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College Hockey:
One game left, two scenarios, two brackets

There’s one more game left to be played and it will decide which team will be the last to make it into the NCAA tournament.

Let’s put the bracket prediction down first, and then we’ll explain how we got there after that.

Since we have two different scenarios, let’s lay out two different brackets depending upon who wins the CCHA championship game.

Scenario 1 — Michigan wins the CCHA tournament

If Michigan wins the CCHA and the automatic bid, then Yale is the last team out. Thus, my predicted NCAA tournament bracket is as follows:

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Denver vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Miami
10 Niagara vs. 6 North Dakota

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Union vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
11 Minnesota State vs. 7 New Hampshire

Scenario 2 — Notre Dame wins the CCHA tournament

If Notre Dame wins the CCHA, Yale is the last team in with an at-large bid. Thus, my predicted NCAA tournament bracket is as follows:

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Yale vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Niagara vs. 8 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Notre Dame
11 Minnesota State vs. 5 Miami

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Union vs. 6 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Denver vs. 7 New Hampshire

How did we get there?

Scenario 1 — Michigan wins the CCHA

Here is the top 16 of the PairWise Rankings under this scenario, and the other autobids that are not in the top 16:

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Massachusetts-Lowell
4 Miami
5 Boston College
6t North Dakota
6t New Hampshire
8 Notre Dame
9 Denver
10 Niagara
11t Minnesota State
11t Union
13 St. Cloud State
14t Wisconsin
14t Yale
16 Western Michigan
25t Michigan
– Canisius

Autobids:

Atlantic Hockey: Canisius
CCHA: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
WCHA: Wisconsin

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 any autobids not in the top 16 of the PairWise. So we add Michigan and Canisius.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Massachusetts-Lowell
4 Miami
5 Boston College
6 North Dakota
7 New Hampshire
8 Notre Dame
9 Denver
10 Niagara
11 Minnesota State
12 Union
13 St. Cloud State
14 Wisconsin
15 Michigan
16 Canisius

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds — Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Massachusetts-Lowell, Miami
No. 2 seeds — Boston College, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Notre Dame
No. 3 seeds — Denver, Niagara, Minnesota State, Union
No. 4 seeds — St. Cloud State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Canisius

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

We now place the other No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 1 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in Grand Rapids.
No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo.

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.

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 the host institution first, so we place New Hampshire in Manchester.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 7 New Hampshire is placed in No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 8 Notre Dame is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 5 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Miami’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, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13. We try our best to keep the 8-9, 7-10, 6-11 and 5-12 pairings together.

Therefore:

No. 9 Denver is placed in No. 8 Notre Dame’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 10 Niagara is placed in No. 7 New Hampshire’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota State is placed in No. 6 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 12 Union is placed in No. 5 Boston College’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

One more time, taking No. 16 vs. No. 1, No. 15 vs. No. 2, etc. But we have to place Michigan first as the host school in Grand Rapids.

No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 16 Canisius is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 14 Wisconsin is sent to No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 St. Cloud State is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Minnesota State vs. 6 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Miami
12 Union vs. 5 Boston College

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 8 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Niagara vs. 7 New Hampshire

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have one, Minnesota State vs. North Dakota.

We swap Minnesota State with Niagara.

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Niagara vs. 6 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Miami
12 Union vs. 5 Boston College

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 8 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
11 Minnesota State vs. 7 New Hampshire

Looks about right, doesn’t it? Let’s look at bracket integrity.

New Hampshire being placed screws up the bracket integrity in the second and third bands, so it just isn’t going to happen there. So we turn our attention to the attendance and atmosphere criteria and issues that are around.

What would make the tournament better for the fans? We can try to get fan bases closer to where their teams are playing.

We can swap entire matchups. So let’s do it.

I think attendance in Providence would be great with BC-Union there. Notre Dame is closer to Grand Rapids. And Toledo is closer for Niagara.

I’ve been saying it all season long, I think attendance is a major issue and it will play an important one here.

Let’s swap it all around.

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Denver vs. 8 Notre Dame

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Miami
10 Niagara vs. 6 North Dakota

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Union vs. 5 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
11 Minnesota State vs. 7 New Hampshire

And that’s where I think it will wind up should Michigan win the CCHA.

Scenario 2 — Notre Dame wins the CCHA

Here is the top 16 of the PairWise Rankings in this scenario, and the other autobids that are not in the Top 16:

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Massachusetts-Lowell
4 Notre Dame
5t Miami
5t Boston College
7 New Hampshire
8 North Dakota
9t Denver
9t Niagara
11t Minnesota State
11t Union
13 St. Cloud State
14t Wisconsin
14t Yale
16 Western Michigan
– Canisius

Autobids:

Atlantic Hockey: Canisius
CCHA: Notre Dame
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
WCHA: Wisconsin

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 any autobids not in the top 16 of the PairWise. So we add Canisius.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Massachusetts-Lowell
4 Notre Dame
5 Miami
6 Boston College
7 New Hampshire
8 North Dakota
9 Denver
10 Niagara
11 Minnesota State
12 Union
13 St. Cloud State
14 Wisconsin
15 Yale
16 Canisius

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds — Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Massachusetts-Lowell, Notre Dame
No. 2 seeds — Miami, Boston College, New Hampshire, North Dakota
No. 3 seeds — Denver, Niagara, Minnesota State, Union
No. 4 seeds — St. Cloud State, Wisconsin, Yale, Canisius

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

We now place the other No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 1 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in Grand Rapids.
No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Notre Dame is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo.

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.

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 the host institution first, so we place New Hampshire in Manchester.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 7 New Hampshire is placed in No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 8 North Dakota is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Boston College is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 5 Miami is placed in No. 4 Notre Dame’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, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13. We try our best to keep the 8-9, 7-10, 6-11 and 5-12 pairings together.

Therefore:

No. 9 Denver is placed in No. 8 North Dakota’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 10 Niagara is placed in No. 7 New Hampshire’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota State is placed in No. 6 Boston College’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 12 Union is placed in No. 5 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Canisius is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 15 Yale is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Wisconsin is sent to No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 St. Cloud State is sent to No. 4 Notre Dame’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Yale vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Minnesota State vs. 6 Boston College

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Notre Dame
12 Union vs. 5 Miami

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 8 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Niagara vs. 7 New Hampshire

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have one, Denver vs. North Dakota.

We swap Denver and Niagara.

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
15 Yale vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Minnesota State vs. 6 Boston College

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Notre Dame
12 Union vs. 5 Miami

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Niagara vs. 8 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Denver vs. 7 New Hampshire

Now we run through all of our criteria again, what makes the best tournament?

Attendance once again is my focus and what I think that committee’s focus will be. Without any strong attendance drawing teams in Providence, you have to ask:

How about bringing BC and Union to Providence?

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Yale vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Minnesota State vs. 8 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Notre Dame
10 Niagara vs. 5 Miami

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Union vs. 6 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Denver vs. 7 New Hampshire

We’ve created an intra-conference matchup which we can solve by swapping Niagara and Minnesota State.

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.):
15 Yale vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Niagara vs. 8 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio):
13 St. Cloud State vs. 4 Notre Dame
11 Minnesota State vs. 5 Miami

East Regional (Providence, R.I.):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Union vs. 6 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Denver vs. 7 New Hampshire

And there we have it. Our bracket.

There are our two scenarios, it’s time to see what happens in the CCHA championship game and what happens with the committee.

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