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College Hockey:
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.

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  • Randy

    I think it is a great move. Teams should have the opportunity to meet more than once to decide their conference.

  • WoogLips4Ever

    Go Bulldogs! I think Mr. Connolly is the first Hilltopper ever to play in the final 4!

    • Tricky

      Close, but his brother won a national championship for one of the Massachusetts schools. I think it was two years ago.

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