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Three weeks out, and we can build a better West Regional

2012032518 27 30204 Three weeks out, and we can build a better West Regional

North Dakota and Minnesota played in the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn., in 2012 (photo: Jim Rosvold).

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

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

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

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

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

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

This is the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

Here are the facts:

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

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

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

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

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2014 pre-championship manual:

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

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Feb. 25:

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3t Union
3t Ferris State
5 St. Cloud State
6 Wisconsin
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 North Dakota
11t Cornell
11t Vermont
11t Colgate
14t Michigan
14t Notre Dame
16 Providence
– 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 3, and Cornell, Colgate and Vermont at 11 and Michigan and Notre Dame at 14.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3 Union
4 Ferris State
5 St. Cloud State
6 Wisconsin
7 Quinnipiac
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 North Dakota
11 Cornell
12 Vermont
13 Colgate
14 Michigan
15 Notre Dame
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

No. 2 seeds: St. Cloud State, Wisconsin, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Northeastern, North Dakota, Cornell, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Colgate, Michigan, Notre Dame, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Ferris State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Step four

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

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

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

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
11 Cornell vs. 6 Wisconsin

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

We could just swap Cornell and Northeastern.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 6 Wisconsin

It’s time to fine tune the brackets as I think the committee will do it. The first concern is attendance.

I see a real nice swap that will blow attendance out of the water. We swap Quinnipiac and Wisconsin.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

What else can we do? We can find a way for Notre Dame or Michigan to be in Cincinnati.

We can’t put Colgate in Bridgeport because of Union, and we can’t move Mercyhurst because we want to preserve the 1 vs. 16 matchup with Boston College and Mercyhurst. And we can put Colgate in St. Paul because we already have Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin in St. Paul. So the fourth team really is moot at this point.

So Notre Dame or Michigan has to go to Bridgeport, the other to Cincinnati and Colgate to St. Paul.

So how?

We try to preserve the bracket integrity as much as we can. So the lowest seed gets the highest seed and the other matchup falls into place.

That means 14 plays 4 and 15 plays 3.

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Notre Dame vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

I am quite good with these brackets.

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):
13 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 North Dakota vs. 6 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Michigan vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
11 Cornell vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Notre Dame vs. 3 Union
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Colgate

Out: Maine

Attendance woes?

No issues for me.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Cornell vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 8 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

Is anyone else drooling at that West Regional?

Four weeks out, and either Michigan or North Dakota has to move East

mich f Four weeks out, and either Michigan or North Dakota has to move East

Michigan lost twice at Minnesota last weekend but is still in line for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament (photo: Michelle Bishop).

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

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

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

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

The criteria are tweaked every so often — every so often being every year lately — in order to give what the committee believes will be the best tournament.

There were some major changes this year to the selection criteria. In short:

• PairWise comparisons are now done against all teams. There is no cutoff for the amount of teams, so the most PWR comparison wins that a team can have is 58 since there are 59 teams.

• There is now a home and away wins weighting applied to the Ratings Percentage Index. In calculation of the index, wins on the road and losses at home have a weighting factor of 1.2. Wins at home and losses on the road have a weighting factor of 0.8. All neutral-site games have a weighting factor of 1.0. A tie is one-half of a win and one-half of a loss, so home/road ties are treated accordingly for the teams involved.

• There is a quality wins bonus for wins against teams in the top 20 of the RPI. A win against the No. 1 team in the RPI is worth 0.05 points, and is scaled down by 0.0025 points for each place until you reach No. 20, where a bonus of 0.0025 points will be given.

The changes are a little complicated, so it is best to check out our FAQ.

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

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

This is the next installment of our Bracketology, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 23.

Here are the facts:

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

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

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Yale in Bridgeport, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

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

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2014 pre-championship manual:

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

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Feb. 18:

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3t Union
3t St. Cloud State
5 Ferris State
6 Quinnipiac
7 Wisconsin
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 Michigan
11t Maine
11t North Dakota
11t Vermont
14 Cornell
15 Notre Dame
16t Minnesota-Duluth
16t Colgate
– 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 St. Cloud State at 3, and Maine, North Dakota and Vermont at 11.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3 Union
4 St. Cloud State
5 Ferris State
6 Quinnipiac
7 Wisconsin
8 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Northeastern
10 Michigan
11 Maine
12 North Dakota
13 Vermont
14 Cornell
15 Notre Dame
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

