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A prediction for the 2016 NCAA tournament bracket

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

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

East Regional (Albany):
16 RIT vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Northeastern vs. 3 North Dakota
12 Notre Dame vs. 7 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Ferris State vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Boston University vs. 6 Denver

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

1 Quinnipiac
2 St. Cloud State
3 North Dakota
4 Providence
5 Boston College
6t Denver
6t Michigan
8t Massachusetts-Lowell
8t Boston University
10 Yale
11 Harvard
12 Notre Dame
13 Northeastern
14 Minnesota-Duluth
15 Cornell
16 Michigan Tech
30 Ferris State
36t RIT

Autobids as tournament champions:

Atlantic Hockey: RIT
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Northeastern
NCHC: St. Cloud State
WCHA: Ferris 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 Ferris State and RIT.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Denver and Michigan at 6, Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University at 8.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Quinnipiac
2 St. Cloud State
3 North Dakota
4 Providence
5 Boston College
6 Denver
7 Michigan
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Boston University
10 Yale
11 Harvard
12 Notre Dame
13 Northeastern
14 Minnesota-Duluth
15 Ferris State
16 RIT

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, North Dakota, Providence

No. 2 seeds: Boston College, Denver, Michigan, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Boston University, Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame

No. 4 seeds: Northeastern, Minnesota-Duluth, Ferris State, RIT

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Quinnipiac is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 2 St. Cloud State is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 3 North Dakota is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Providence is placed in the East Regional in Albany.

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. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Michigan is placed in No. 2 St. Cloud State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Denver is placed in No. 3 North Dakota’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

Our bracketing system has one regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16; another with 2, 7, 10 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Boston University is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Yale is placed in No. 7 Michigan’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Harvard is placed in No. 6 Denver’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Notre Dame is placed in No. 5 Boston College’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 RIT is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Ferris State is sent to No. 2 St. Cloud State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth is sent to No. 3 North Dakota’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Northeastern is sent to No. 4 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Albany):
13 Northeastern vs. 4 Providence
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 RIT vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Boston University vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 North Dakota
11 Harvard vs. 6 Denver

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Ferris State vs. 2 St. Cloud State
10 Yale vs. 7 Michigan

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have quite a few: Northeastern vs. Providence, Minnesota-Duluth vs. North Dakota, Notre Dame vs. Boston College and Boston University vs. Massachusetts-Lowell.

We can swap Northeastern and Minnesota-Duluth to clear one of those up.

East Regional (Albany):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 RIT vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Boston University vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Northeastern vs. 3 North Dakota
11 Harvard vs. 6 Denver

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Ferris State vs. 2 St. Cloud State
10 Yale vs. 7 Michigan

Next, we take a look at the Hockey East matchups.

We have to swap out the Hockey East teams in the 3 band to the Western regionals and bring back the ECAC teams.

It’s highest seed vs. lowest seed. Therefore, Harvard goes to play Boston College and Yale to play Massachusetts-Lowell. In turn, Notre Dame goes to play Denver and Boston University to play Michigan.

East Regional (Albany):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 RIT vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Northeastern vs. 3 North Dakota
12 Notre Dame vs. 6 Denver

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Ferris State vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Boston University vs. 7 Michigan

Now, we look at attendance.

As we’ve been saying all year long, we would love to get Notre Dame and Michigan in Cincinnati. So we swap Michigan and Denver.

But we also wouldn’t mind seeing Ferris State there, too.

And in some sort of irony, if you want to call it that, it’s like an old CCHA bracket with North Dakota as an interloper.

But, is this fair to do? To move Ferris State away from bracket integrity?

I can see it happening because of some perceived attendance, but I don’t think it will.

So, we leave it as is and don’t get that throwback CCHA-type bracket.

Is there anything else that we can do?

We can’t bring Minnesota-Duluth to St. Paul — though that would be great to do — because we create an all-NCHC matchup.

I think that you have to give serious consideration to swapping the entire East and Northeast Regional brackets because of attendance.

