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Seven weeks out, and there’s a path to a good bracket for geography

2014012420 42 44125 Seven weeks out, and theres a path to a good bracket for geography

Brooks Bertsch and St. Cloud State could be headed back to the Xcel Energy Center, where they split games last weekend at the North Star College Cup (photo: Jim Rosvold).

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

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

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.

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 — 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 Jan. 28:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Quinnipiac
4t Union
4t Ferris State
6 St. Cloud State
7t Providence
7t Northeastern
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10t Michigan
10t Cornell
12 Notre Dame
13 Wisconsin
14t Minnesota-Duluth
14t Colgate
16 Clarkson
– 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: 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 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 4, Providence and Northeastern at 7, Michigan and Cornell at 10, and Minnesota-Duluth and Colgate 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 Quinnipiac
4 Union
5 Ferris State
6 St. Cloud State
7 Providence
8 Northeastern
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Michigan
11 Cornell
12 Notre Dame
13 Wisconsin
14 Minnesota-Duluth
15 Colgate
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union

No. 2 seeds: Ferris State, St Cloud State, Providence, Northeastern

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Michigan, Cornell, Notre Dame

No. 4 seeds: Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, 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 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Union 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 Northeastern is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Providence is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 3 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Ferris State is placed in No. 4 Union’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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 8 Northeastern’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Michigan is placed in No. 7 Providence’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Cornell is placed in No. 6 St. Cloud State’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Notre Dame 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 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 Minnesota-Duluth is sent to No. 3 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Wisconsin is sent to No. 4 Union’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Northeastern

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 7 Providence

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Cornell vs. 6 St. Cloud State

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have only one in Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Northeastern.

What is the best way to handle this one? We can swap Massachusetts-Lowell with either Notre Dame or Cornell. But what if we moved some stuff around?

Michigan to St. Paul, Massachusetts-Lowell to Bridgeport and Cornell to Worcester: How about that?

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 8 Northeastern

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Quinnipiac
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 St. Cloud State

OK, that is now done.

Let’s examine the bracket and see if there are any things that we would like to change.

I would love to get St. Cloud State to St. Paul. I think that’s a no-brainer of an idea. But how to accomplish that?

There’s no way of doing that without moving Lowell back West. What matchup makes more sense in St. Paul?

I think I want St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Quinnipiac
10 Michigan vs. 8 Northeastern

What else? How about swapping one matchup for a little bit of a geography boost for some teams.

Let’s match Cornell vs. Providence and Michigan vs. Northeastern.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

I think that does it for me. it looks as good as I can make it.

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 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Colgate vs. 2 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate

Out: Clarkson, Yale

Attendance woes?

None.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul)
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati)
15 Michigan vs. 4 Union
11 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

East Regional (Bridgeport)
14 Yale vs. 3 Quinnipiac
12 Clarkson vs. 6 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester)
13 Cornell vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

Interesting …

It’s almost a real nice geographic bracket. We’ll see what the coming weeks provide us.

Eight weeks out, and intraconference matchups cause a headache

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.

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 — 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 Jan. 21:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Quinnipiac
4t Union
4t Ferris state
6t Providence
6t Northeastern
8 St. Cloud State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Wisconsin
11 Notre Dame
12t Clarkson
12t Cornell
14 Yale
15t Michigan
15t Vermont
– 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: 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 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 4, Providence and Northeastern at 6, Clarkson and Cornell at 12, and Michigan and Vermont at 15.

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 Quinnipiac
4 Union
5 Ferris state
6 Providence
7 Northeastern
8 St. Cloud State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Wisconsin
11 Notre Dame
12 Clarkson
13 Cornell
14 Yale
15 Michigan
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union

No. 2 seeds: Ferris State, Providence, Northeastern, St Cloud State

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Clarkson

No. 4 seeds: Cornell, Yale, Michigan, 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 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Union 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 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Northeastern is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Providence is placed in No. 3 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Ferris State is placed in No. 4 Union’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 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 8 St. Cloud State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Wisconsin is placed in No. 7 Northeastern’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Notre Dame is placed in No. 6 Providence’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Clarkson 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.