No. 2 seeds: Ferris State, Quinnipiac, Wisconsin, Massachusetts-Lowell

No. 3 seeds: Northeastern, Michigan, Maine, North Dakota

No. 4 seeds: Vermont, Cornell, Notre Dame, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Step four

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

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

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

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 1 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Wisconsin is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West 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 Northeastern is placed in No. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Michigan is placed in No. 7 Wisconsin’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Maine is placed in No. 6 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 North Dakota 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 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Notre Dame is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Cornell is sent to No. 3 Union’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Vermont is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Vermont vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Cornell vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have a few in Michigan vs. Wisconsin, Cornell vs. Union and Northeastern vs. Massachusetts-Lowell.

Swapping Cornell with Vermont will solve that matchup.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Northeastern vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Now we can make a straight switch of Michigan and Northeastern to fix that matchup.

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Cornell vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Looking at this, I really don’t want to take Michigan away from a western regional.

But I also don’t want to take North Dakota away from a western regional.

What to do?

It’s one or the other. So I will preserve bracket integrity and go this way.

Now to address attendance issues. What can I do?

I would like a little more attendance in Cincinnati, so I think I can swap Cornell and Notre Dame, just to bring some more people to Cincinnati.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Cornell vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

I like that. 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):
14 Cornell vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Northeastern vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 St. Cloud State
12 North Dakota vs. 8 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
10 Michigan vs. 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
13 Vermont vs. 3 Union
11 Maine vs. 6 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

Hockey East — 6
ECAC Hockey — 3
Big Ten — 3
NCHC — 2
Atlantic Hockey — 1
WCHA — 1

On the move

In: North Dakota, Notre Dame, Maine

Out: Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, Providence

Attendance woes?

No issues for me.

Last week’s brackets

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Interesting …

Hockey East is ruling the roost with six teams, but down the stretch here, as teams play each other, what is going to happen? There are other teams on the bubble, and some just need to get hot.

Five weeks out, and a lot of moves make for good story lines

2014012520 43 4018 Five weeks out, and a lot of moves make for good story lines

Kyle Rau and Minnesota tied Austin Farley and Minnesota-Duluth 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 Feb. 11:

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3t Union
3t Ferris State
5 Quinnipiac
6 Massachusetts-Lowell
7 Wisconsin
8 St. Cloud State
9 Cornell
10t Michigan
10t Northeastern
12 Vermont
13 Minnesota-Duluth
14 Colgate
15 Providence
16t Maine
16t Yale
– 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 3, and Michigan and Northeastern at 10.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Boston College
2 Minnesota
3 Union
4 Ferris State
5 Quinnipiac
6 Massachusetts-Lowell
7 Wisconsin
8 St. Cloud State
9 Cornell
10 Michigan
11 Northeastern
12 Vermont
13 Minnesota-Duluth
14 Colgate
15 Providence
16 Mercyhurst

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

No. 2 seeds: Quinnipiac, Massachusetts-Lowell, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State

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

No. 4 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, Providence, Mercyhurst

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

Minnesota, as a host school, is placed first.

No. 2 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 1 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Union is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Ferris State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Step four

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

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

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

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Providence vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 Colgate vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have a few in Michigan vs. Wisconsin, Colgate vs. Union and Northeastern vs. Massachusetts-Lowell.

We have to break those up. Let’s take the Colgate vs. Union matchup first and it seems pretty simple: We just swap Colgate and Providence.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 8 St. Cloud State

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Now we look at Northeastern and Lowell. We could swap Northeastern with Cornell. But why don’t we swap St. Cloud with Lowell instead?

You give a higher seed a better geographic draw in this case, so I sort of like it a little better.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Now I have to break up Michigan and Wisconsin.

We swap Michigan and Vermont. Simple.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 8 St. Cloud State

So that’s it, right? We have our bracket.

Well, let’s see where we can fine-tune some things.

For example, how about we look at attendance? (Yes, I know this always happens, but follow along.)

If we have the opportunity to bring St. Cloud State to the West and Quinnipiac to the East, why don’t we do it? We swap.

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Anything else?

Well, we have two Minnesota teams in Cincinnati and only one in St. Paul. So should we try to get one of the those teams to St. Paul? Either St. Cloud State or Minnesota-Duluth?