Why wouldn’t you want Providence, Boston College and Harvard in Worcester? Quinnipiac, Yale and Lowell are all close to Worcester also, but, the first set is closer to Worcester than Albany. And Quinnipiac, Yale, Lowell and RIT are just as close to Albany.

This is a tough call.

You should give Quinnipiac the closest regional being the No. 1 overall. But the argument is very, very, very compelling to put Quinnipiac in Albany.

I can’t see the committee only putting one Boston-area team in Worcester, and that team being Massachusetts-Lowell.

So I think they’ll make the switch.

East Regional (Albany):
16 RIT vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Northeastern vs. 3 North Dakota
12 Notre Dame vs. 7 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Ferris State vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Boston University vs. 6 Denver

So that’s it, the bracket.

The conference breakdown:

Hockey East — 6
NCHC — 4
ECAC Hockey — 3
WCHA — 1
Big Ten — 1
Atlantic Hockey — 1

We’ll see how the committee does it at noon EDT Sunday.

Here are the teams projected to make the 2016 NCAA tournament

With all games played, here are the teams projected to be in the 2016 NCAA Division I men’s tournament, grouped by seed:

Quinnipiac
St. Cloud State
North Dakota
Providence

Boston College
Denver
Michigan
UMass-Lowell

Boston University
Yale
Harvard
Notre Dame

Northeastern
Minnesota-Duluth
Rochester Institute of Technology
Ferris State

The PairWise Rankings mimic the selection process used by the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee in picking the 10 at-large teams. Six automatic qualifiers — the conference tournament champions — also make the field.

The selection show airs at noon EDT on Sunday on ESPNU; we’ll have a live blog to discuss things.

Jayson Moy is working on his final Bracketology and we’ll have that posted when he’s done with the analysis.

Down to the wire

Quinnipiac is the overall number one seed.

A St. Cloud win sends it to St. Paul, else North Dakota is the in St. Paul as the overall number 2.

Providence is overall No. 4

Minnesota needs a win to get in, else out.

UMD needs a win or Minnesota loss to get in.

Yale needs either UMD or Minnesota to lose to get in.

Three teams on the bubble ahead of Saturday’s games

As we await the final seven games before selection Sunday, here’s where we stand.

These teams have locked up spots in the NCAA tournament, according to what we know of the selection process and the PairWise Rankings:

Quinnipiac
St. Cloud State
North Dakota
Providence
Boston College
Denver
Michigan
UMass-Lowell
Boston University
Harvard
Notre Dame

These teams are still in the running for an at-large bid from what we’ve been able to work out in the PairWise Predictor and via Jim Dahl at CollegeHockeyRanked.com:

Yale
Minnesota-Duluth
Northeastern

And these teams can get into the field of 16 only by winning Saturday night’s conference championship game:

Minnesota
Robert Morris
Rochester Institute of Technology
Minnesota State
Ferris State

With the automatic qualifier from Atlantic Hockey and the WCHA coming from outside of the top 16 in the PairWise, the cut line will be at 12, 13 or 14.

To put it another way, a Minnesota loss in the Big Ten title game means all of Yale, Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern get into the NCAAs, even if Duluth and Northeastern lose their championship games.

A Minnesota win takes away a spot from one of those three teams, and it appears that Northeastern would be the first team out unless it wins the Hockey East title. Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern, of course, have something to say about their fates, while Yale, eliminated from the ECAC Hockey playoffs last weekend, has to wait and watch.

Here’s the schedule for Saturday’s games, with TV noted:

3:30 p.m. CDT: NCHC third-place game — Denver vs. North Dakota

6 p.m. EDT: WCHA — Ferris State vs. Minnesota State (FSN)

7 p.m. EDT: Hockey East — Northeastern vs. UMass-Lowell (NBCSN, NESN)

7 p.m. EDT: Atlantic Hockey — RIT vs. Robert Morris (TWCS)

7:30 p.m. EDT: ECAC Hockey — Harvard vs. Quinnipiac (ASN)

7 p.m. CDT: Big Ten — Michigan vs. Minnesota (BTN)

7:30 p.m. CDT: NCHC championship — Minnesota-Duluth vs. St. Cloud State (CBSSN)

There are some interesting dynamics at play Saturday night with seeding for the No. 1s.