But we have to place Yale first as the host in the East.

No. 14 Yale is sent to No. 3 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 16 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Cornell is sent to No. 4 Union’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Union
12 Clarkson vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Yale vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Notre Dame vs. 6 Providence

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

We have Yale vs. Quinnipiac, Cornell vs. Union and Notre Dame vs. Providence. As always, even though there are five teams from both Hockey East and ECAC Hockey, history has shown that the committee will try to avoid first-round intraconference matchups if it’s possible.

We can swap Notre Dame and Clarkson. That brings Notre Dame to the Midwest and Clarkson to the East, which is a good swap. Note that we can’t swap Lowell back, because that would create another Hockey East-Hockey East matchup.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Cornell vs. 4 Union
11 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Yale vs. 3 Quinnipiac
12 Clarkson vs. 6 Providence

Now we have a headache, or fun, whatever viewpoint you want to take it from.

The ECAC-ECAC matchups all occur in the 1 vs. 4 band. We have Minnesota, which must be in St. Paul and Yale, which must be in Bridgeport.

But because of conference, it means that Yale and Cornell have to face Minnesota and Boston College.

Or does it?

There are some glaring things to address with this, but let’s swap what we can first.

There’s only one, Cornell and Michigan.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Michigan vs. 4 Union
11 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
13 Cornell vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Yale vs. 3 Quinnipiac
12 Clarkson vs. 6 Providence

We still have that sticky situation where Yale is playing Quinnipiac. Can we avoid it?

BC and Quinnipiac can swap, but then we still have an ECAC-ECAC matchup. Quinnipiac and Union are in the same boat.

We can’t swap Mercyhurst and Yale. Nor can we swap much else. There’s a way to avoid intraconference matchups but it conflicts with so many objectives (protecting the No. 1 overall seed, giving No. 1 seeds regionals close to their school, etc.) that it’s hard to imagine the committee going in that direction.

So it looks like we’re stuck.

And stuck with a championship rematch in Bridgeport in round one. Wow!

So my bracket for the week:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Michigan vs. 4 Union
11 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
13 Cornell vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Yale vs. 3 Quinnipiac
12 Clarkson vs. 6 Providence

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 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati)
15 Michigan vs. 4 Union
11 Notre Dame vs. 5 Ferris State

East Regional (Bridgeport)
14 Yale vs. 3 Quinnipiac
12 Clarkson vs. 6 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester)
13 Cornell vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Notre Dame

Out: New Hampshire

Attendance woes?

None.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul)
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati)
15 Michigan vs. 3 Ferris State
10 Wisconsin vs. 6 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport)
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester)
14 Clarkson vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Northeastern

Interesting …

Juicy rematch of last year’s championship game in round one in Bridgeport. The state of Connecticut salivates over that one.

Nine weeks out, and we can get a good regional bracket

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.

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 — 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 intraconference 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 Jan. 14:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Ferris State
4 Quinnipiac
5 St. Cloud State
6t Union
6t Northeastern
8t Providence
8t Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Wisconsin
11 Cornell
12 Yale
13 New Hampshire
14t Clarkson
14t Michigan
16 Notre Dame
– 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: 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 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 Northeastern at 6, Providence and Massachusetts-Lowell at 8, and Clarkson and Michigan 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 Ferris State
4 Quinnipiac
5 St. Cloud State
6 Union
7 Northeastern
8 Providence
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Wisconsin
11 Cornell
12 Yale
13 New Hampshire
14 Clarkson
15 Michigan
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Ferris State, Quinnipiac

No. 2 seeds: St. Cloud State, Union, Northeastern, Providence

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Wisconsin, Cornell, Yale

No. 4 seeds: New Hampshire, Clarkson, Michigan, 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 Ferris State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intraconference matchups if possible.