If you want to bring St. Cloud State to St. Paul, that means you also bring Michigan to St. Paul, because Michigan can’t play Wisconsin and you would be swapping St. Cloud State with Wisconsin.

So if you did that, the bracket would look like this:

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Colgate vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Ferris State
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

But you could also swap Colgate and Minnesota-Duluth as the other option.

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Which of the two situations is more attractive to the ticket buyer in both St. Paul and Cincinnati?

I would think the second option. In the second option, you have a first-round matchup of two Minnesota teams, plus old rivals Wisconsin in the barn. You also have Michigan in Ohio, which is a bigger plus for attendance.

For option one, it’s not as attractive attendance-wise to me.

Thus, I go with option two as my final bracket.

West Regional (St. Paul):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

I’ve swapped and played with this as much as possible, but also within all of the rules. And I’m quite happy with the result.

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):
13 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Vermont vs. 7 Wisconsin

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Colgate vs. 4 Ferris State
10 Michigan vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Mercyhurst vs. 1 Boston College
9 Cornell vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
15 Providence vs. 3 Union
11 Northeastern vs. 5 Quinnipiac

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Vermont, Colgate

Out: New Hampshire, North Dakota

Attendance woes?

No issues for me.

Last week’s brackets

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

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 North Dakota vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 New Hampshire vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Providence vs. 6 Cornell

Interesting …

Some great story lines this week. Minnesota and Wisconsin in the same barn out West, and a great rematch of the North Star College Cup. Michigan in Ohio. Nate Leaman still on track to face his former team in the East, plus the top two teams in ECAC Hockey there. And in the Northeast, the top two teams in Hockey East as well. There are so many great stories with this week’s results.

Six weeks out, and this bracket doesn’t need much work

northdakotafront Six weeks out, and this bracket doesnt need much work

North Dakota would be the last at-large team in the NCAA tournament with this week’s PairWise Rankings (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

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 Feb. 4:

1 Minnesota
2 Boston College
3 Quinnipiac
4t Union
4t Ferris State
6 Cornell
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8t Michigan
8t Northeastern
10 St. Cloud State
11t Providence
11t Minnesota-Duluth
13 Wisconsin
14 New Hampshire
15 North Dakota
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 Ferris State at 4, Michigan and Northeastern at 8, and Minnesota-Duluth and Providence 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 Quinnipiac
4 Union
5 Ferris State
6 Cornell
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Michigan
9 Northeastern
10 St. Cloud State
11 Providence
12 Minnesota-Duluth
13 Wisconsin
14 New Hampshire
15 North Dakota
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, Cornell, Massachusetts-Lowell, Michigan

No. 3 seeds: Northeastern, St. Cloud State, Providence, Minnesota-Duluth

No. 4 seeds: Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Dakota, 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 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 Michigan 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 Cornell 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 Northeastern is placed in No. 8 Michigan’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 6 Cornell’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Minnesota-Duluth 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 North Dakota is sent to No. 2 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 14 New Hampshire 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 Northeastern vs. 8 Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 North Dakota vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 New Hampshire vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Providence vs. 6 Cornell

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have none.

What? None at all? That’s correct, none at all.

So that’s it, right? We have our bracket.

Well, let’s see where we can fine-tune some things.

For example, how about we look at attendance? (Yes, I know this always happens, but follow along.)

Where can we improve? We can’t add another eastern team in Worcester unless we swap North Dakota and Mercyhurst. But that means we’re not protecting our overall No. 1 seed in Minnesota, so we don’t do that.

Our East Regional is perfect. I don’t think we need to change that.

Can we improve the West or Midwest Regionals? We can swap Michigan and Ferris State, but does that really help?

We can also swap Minnesota-Duluth and Northeastern, to boost the attendance at St. Paul, but does that really make a difference?

So in conclusion, I don’t think we touch this bracket at all.

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 Northeastern vs. 8 Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Union
12 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 5 Ferris State

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
15 North Dakota vs. 2 Boston College
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport):
14 New Hampshire vs. 3 Quinnipiac
11 Providence vs. 6 Cornell

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: New Hampshire, North Dakota

Out: Clarkson, Notre Dame

Attendance woes?

Some uneasiness in Cincinnati.

Last 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

Interesting …

Still some time to go, but things are heating up.

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.

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