The way that the NCAA committee generally places the No. 1 seeds in regionals is to go in order in placing teams closest to home. In the West, the closest to home for both St. Cloud State and North Dakota is the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn., so whichever team finishes higher in the PairWise in all likelihood will be assigned there.

After trying some scenarios in the PairWise Predictor, it appears that St. Cloud State will finish ahead of North Dakota unless it loses to Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game and North Dakota wins or ties the third-place game against Denver.

Once Saturday night’s games are done, we’ll post the 16 teams projected to be in the NCAA field and then follow with Jayson Moy’s Bracketology prediction. The selection show is scheduled to air on ESPNU at noon Sunday, and we’ll be covering that with a live blog.

Just days out, and Hockey East teams pack the middle of the field

UMass-Lowell enters the conference championship weekend as the final No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament picture (photo: Omar Phillips).

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.

This will be the last Bracketology until we make our final picks before the field is announced on Sunday.

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Albany, N.Y.; 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: Union in Albany, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

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

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2016 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 seed in the conference playoffs through all games as of March 16:

1 North Dakota
2 Quinnipiac
3 St. Cloud State
4 Providence
5 Boston College
6t Denver
6t Michigan
8t Massachusetts-Lowell
8t Boston University
10 Yale
11 Harvard
12 Notre Dame
13 Minnesota-Duluth
14 Northeastern
15 Michigan Tech
16 Cornell
17t Minnesota
19t Robert Morris

Current highest remaining seeds remaining in conference tournaments:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Michigan Tech

Notes

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

• The highest seed remaining in its conference tournament is my assumed conference tournament champion and recipient 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 current league leaders that are not currently in the top 16. The only teams that are not are Minnesota 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 Denver and Michigan, and Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, Providence

No. 2 seeds: Boston College, Denver, Michigan, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Boston University, Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame

No. 4 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Quinnipiac is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Providence is placed in the East Regional in Albany.

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 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Michigan is placed in No. 2 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Denver is placed in No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

Our bracketing system has one regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16; another with 2, 7, 10 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Boston University is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Yale is placed in No. 7 Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Harvard is placed in No. 6 Denver’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Notre Dame is placed in No. 5 Boston College’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

Since Minnesota is a host institution, we must place Minnesota in the West Regional.

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 7 Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Harvard vs. 6 Denver

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston University vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

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

In that 2 vs. 3 bracket, we have two Hockey East teams in both the 2 and 3 seeds. Thus, we have to match it so that they don’t play each other.

One thing we can do is have the two Hockey East 2 seeds in the East and the 2 non-Hockey East teams in the 3 seeding band play them.

Therefore, our matchups will be based upon highest seed vs. lowest seed for one and then the other one falls in.

Boston College will play Harvard and Massachusetts-Lowell will play Yale.

We leave BC where it is, and move Massachusetts-Lowell to Worcester.

Why is this? We have bracket integrity at the possible 4 vs. 5 in the next round.

Then we move Notre Dame vs. Michigan in Cincinnati based upon attendance.

That leaves Boston University vs Denver in St. Paul.

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
12 Notre Dame vs. 7 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston University vs. 6 Denver

And there you go.

A whole slew of games this weekend to determine positioning and a few possible at-large bids.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
12 Notre Dame vs. 7 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston University vs. 6 Denver

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: None

Out: None

Attendance woes?

Cincinnati is looking a little better this week.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
9 Boston University vs 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
10 Notre Dame vs. 8 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Denver

The PairWise Predictor, and where we stand entering conference championship weekend

When the conference tournament quarterfinal round wrapped up Sunday night, we rolled out our PairWise Predictor, which lets you see how the rankings react based on results you enter for the final 21 games before selection Sunday.