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

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

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 Providence is placed in No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Northeastern is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Union is placed in No. 3 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 4 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 8 Providence’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Wisconsin is placed in No. 7 Northeastern’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Cornell is placed in No. 6 Union’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Yale is placed in No. 5 St. Cloud 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 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 Clarkson is sent to No. 3 Ferris State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 New Hampshire is sent to No. 4 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Providence

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Clarkson vs. 3 Ferris State
11 Cornell vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
10 Wisconsin vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 5 St. Cloud State

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

We have Cornell vs. Union and Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Providence.

We can swap Cornell with Wisconsin, an East and a West team to swap regions. Sounds good.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Providence

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Clarkson vs. 3 Ferris State
10 Wisconsin vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Now to solve Providence vs. Massachusetts-Lowell. Let’s see if we can once again bring a Western team back to the West and an Eastern team back to the East.

We can. Providence and St. Cloud State can swap. This will provide a great attendance boost as well for St. Paul.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Clarkson vs. 3 Ferris State
10 Wisconsin vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Providence

What else can we do?

We harped on attendance the last few years and making attendance a priority for regionals and swapping teams. We can do that once again here.

The obvious one is swapping Clarkson and Michigan.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Ferris State
10 Wisconsin vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Clarkson vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Northeastern

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Providence

Now that looks like a good bracket. Let’s look at the criteria when placing teams.

Attendance: Check. We have Minnesota and St. Cloud State in St. Paul; Michigan, Wisconsin and Ferris State in Cincinnati; and four ECAC-Hockey East matchups in the East. It works for me.

Protecting the No. 1 seed: Done.

No. 1 seeds geographically closest to home: Done.

I think we’re done here.

So that is it. My 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

West Regional (St. Paul)
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati)
15 Michigan vs. 3 Ferris State
10 Wisconsin vs. 6 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport)
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester)
14 Clarkson vs. 2 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 7 Northeastern

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Yale

Out: Vermont

Attendance woes?

None.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul)
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
11 Clarkson vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati)
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan vs. 5 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport)
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Northeastern vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester)
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
12 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

10 weeks out, and Hockey East has a strong presence in the bracket

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

Will my team make the NCAA tournament?

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.

I’m the only national prognosticator that has correctly predicted each of the last three brackets for the NCAA tournament, meaning that I have interpreted 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 will wind up come selection time.

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

This is the first 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.

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 — 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 intraconference 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 Jan. 8:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 St. Cloud State
4 Ferris State
5t Union
5t Quinnipiac
7t Providence
7t Massachusetts-Lowell
9t Michigan
9t Northeastern
11 Clarkson
12 Cornell
13t New Hampshire
13t Vermont
15 Wisconsin
16 Minnesota State
– Mercyhurst

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Mercyhurst
Big Ten: Michigan
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 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 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 Quinnipiac at 5, Providence and Massachusetts-Lowell at 7, Michigan and Northeastern at 9 and New Hampshire 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 St. Cloud State
4 Ferris State
5 Union
6 Quinnipiac
7 Providence
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Michigan
10 Northeastern
11 Clarkson
12 Cornell
13 New Hampshire
14 Vermont
15 Wisconsin
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, St. Cloud State, Ferris State

No. 2 seeds: Union, Quinnipiac, Providence, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Michigan, Northeastern, Clarkson, Cornell

No. 4 seeds: New Hampshire, Vermont, Wisconsin, 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 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Ferris State is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.

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 Providence is placed in No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 6 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Union is placed in No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Michigan is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Northeastern is placed in No. 7 Providence’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Clarkson is placed in No. 6 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Cornell is placed in No. 5 Union’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 Mercyhurst is sent to No. 1 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Wisconsin is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 Vermont is sent to No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 New Hampshire is sent to No. 4 Ferris State’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Clarkson vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
10 Northeastern vs. 7 Providence

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Cornell vs. 5 Union

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

We have Clarkson vs. Quinnipiac, Cornell vs. Union and Northeastern vs. Providence.

