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Seven weeks out, and the NCHC’s presence in the field of 16 grows

20150109 Omaha Denver 03 MBishop Seven weeks out, and the NCHCs presence in the field of 16 grows

Omaha and Denver are two of the five NCHC teams in the top 11 spots of the PairWise Rankings (photo: Michelle Bishop).

It’s time once again to do what we like to call Bracketology, college hockey style. It’s our weekly look at how I believe the NCAA Tournament would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders as of the end of play on Jan. 28:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3t Boston University
3t Omaha
3t Harvard
6 Bowling Green
7 Minnesota-Duluth
8 Miami
9 Providence
10 Michigan Tech
11 Denver
12 Michigan
13 Boston College
14 Vermont
15 Massachusetts-Lowell
16 Yale
19 Quinnipiac
22t Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota (by head-to-head over Omaha)
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.

• 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 Quinnipiac 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 Boston University, Omaha and Harvard at 3.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

No. 2 seeds: Harvard, Bowling Green, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 3 seeds: Providence, Michigan Tech, Denver, Michigan

No. 4 seeds: Boston College, Vermont, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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

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

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference matchups if possible.

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding (unless you are a host school, in which case you must be assigned to your home regional).

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships would be played by No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 Miami is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Bowling Green is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Harvard is placed in No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Providence is placed in No. 8 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Denver is placed in No. 6 Bowling Green’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Michigan is placed in No. 5 Harvard’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Providence vs. 8 Miami

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

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one, so let’s solve it.

We have Vermont vs. Boston University. We can swap Vermont with Quinnipiac.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Providence vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

What else can we do to make the bracket more appealing in terms of attendance?

We can swap Michigan with Providence.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
9 Providence vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

So that looks like our bracket for the week.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
9 Providence vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Denver, Boston College, Providence

Out: Yale, Massachusetts-Lowell, Merrimack

Attendance woes?

I think we’re OK this week.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Eight weeks out, and having a host in a No. 1 seed changes the dynamic

2015011020 41 065786 Eight weeks out, and having a host in a No. 1 seed changes the dynamic

North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth could be the top two seeds in the West Regional in Fargo, N.D., as the PairWise Rankings stand today (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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders as of Jan. 20:

1 Minnesota State
2 Omaha
3 Bowling Green
4 North Dakota
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Miami
7 Harvard
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Yale
11 Michigan Tech
12t Vermont
12t Merrimack
14 Denver
15 Providence
16t Colgate
16t Michigan
20 Quinnipiac
– Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University (by head-to-head over Lowell)
NCHC: Omaha
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.

• 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 — Michigan, Quinnipiac 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 Vermont and Merrimack 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 State
2 Omaha
3 Bowling Green
4 North Dakota
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Miami
7 Harvard
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Yale
11 Michigan Tech
12 Vermont
13 Merrimack
14 Michigan
15 Quinnipiac
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, Omaha, Bowling Green, North Dakota

No. 2 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Miami, Harvard, Boston University

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Yale, Michigan Tech, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Merrimack, Michigan, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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

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

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference matchups if possible.

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding (unless you are a host school, in which case you must be assigned to your home regional).

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships would be played by No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 Boston University is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Harvard is placed in No. 2 Omaha’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Miami is placed in No. 3 Bowling Green’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 4 North Dakota’s regional, the West 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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 8 Boston University’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Yale is placed in No. 7 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 6 Miami’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
10 Yale vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Bowling Green
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Merrimack vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have two: Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Boston University and Yale vs. Harvard.

We can swap BU with Miami and also Yale with Michigan Tech to solve these problems.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
11 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Merrimack vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Now that we have the intra-conference matchups out of the way, let’s work on the other items, i.e. attendance.

One quick fix would be to swap Michigan with Merrimack. That would bring Merrimack back east and bring Michigan back West.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
11 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

We can also swap Massachusetts-Lowell and Michigan Tech for the same reasons.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

I think that we can all agree that this is best bracket attendance-wise that we can put together.

So that looks like our bracket for the week.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Merrimack

Out: Colgate

Attendance woes?

South Bend continues to be iffy. It brings up an interesting question, however. Notre Dame is in Hockey East, so would local fans in South Bend want to see western teams or Hockey East/eastern teams?

Fargo is already sold out, but that is one powerful bracket.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
11 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan Tech vs. 6 North Dakota

Tidbits

You can see how one little switch in the No. 1 seeds can shift everything. North Dakota having to be placed in Fargo does a lot of different things.

Nine weeks out, and conferences, geography come into play

141025 21330681 Nine weeks out, and conferences, geography come into play

Boston University and Michigan both get moved from their original position in this week’s Bracketology (photo: Melissa Wade).

It’s time once again to do what we like to call Bracketology, college hockey style. It’s our weekly look at how I believe the NCAA tournament would wind up using what we know now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Jan. 13:

1 Minnesota State
2 Minnesota-Duluth
3 Harvard
4 Omaha
5 Bowling Green
6 North Dakota
7 Miami
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Vermont
11 Yale
12 Michigan Tech
13 Colgate
14t Quinnipiac
14t Minnesota
16 Providence
19 Michigan
– Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University (by win-loss versus Connecticut)
NCHC: Omaha
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.