Give it a try and see if you can come up with interesting scenarios for the field of 16 that’ll be announced Sunday. (Share any noteworthy results in the comments below or tweet them to @USCHO.)

Out of curiosity, I was wondering if we could get three NCHC teams as No. 1 seeds — it hasn’t happened since 2005, when the WCHA put Denver, Colorado College and Minnesota on the top line and North Dakota joined them in an all-WCHA Frozen Four.

It’s possible to get North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Denver as No. 1 seeds this season, but it might require a specific and unusual result: a tie between the Fighting Hawks and the Huskies in the NCHC’s third-place game in addition to the Pioneers winning two games.

Here’s a link to a scenario that generates three NCHC teams on the top line.

Meanwhile, thanks to the work of Jim Dahl at CollegeHockeyRanked.com, we know that there are nine teams that are locks to make the field of 16:

North Dakota
Quinnipiac
St. Cloud State
Providence
Boston College
Denver
Michigan
UMass-Lowell
Boston University

Dahl ran all 3,145,728 possible outcomes for the 21 games that will be played Thursday through Saturday and came up with the chances for each team to be selected for the NCAAs.

From that, we see that seven teams are still in the hunt for an at-large bid to the tournament, with varying levels of hope.

Yale (98.8%)
Notre Dame (93.1%)
Harvard (86.2%)
Minnesota-Duluth (51.4%)
Northeastern (40.1%)
Michigan Tech (29.1%)
Cornell (1.3%)

Yale, Notre Dame and Cornell all are out of their conference tournaments and can do nothing but keep their fingers crossed.

There are 14 other teams left in conference tournaments that can make the NCAA tournament only via the automatic bid that comes with the championship:

Robert Morris
Air Force
Rochester Institute of Technology
Army West Point
Minnesota
Penn State
Ohio State
Michigan State
Wisconsin
St. Lawrence
Dartmouth
Minnesota State
Bowling Green
Ferris State

Check out Jim’s site for more details, and play with the PairWise Predictor to see for yourself.

For more information on how the PairWise Rankings work, see our explanation of the PWR and our FAQ on the NCAA tournament selection process.

What this weekend means: March 11, 2016

It’s coming down to the nitty gritty, as they say. We have quarterfinal action in five of the conferences and the final regular season action in the Big Ten. We have a lot of ramifications in terms of what would happen depending upon which teams win series this weekend.

From a general overall view, things are going to get pretty boring if all the home teams win each series this weekend. What will be in doubt will be seedings next weekend, but there will be a lot of suspense gone should all the home teams win.

Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about. We have a lot of series where we have a team which seems entrenched in the top 12 of the PairWise Rankings playing teams that are on the bubble. Let’s take a look conference by conference.

ECAC

Cornell at Quinnipiac
Dartmouth at Yale
Rensselaer at Harvard

All of these series have a home team in the top 11, and Quinnipiac and Yale are pretty solid, while Harvard is also pretty much there. A series win by Cornell, Dartmouth or Rensselaer will push them further toward the top 13 with a chance next weekend to take the autobid or a possible at-large spot.

Should the home teams all win, Cornell, Dartmouth and Rensselaer will end their seasons.

The other series is Clarkson at St. Lawrence, two teams on the bubble. The winner stays alive for both the autobid and a possible at-large, while the loser finishes its season.

NCHC

Omaha at Denver

Omaha is in free-fall mode at the moment. The only way to stay in the hunt for an NCAA spot is to win the series this weekend. Denver is pretty solid.

Miami at Minnesota-Duluth

UMD just slipped into the last at-large spot in the latest PWR, but I think it’s safe to say that the losing team here is done. Miami most likely needs to win it all, while UMD can go into next weekend with a chance at an at-large bid.

Colorado College at North Dakota
Western Michigan at St. Cloud State

Upset wins here would give CC and Western Michigan a chance at an autobid, but that’s it. North Dakota and St. Cloud are in, but losses might jeopardize No. 1 seeds.