My first instinct is to swap Union and Providence. That will clear up two of the matchups.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Clarkson vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
10 Northeastern vs. 5 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

Now, because there are six Hockey East teams in the tournament, the committee could leave that first-round matchup alone. But history has shown that when the committee has an opportunity to avoid a first-round intraconference matchup, even from a conference that has five or more teams in the tournament, it will.

That still leaves us with Clarkson vs. Quinnipiac. It would be easy to just swap Quinnipiac with Massachusetts-Lowell.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
9 Michigan vs. 8 Quinnipiac

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Clarkson vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
10 Northeastern vs. 5 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

It looks pretty good actually.

But what else can we do? That Midwest Regional does not look good for attendance right now. How can we make it better?

The only real solutions are to bring Wisconsin or Michigan into the Midwest Regional. How do we do that? I think we have to swap matchups, i.e., Michigan-Quinnipiac moves to Cincinnati and Clarkson-Massachusetts-Lowell moves to St. Paul.

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
11 Clarkson vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
10 Northeastern vs. 5 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

A little better now, although St. Paul may suffer with Minnesota being the only Western draw there.

We can’t bring Wisconsin in there, as that would create an all-Big Ten matchup, and we can’t move Minnesota out of St. Paul. We could move Wisconsin to Cincinnati, but then we create an All-Hockey East matchup somewhere in that band, so that can’t be done.

The only other thing that would be great would be to bring Quinnipiac to Bridgeport. Can we do that? Let’s move Quinnipiac to Bridgeport. That, in turn, means that Cornell has to move out, and the only team left to play Quinnipiac is Northeastern.

Now Cornell can only play Providence, which means Union is the odd team out, and thus, gets moved to Cincinnati.

Our new brackets:

West Regional (St. Paul):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
11 Clarkson vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan vs. 5 Union

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
12 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Northeastern vs. 6 Quinnipiac

And that’s about as much maximization I can do to improve attendance at all sites.

So that is it. My 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

West Regional (St. Paul)
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Minnesota
11 Clarkson vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati)
14 Vermont vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan vs. 5 Union

East Regional (Bridgeport)
13 New Hampshire vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Northeastern vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester)
15 Wisconsin vs. 2 Boston College
12 Cornell vs. 7 Providence

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

Compared to last year’s NCAA tournament

In: Ferris State, Providence, Northeastern, Michigan, Cornell, Clarkson, Vermont, Mercyhurst

Out: Yale, Niagara, North Dakota, Notre Dame, Minnesota State, Miami, Canisius, Denver

Attendance woes?

Cincinnati and St. Paul.

Last week’s brackets

The 2013 NCAA tournament

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

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

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

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

Interesting …

It’s real early, so let’s see how this all shakes out. But, when we first started Bracketology last year on Jan. 15, only four of the 16 teams that were in that first bracket didn’t make the final tournament.

The bracket and analysis

The bracket was announced tonight and as predicted, it fell this way:

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

It was really quite simple, actually. Once you establish that you will move teams based on championship atmosphere, you have to continue that trend.

So it was most likely decided that Boston College would play Union, a matchup that could happen, and that it was most likely decided that the best place for that matchup would be in Providence.

Once that happened, everything else fell into line.

I couldn’t see the committee leaving the East Regional with a matchup of North Dakota-Niagara. Nor could I see a matchup of Boston College-Minnesota State in the West Regional. So I think that the committee had to realize that BC and Union would boost atmosphere and attendance in the East Regional, while North Dakota and Minnesota State would do that for the West and Midwest regionals.

Let me address one issue again that everyone talks about every year: the five-team conference rule.

There are six WCHA teams this year and readers keep asking, why don’t we invoke the five-team conference rule and have intraconference games?