• 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

Step one

From the committee’s report, choose the 16 teams in the tournament.

We break ties in the PWR by looking at the individual comparisons among the tied teams, and add in any current league leaders that are not currently in the top 16. The only teams that are not are Michigan and Robert Morris.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Quinnipiac and Minnesota at 14. This is a big tiebreaker.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Harvard, Omaha

No. 2 seeds: Bowling Green, North Dakota, Miami, Boston University

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Vermont, Yale, Michigan Tech

No. 4 seeds: Colgate, Quinnipiac, Michigan, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference matchups if possible.

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding (unless you are a host school, in which case you must be assigned to your home regional).

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships would be played by No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

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

No. 6 North Dakota is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 8 Boston University is placed in No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Miami is placed in No. 3 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Bowling Green is placed in No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 8 Boston University’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Vermont is placed in No. 7 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Yale is placed in No. 6 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 12 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 5 Bowling Green’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 3 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Colgate is sent to No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan Tech vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Yale vs. 6 North Dakota

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have three, so let’s solve them.

We have Quinnipiac vs. Harvard, Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Boston University and Michigan Tech vs. Bowling Green.

We can solve this pretty easily by swapping two teams. But which two teams?

Let’s start adding in the tangibles now. The one tangible that I will use now is getting a higher seed closer to its home base. So in this case, I swap Bowling Green with Boston University.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Yale vs. 6 North Dakota

Now we also have Quinnipiac vs. Harvard to solve. We can’t swap Quinnipiac with Colgate, so we have to swap Quinnipiac with either Michigan or Robert Morris. But remember, the committee has protected the No. 1 seed in the past, so they certainly will do it again. So Quinnipiac has to be swapped with Michigan.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Yale vs. 6 North Dakota

What else can we do with this bracket at the moment to maximize attendance?

Examining the bracket, we can do one thing: swap Michigan Tech with Yale to get each one into “West” and “East.”

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
11 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan Tech vs. 6 North Dakota

Now this looks like our bracket for the week.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
11 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan Tech vs. 6 North Dakota

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Yale, Colgate, Michigan

Out: Providence, Penn State, Minnesota

Attendance woes?

South Bend could be iffy.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

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

10 weeks out, and we start with trouble bringing a team back East

DSC 1080 10 weeks out, and we start with trouble bringing a team back East

Providence and Quinnipiac are both No. 3 seeds as the PairWise Rankings stand 10 weeks out from selection Sunday (photo: Matt Eisenberg).

We’re at that time of the year where one thing is on everyone’s minds.

Will my team make the NCAA tournament? Where does it sit in the PairWise Rankings (PWR)?

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

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

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

With that in mind, 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 might look like come selection time, using what we know now.

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

This is 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.

This is the first installment of Bracketology for 2015, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 22.

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

Here are the facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Jan. 6:

1 Harvard
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Bowling Green
6 Omaha
7 North Dakota
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Providence
11t Minnesota
11t Michigan Tech
13 Vermont
14 Denver
15 Merrimack
16 Quinnipiac
22t Penn State
– Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Penn State (greater number of conference wins)
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
NCHC: Miami/Minnesota-Duluth (Coin Toss)
WCHA: Bowling Green

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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 Penn 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 Minnesota and Michigan Tech at 11.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Harvard, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Bowling Green, Omaha, North Dakota, Boston University

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Providence, Minnesota, Michigan Tech

No. 4 seeds: Vermont, Quinnipiac, Penn State, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference matchups if possible.

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding (unless you are a host school, in which case you must be assigned to your home regional).

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships would be played by No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

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

No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 8 Boston University is placed in No. 1 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Omaha is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Bowling Green is placed in No. 4 Miami’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 8 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 10 Providence is placed in No. 7 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota is placed in No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 5 Bowling Green’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 15 Penn State is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Vermont is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
12 Michigan Tech vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

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

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have two, so let’s solve them.

We have Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Boston University and Michigan Tech vs. Bowling Green.

We can solve this pretty easily by swapping the two teams.

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

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

What else can we do with this bracket at the moment to maximize attendance?

It would be nice to bring Providence and/or Quinnipiac back East, but that can’t happen for a few reasons.

You can only really swap Quinnipiac with Vermont, and that doesn’t make sense because you’re just swapping two East teams.

Then you can’t swap Robert Morris because the committee always protects the overall No. 1 seed by allowing it to play the 16 seed.

As for Providence, you create a Hockey East-Hockey East matchup if you move Providence back East and bring Michigan Tech West.

I think this is about all we can do this week.

So that is it. My bracket for the week.

But remember: So much changes between now and the actual bracket announcement.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

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

Conference breakdowns

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

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.

BNY Mellon Wealth Management