Hockey East

Boston University at Massachusetts-Lowell

The loser of this series has to sit and wait. So we’ll be talking about the loser next week, that’s for sure. The winner can write their ticket.

Northeastern at Notre Dame

Northeastern has risen up the PWR, but a win is the only way to stay alive. Notre Dame is pretty safe.

Vermont at Boston College
Merrimack at Providence

Vermont and Merrimack need to win it all. Losses by BC or Providence knock them out of the running for a No. 1 seed.

WCHA

Michigan Tech and Minnesota State are the only teams left with a chance at an at-large, and Minnesota State’s chances are slim for even that.

It looks like in order for the WCHA to get two teams into the tournament, Michigan Tech needs to lose the championship game.

Atlantic Hockey

The winner of the tournament will be a 14, 15 or 16 seed.

Big Ten

Ohio State at Michigan State

See you Thursday for the Big Ten tournament.

Penn State at Michigan
Wisconsin at Minnesota

Michigan looks in. But Penn State and Minnesota have shots at at-large bids should they not win the tournament. It will be interesting to see how these games play out this weekend and who winds up with the byes in the tournament next week.

Summing it all up

Things could get a lot less interesting next week should all the home teams win their series this coming weekend. But this is college hockey, where anything and everything will happen.

Historically, PairWise’s top 3 entering league quarterfinals are solid bets to stay as No. 1 seeds

We’re onto the quarterfinals in every conference except the Big Ten. Below are the PairWise Rankings through games of March 6, and as you can see, there are a few changes from last week, and the projected cut line has moved.

1. North Dakota*
2. Quinnipiac*
3. St. Cloud State
4. Providence*
5. Boston College
6t. Denver
6t. Yale
8t. Michigan*
8t. Boston University
10. Notre Dame
11. Harvard
12. Massachusetts-Lowell
13. Minnesota-Duluth
14. Michigan Tech*
15. Omaha
– projected cut line –
16. Cornell
– average position for outsider to make the tournament
17t. Minnesota
17t. Penn State
19. Northeastern
20. Clarkson
21. Robert Morris*
22t. Rensselaer
22t. Miami
22t. Minnesota State
25. St. Lawrence
– lowest any team has been ranked and still qualified –
26. Bowling Green
27. Dartmouth
28. Air Force
29t. Holy Cross
29t. Union
31. Bemidji State
32. Ohio State
33. Northern Michigan
34. Ferris State
35t. Mercyhurst
35t. Vermont
37. Merrimack
38t. New Hampshire
38t. Western Michigan
40t. RIT
40t. Wisconsin
42t. Michigan State
42t. Colgate
44. Lake Superior
45t. Connecticut
45t. Army
47. Bentley
48. Brown
49t. Sacred Heart
49t. Massachusetts
51. Canisius
52. Alaska-Anchorage
53t. Colorado College
53t. Alaska
55. Maine
56. Princeton
57. Alabama-Huntsville
58. Niagara
59. Arizona State
60. American International

As Michigan Tech moved up in the rankings, the cut line is dropped to 15. Minnesota is the top team in the B1G, but I deal with the PairWise, not conference standings. For those, check out Jayson Moy’s Bracketology. Since Michigan is above the cut line, I assume they will win the conference autobid. As Minnesota is the host in St. Paul and it sets up a potential North Dakota vs. Minnesota game in the first round, there are going to be strong opinions. However, for the purposes of this writing, Minnesota — or any team below the cut line — winning a conference autobid is considered an upset.

With that out of the way, onto the historical analysis.

In the 13 previous seasons:

• The team ranked No. 1 overall as the quarterfinals began finished No. 1 overall seven times and never lower than No. 3 overall.

• The No. 2 overall team finished No. 1 five times and also has never finished lower than No. 3 overall.

• The No. 3 team finished first only once (Boston College in 2005) and in 10 seasons was a No. 1 regional seed.

• The No. 4 overall team has remained in the top four in only five seasons, and never higher than third.

