at 8, and Minnesota-Duluth and Providence at 11.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Quinnipiac
4 Union
5 Ferris State
6 Cornell
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Michigan
9 Northeastern
10 St. Cloud State
11 Providence
12 Minnesota-Duluth
13 Wisconsin
14 New Hampshire
15 North Dakota
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union

No. 2 seeds: Ferris State, Cornell, Massachusetts-Lowell, Michigan

No. 3 seeds: Northeastern, St. Cloud State, Providence, Minnesota-Duluth

No. 4 seeds: Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 1 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Union is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intraconference 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 Michigan is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Cornell is placed in No. 3 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Ferris State is placed in No. 4 Union’s regional, the Midwest 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 Northeastern is placed in No. 8 Michigan’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 6 Cornell’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 5 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 North Dakota is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 New Hampshire is sent to No. 3 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Wisconsin is sent to No. 4 Union’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 North Dakota vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 New Hampshire vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Providence vs. 6 Cornell

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

What? None at all? That’s correct, none at all.

So that’s it, right? We have our bracket.

Well, let’s see where we can fine-tune some things.

For example, how about we look at attendance? (Yes, I know this always happens, but follow along.)

Where can we improve? We can’t add another eastern team in Worcester unless we swap North Dakota and Mercyhurst. But that means we’re not protecting our overall No. 1 seed in Minnesota, so we don’t do that.

Our East Regional is perfect. I don’t think we need to change that.

Can we improve the West or Midwest Regionals? We can swap Michigan and Ferris State, but does that really help?

We can also swap Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern, to boost the attendance at St. Paul, but does that really make a difference?

So in conclusion, I don’t think we touch this bracket at all.

So that is it.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 North Dakota vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 New Hampshire vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Providence vs. 6 Cornell

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: New Hampshire, North Dakota

Out: Clarkson, Notre Dame

Attendance woes?

Some uneasiness in Cincinnati.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

Interesting …

Still some time to go, but things are heating up.