I have always thought, and precedence guides me, that if you can avoid intraconference games in the first round, no matter how many teams from that one conference are in the tournament, then you bracket to avoid it. The only time when you have an intraconference game in the regional semifinals is when you cannot avoid it at all.

Enjoy the games next weekend and see you next year for more Bracketology!

With Notre Dame’s win, here’s our final prediction for the 2013 NCAA tournament

Notre Dame’s win over Michigan in the CCHA championship game gives Yale an at-large bid and keeps the Wolverines out of the tournament for the first time in 23 years.

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

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?

Here is the top 16 of the PairWise Rankings 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 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 vs. No. 1, No. 15 vs. 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 the committee’s focus will be. Without any strong attendance-drawing teams in Providence, you have to ask:

How about bringing Boston College 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.

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.

What I Believe: After Saturday afternoon

After this afternoon’s games, it’s boiled down to this:

Teams That Are Now In (14):

Quinnipiac
Minnesota
Massachusetts-Lowell
Miami
Notre Dame
Boston College
New Hampshire
North Dakota
Denver
Niagara
Minnesota State
Canisius/Mercyhurst
Brown/Union
Colorado College/Wisconsin

Teams That Must Win To Get In (2):
Boston University
Michigan

The Bubble (2):
St. Cloud State
Yale

Teams Eliminated This Afternoon (2):
Western Michigan
Ohio State

It all boils down to this:

How It Gets In:

How do the four remaining teams left for two spots get in?

St. Cloud State: Either BU or Michigan loses
Yale: Both BU and Michigan loses
BU: Win
Michigan: Win

What I Believe: Saturday morning

Here is What I Believe after Friday’s games.

Group A
Teams that are in (11):

Canisius/Mercyhurst winner
Brown/Union winner
Colorado College/Wisconsin winner
Quinnipiac
Minnesota
Miami
Boston College
Massachusetts-Lowell
North Dakota
New Hampshire
Denver

Group B
Teams that need to win the tournament to get in (9):

Ohio State
Michigan
Boston University
Canisius/Mercyhurst
Brown/Union
Colorado College/Wisconsin

Group C
Teams that are on the bubble but can also get in with losses (2):

Notre Dame (mathematically can still be eliminated by winning on Saturday but losing on Sunday)
Yale (a win on Saturday guarantees Yale’s at-large bid)

Group D
Teams that are on the bubble and waiting (4):

Niagara
Western Michigan
St. Cloud State
Minnesota State

Group E
Teams eliminated on Friday (4):

Robert Morris
Connecticut
Rensselaer
Providence

The cutoff line is now at 13, as 14-16 could be occupied by the automatic bids from Atlantic Hockey, ECAC Hockey and the WCHA.

The possible cutoff line still remains at 11, because all conferences can have autobids coming from outside the top 16 of the PWR.

The number of at-large bids left: 3-5

The number of No. 1 seeds left: 2

Quinnipiac is locked in at 1 and Minnesota at 2. If Miami and Massachusetts-Lowell win one game, they will lock up the other two No. 1 seeds. The only other teams left that can get to a No. 1 seed are Boston College and Notre Dame.

To sum it all up, there are six teams left to take between three and five spots. One of Notre Dame, Yale, Niagara, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan will definitely not get in. And there could be two more joining that team.

It’s now 15 – Atlantic Hockey and Niagara

What does Niagara’s loss mean? It means that the cutoff line now becomes 15. i.e., if you are in position 16 in the PWR, you are out of luck. That’s bad news for bubble teams like Union, Wisconsin, Boston University and Rensselaer.

So the 16th position will go to either Canisius, Connecticut or Mercyhurst. This also means that Robert Morris is now eliminated, as it could go no higher than 16 in the PWR.

As for Niagara, it is not out of the woods yet. It can receive an at-large bid, as Niagara will fall no lower than 15, but this all depends on whom gets autobids. So the Purple Eagles will sit and wait and root against all teams not currently in the Top 15 of the PWR.