• Seven times, the overall No. 5 team has moved into the top four.

Overall, the top four will remain in the top four 77 percent of the time. Put another way, the top three teams typically remain and the No. 4 and 5 teams trade places.

The worst performance by any of the top four came in 2012 when UMass-Lowell dropped from No. 3 overall all the way to No. 12 after being upset by Providence in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East tournament.

Conversely, the 2013 Notre Dame squad rose from No. 14 to finish No. 4 overall. 2012 is the only season two of the top four teams finished worse than fourth as Minnesota-Duluth joined UMass-Lowell in the exodus. No. 13 North Dakota leapt up the rankings after sweeping through the WCHA Final Five to finish fourth.

The top nine teams are statistically safe. The 2005 Dartmouth Big Green squad is the only team to drop from No. 10 entirely out of the tournament after losing to Vermont in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. Teams that are ranked 1-12 now make the tournament a whopping 94 percent of the time. Overall, 90 percent of teams above the projected cut line remain above the cut line. Only the 2010 Michigan Wolverines and 2013 Wisconsin Badgers have jumped from No. 20 or worse to land in the tournament. The bubble is getting smaller.

Looking at the schedule coming up, the opportunity still exists for teams like Clarkson and Miami to play their way in, but realistically, people should look to Cornell, Minnesota and Penn State to see a team move above that cut line.

One week out, and some new at-large teams appear in the field

Charlie Sampair and Minnesota-Duluth have won four straight games to climb to 13th in the 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.

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 20.

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Albany, N.Y.; 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: Union in Albany, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

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

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2016 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 or highest remaining seed in the conference playoffs through all games as of March 9:

1 North Dakota
2 Quinnipiac
3 St. Cloud State
4 Providence
5 Boston College
6t Denver
6t Yale
8t Michigan
8t Boston University
10 Notre Dame
11 Harvard
12 Massachusetts-Lowell
13 Minnesota-Duluth
14 Michigan Tech
15 Omaha
16 Cornell
17t Minnesota
21 Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage or highest remaining seeds remaining in conference tournaments:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Michigan Tech (No. 1 seed in WCHA tournament)

Notes

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

• For Big Ten teams, who have two games left before the postseason starts, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion.

• For leagues whose regular season is complete, the highest seed remaining in the conference tournament 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 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 Denver and Yale, and Notre Dame and Boston University.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, Providence

No. 2 seeds: Boston College, Denver, Yale, Michigan

No. 3 seeds: Boston University, Notre Dame, Harvard, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 4 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 2 Quinnipiac is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Providence is placed in the East Regional in Albany.

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 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Yale is placed in No. 2 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Denver is placed in No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

Our bracketing system has one regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16; another with 2, 7, 10 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Boston University is placed in No. 8 Michigan’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Notre Dame is placed in No. 7 Yale’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Harvard is placed in No. 6 Denver’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 5 Boston College’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

Since Minnesota is a host institution, we must place Minnesota in the West Regional.

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
10 Notre Dame vs 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Harvard vs. 6 Denver

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Boston University vs. 8 Michigan

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

Like we did last week, let’s take a look at the third band and attendance drivers. We have to get Massachusetts-Lowell out of that spot, and the only team that can slot in there is Harvard, because all the other teams are Hockey East teams in that third band.

Therefore we know Harvard will play Boston College in Albany.

Now, how about the rest?

We have stated in previous blog posts that we would love to see Notre Dame in Cincinnati. So we put Notre Dame there.

Now, does Massachusetts-Lowell or Boston University get to go to Worcester? The higher seed does.

Thus, we have:

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
9 Boston University vs 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
10 Notre Dame vs. 6 Denver

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Michigan

We move onto attendance aspects of the bracket.

I still like Michigan in Cincinnati, so we swap the Wolverines with Denver.

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
9 Boston University vs 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
10 Notre Dame vs. 8 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Denver

So that’s about all we can do for this week.

