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College Hockey:
Shuffling No. 3 seeds to keep them in their region

Welcome to the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced.

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

Here are the facts:

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

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

• A host institution which 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, Michigan Tech in Green Bay and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• Seedings will not be switched, as opposed to years past. 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, per a meeting of the championship committee:

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 likelihood of playoff-type atmosphere at each regional site. For the model, the following is a basic set of priorities:

• The top four teams as ranked by the committee are the four 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.

• Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

• No. 1 seeds are placed as close to home as possible in order of their ranking 1-4.

• Conference matchups in first round are avoided, unless five or more teams from one conference are selected, then the integrity of the bracket will be preserved.

• Once the five automatic qualifiers and 11 at-large teams are selected, the next step is to develop four groups from the committee’s ranking of 1-16. The top four teams are the No. 1 seeds. The next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds. These groupings will be referred to as “bands”.

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the No. 1 seeds in their conference tournaments (through all games of March 6, 2012):

1 Boston College
2t Michigan
2t Massachusetts-Lowell
2t Minnesota-Duuth
5 Ferris State
6t Boston University
6t Minnesota
8 Union
9t Miami
9t Maine
11 Denver
12 Michigan State
13 North Dakota
14t Cornell
14t Merrimack
16 Northern Michigan
29t Air Force

Here are the current No. 1 seeds in their respective tournaments:

Atlantic Hockey: Air Force
CCHA: Ferris State
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
WCHA: Minnesota

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 will be using the No. 1 seed in each conference tournament. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion and is awarded 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 how the teams rank in the Ratings Percentage Index, and add in any No. 1 seeds that are not currently in the top 16. The only team that is not is Air Force.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Michigan, Massachusetts-Lowell and Minnesota-Duluth at 2, Boston University and Minnesota at 6, Miami and Maine at 9, and Cornell and Merrimack at 14.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

Therefore the 16 teams in the tournament, in rank order, and adding in any conference leaders not already in the Top 16, are:

1 Boston College
2 Michigan
3 Massachusetts-Lowell
4 Minnesota-Duluth
5 Ferris State
6 Boston University
7 Minnesota
8 Union
9 Miami
10 Maine
11 Denver
12 Michigan State
13 North Dakota
14 Cornell
15 Merrimack
16 Air Force

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds — Boston College, Michigan, Massachusetts-Lowell, Minnesota-Duluth
No. 2 seeds — Ferris State, Boston University, Minnesota, Union
No. 3 seeds — Miami, Maine, Denver, Michigan State
No. 4 seeds — North Dakota, Cornell, Merrimack, Air Force

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 2 Michigan is placed in the Midwest Regional in Green Bay.
No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.

Step four

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

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

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

We have to place Minnesota first as a host institution.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 7 Minnesota is placed in No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 8 Union is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 2 Michigan’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Ferris State is placed in No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Miami is placed in No. 8 Union’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Maine is placed in No. 7 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Denver is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Michigan State is placed in No. 5 Ferris State’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Air Force is sent to No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Merrimack is sent to No. 2 Michigan’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Cornell is sent to No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 North Dakota is sent to No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional:
North Dakota vs. Minnesota-Duluth
Maine vs. Minnesota

Midwest Regional:
Merrimack vs. Michigan
Denver vs. Boston University

Northeast Regional:
Air Force vs. Boston College
Miami vs. Union

East Regional:
Cornell vs. Massachusetts-Lowell
Michigan State vs. Ferris State

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have North Dakota vs. Minnesota-Duluth and also Michigan State vs. Ferris State.

Let’s take care of our WCHA-WCHA matchup first.

So let’s swap North Dakota with Merrimack.

Now, we take care of Michigan State vs. Ferris State. Usually we will swap the lower seeds. But in this case, why can’t we bring Boston University back out east and Ferris State out west? Makes sense to me. So let’s swap BU with Ferris State.

We now have:

West Regional:
Merrimack vs. Minnesota-Duluth
Maine vs. Minnesota

Midwest Regional:
North Dakota vs. Michigan
Denver vs. Ferris State

Northeast Regional:
Air Force vs. Boston College
Miami vs. Union

East Regional:
Cornell vs. Massachusetts-Lowell
Michigan State vs. Boston University

I honestly like what I see here, but I think that I would like to make one more change: swapping Miami and Maine. They’re tied at 9 in the PairWise, so it’s not a big stretch to make.

West Regional:
Merrimack vs. Minnesota-Duluth
Miami vs. Minnesota

Midwest Regional:
North Dakota vs. Michigan
Denver vs. Ferris State

Northeast Regional:
Air Force vs. Boston College
Maine vs. Union

East Regional:
Cornell vs. Massachusetts-Lowell
Michigan State vs. Boston University

I like that a lot better.

I am done.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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


This week’s brackets

St. Paul
15 Merrimack vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Miami vs. 7 Minnesota

Green Bay
13 North Dakota vs. 2 Michigan
11 Denver vs. 5 Ferris State

Bridgeport
14 Cornell vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
12 Michigan State vs. 6 Boston University

Worcester
16 Air Force vs. 1 Boston College
10 Maine vs. 8 Union

Conference breakdowns

HEA — 5
CCHA — 4
WCHA — 4
ECAC — 2
AHA — 1

On the move

In: Cornell
Out: Northern Michigan

Attendance woes?

I like it!

Last week’s brackets

St. Paul
16 Air Force vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Michigan State vs. 7 Minnesota

Green Bay
14 North Dakota vs. 3 Michigan
10 Maine vs. 8 Miami

Bridgeport
15 Merrimack vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Northern Michigan vs. 5 Boston University

Worcester
13 Denver vs. 2 Boston College
9 Union vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Tidbits

See you in the Fall: Here are the teams that have concluded their seasons, the 13 teams eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

AHA: American International, Army, Canisius, Sacred Heart
CCHA: Alaska, Ohio State
Independent: Alabama-Huntsville
ECAC: Brown, Clarkson, Princeton, St. Lawrence
Hockey East: Northeastern, Vermont

Northern Michigan: Northern Michigan is sitting, hoping and waiting. Losing in the first round of the CCHA tournament has the Wildcats rooting for certain teams to falter. Basically, if you’re hoping that the Wildcats get in, you’re looking for everyone below you to lose, and some teams ahead of you to lose, too. In this case, if you’re a Wildcats fan, you are rooting hard for Maine to beat Merrimack, Dartmouth to beat Cornell, Bemidji State to beat North Dakota and Miami to sweep Michigan State.

A lot of teams to root for this weekend, Wildcats fans.

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