See you here next week for the final Bracketology before the conference championship weekend starts.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 Quinnipiac
9 Boston University vs 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan Tech vs. 3 St. Cloud State
10 Notre Dame vs. 8 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota vs. 1 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Denver

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech

Out: Omaha, Minnesota State

Attendance woes?

Cincinnati is looking a little better this week.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
13 Omaha vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Boston University vs 8 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Notre Dame vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Denver

Two weeks out, and No. 1 seed shakeup means new first-round pairings emerge

Minnesota and North Dakota last met in the 2014 Frozen Four semifinals (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.

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 20.

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Albany, N.Y.; 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: Union in Albany, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

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

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2016 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 or highest remaining seed in the conference playoffs through all games as of March 2:

1 Quinnipiac
2 North Dakota
3 St. Cloud State
4 Providence
5 Boston College
6 Michigan
7t Denver
7t Yale
9t Notre Dame
9t Boston University
11 Harvard
12 Massachusetts-Lowell
13 Omaha
14t Penn State
14t Minnesota-Duluth
16t Minnesota
16t Michigan Tech
19t Robert Morris
19t Minnesota State

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage or highest seeds remaining in conference tournaments:

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

Notes

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

• For those teams still in regular season play, I will be using winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine the current leader. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion after applying the tiebreakers.

• For conference that are in the postseason, the highest seed remaining 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, Minnesota State 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 Denver and Yale, Notre Dame and Boston University, and Robert Morris and Minnesota State.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Quinnipiac
2 North Dakota
3 St. Cloud State
4 Providence
5 Boston College
6 Michigan
7 Denver
8 Yale
9 Notre Dame
10 Boston University
11 Harvard
12 Massachusetts-Lowell
13 Omaha
14 Minnesota
15 Robert Morris
16 Minnesota State

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Quinnipiac, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Providence

No. 2 seeds: Boston College, Michigan, Denver, Yale

No. 3 seeds: Notre Dame, Boston University, Harvard, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 4 seeds: Omaha, Minnesota, Robert Morris, Minnesota State

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Quinnipiac is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 3 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Providence is placed in the East Regional in Albany.

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 Yale is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Denver is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Michigan is placed in No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

Our bracketing system has one regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16; another with 2, 7, 10 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Notre Dame is placed in No. 8 Yale’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Boston University is placed in No. 7 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Harvard is placed in No. 6 Michigan’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 5 Boston College’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

Since Minnesota is a host institution, we must place Minnesota in the West Regional.

No. 14 Minnesota is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 16 Minnesota State is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Robert Morris is sent to No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Omaha is sent to No. 4 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Albany):
13 Omaha vs. 4 Providence
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Notre Dame vs 8 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Harvard vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Boston University vs. 7 Denver

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

Let’s take a look at the third band and attendance drivers. We have to get Massachusetts-Lowell out of that spot, and the only team that can slot in there is Harvard.

Therefore, we know Harvard will play Boston College in Albany.

Now, how about the rest?

We have stated in previous blog posts that we would love to see Notre Dame in Cincinnati. So we put Notre Dame there to play Michigan, which is the other team we would have loved to have seen there.

Now, does Massachusetts-Lowell or Boston University get to go to Worcester?

The higher seed does.

Thus, we have:

East Regional (Albany):
13 Omaha vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Boston University vs 8 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Notre Dame vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Denver

We move onto attendance aspects of the bracket.

I think that we are OK at the moment, even in Cincinnati.

The only thing to look out for here are the Eastern brackets. You have to ask whether they would swap the entire bracket. After all, you have one regional that has Providence, Boston College and Harvard. Would you think about this regional being in Worcester?

But for this week, we’ll stick with what we have.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
13 Omaha vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Boston University vs 8 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Notre Dame vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Denver

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: None

Out: None

Attendance woes?

Cincinnati is looking a little better this week.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 Boston College
12 Harvard vs. 5 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Boston University vs. 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 North Dakota
11 Omaha vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Notre Dame vs 8 Denver

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