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After the WCHA Quarterfinals

So how do I see it now?

It shakes out quite well…

Providence
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Minnesota State vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Grand Rapids
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Notre Dame vs. 8 St. Cloud State

Toledo
13 Denver vs. 3 Miami
11 North Dakota vs. 7 Niagara

Manchester
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
9 New Hampshire vs. 5 Yale

Fallout Friday is coming up folks!

Just days out, and there’s quite a pack on the bubble

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.

This will be the last Bracketology until we make our final prediction as to what the bracket will look like on Sunday.

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 — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — Toledo, Ohio; West — Grand Rapids, Mich.)

• A host institution which is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host, and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Bowling Green in Toledo and Michigan in Grand Rapids.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, per a meeting of the championship committee:

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

• The top four teams as ranked by the committee are the four No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals.

• Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference tournament’s highest remaining seed (through all games of March 19, 2013):

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Miami
4 Boston College
5 Yale
6t Massachusetts-Lowell
6t North Dakota
8 New Hampshire
9t Notre Dame
9t Minnesota State
9t Niagara
12 St. Cloud State
13 Denver
14 Western Michigan
15 Union
16t Wisconsin
16t Providence
16t Boston University
16t Rensselaer
16t Alaska

Here are the current conference highest remaining seeds:

Atlantic Hockey: Niagara
CCHA: Miami
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
WCHA: St. Cloud 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.

• I will be using the highest remaining seed of each conference’s tournament as 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 how the teams rank in the Ratings Percentage Index, and add in any highest remaining conference seeds that are not currently in the top 16. There are none.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Massachusetts-Lowell and North Dakota at 6, Notre Dame, Minnesota State and Niagara at 9, and the huge logjam at 16.

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo.
No. 4 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.

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 it is a host school, in which case it must be assigned to its home regional).

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

But we must assign New Hampshire, a host school, first.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 New Hampshire is placed in No. 4 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 5 Yale is placed in No. 3 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Notre Dame is placed in No. 8 New Hampshire’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Minnesota State is placed in No. 7 North Dakota’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Niagara is placed in No. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 12 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 5 Yale’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 Wisconsin is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 15 Union is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Western Michigan is sent to No. 3 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Denver is sent to No. 4 Boston College’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
15 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Niagara vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
14 Western Michigan vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Yale

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Denver vs. 4 Boston College
9 Notre Dame vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Minnesota State vs. 7 North Dakota

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have Western Michigan vs. Miami and Minnesota State vs. North Dakota.

Let’s take care of Western Michigan vs. Miami first.

We would like to see Western Michigan in Grand Rapids. We can do that. We would like to see Union in Manchester. We can do that.

So let’s swap, pushing Denver to Toledo to allow the move.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Niagara vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Denver vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Yale

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
9 Notre Dame vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Minnesota State vs. 7 North Dakota

Now we move onto Minnesota State vs. North Dakota.

I have some things to play with here, except that I can’t move New Hampshire.

How about a straight swap of North Dakota and Massachusetts-Lowell?

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Niagara vs. 7 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Denver vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Yale

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
9 Notre Dame vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Minnesota State vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

That solves the intra-conference matchup.

Now let’s move onto attendance.

Notre Dame to Grand Rapids would be nice. Yale coming east would be nice, but that can’t happen.

But we can swap Notre Dame with Niagara.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Denver vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Yale

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
11 Niagara vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Minnesota State vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

How about we make one more change: swap Minnesota State and Niagara.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Denver vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Yale

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
10 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
11 Niagara vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

That looks good to me. So that is it. My bracket for the week.

See you here over the weekend for the final Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

Grand Rapids
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Notre Dame vs. 7 North Dakota

Toledo
13 Denver vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Yale

Manchester
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
10 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

Providence
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
11 Niagara vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Conference breakdowns

WCHA — 6
ECAC — 3
CCHA — 3
HEA — 3
AHA — 1

On the move

In: Wisconsin
Out: Rensselaer

Attendance woes?

I like it.

Last week’s brackets

Grand Rapids
16 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 6 Denver

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
11 Yale vs. 5 North Dakota

Manchester
14 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

Providence
15 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Boston College

What I believe

Here’s the quick take on what I believe as we head into conference championship weekend. More to come as this week progresses.

Win to get in (7): These are teams that must win the tournament to get in. Even one win can’t help these teams.

Mercyhurst, Canisius, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio State, Colorado College, Brown

On the bubble and playing (9): Teams that are on the bubble, that may or may not make it in depending on results of its games or other games. Of course, a tournament championship gets these teams in.

Yale, Notre Dame, Minnesota State, Niagara, St. Cloud State, Union, Wisconsin, Providence, Boston University

On the bubble and waiting (5): Teams that are on the bubble, that may or may not make it, but are depending on results from other games as it is not playing.

Denver, Western Michigan, Rensselaer, Alaska, Robert Morris

Teams that are in (7): Teams will be in the NCAA tournament regardless of this weekend’s results.

Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Miami, Boston College, Massachusetts-Lowell, North Dakota, New Hampshire

So to summarize, I believe that there are seven bids already taken. That means that there are nine spots left for 21 teams.

PairWise Predictor: What are the NCAA playoff possibilities?

Once again, USCHO.com’s PairWise Predictor is live.

What’s the PairWise Predictor? It’s your opportunity to test out your choices for winners in next weekend’s five conference tournaments to see how they affect the PairWise Rankings.

You can find out which teams are in no matter what, which ones are definitely out, and which ones need a lot of help — or some weird results — to make it into the tournament.

Can you get more than five teams from one conference into the NCAAs? Is this the year Atlantic Hockey sends two to the big dance? Are Quinnipiac and Minnesota locks as No. 1 regional seeds? Give your match-ups a shot and let us know in the comments area below what odd scenarios you find.

Please be sure to check back all week as our resident bracketologist Jayson Moy and the rest of the USCHO.com staff adds its thoughts about who can make it in and what they need to do to get there.

 

After the results of March 16

An interesting Saturday of games saw some teams make a nice move.

Notre Dame made a nice move, but mainly based on RPI because of winning, not because of Michigan moving into TUC range. The Irish, though, did pick up comparison wins over Rensselaer and Boston University because of adding four wins against Michigan.

Colorado College is back, not good news for Wisconsin. Boston University disposed of Merrimack — good for BU, but also bad for BU as we mentioned before.

We’ll know a lot about who is on the bubble after Sunday night. Depending on the results, it could be just a few teams fighting for a spot or two. Who will live to fight another day and help its chances to the NCAA tournament?

Let’s take a quick look at Sunday’s games.

Mercyhurst at Holy Cross: Both teams have to win it to get in. I think Mercyhurst is too far down the RPI rung to make it as a TUC at the moment. Holy Cross might hang in as a TUC, but it needs to win it all also. With Air Force dropping out, Niagara is most likely not going to reach 10 TUC games.

Michigan State at Miami: Miami is locked into the tournament. As what seed, though? Michigan State is looking to continue as Cinderella.

Ferris State at Ohio State: Both teams need to win it. Ohio State may drop as a TUC with a loss. Ferris will stay a TUC.

Brown at Rensselaer: A loss by the Engineers and I think their season might be done. Brown needs to win it all to get in. This game impacts the bubble greatly.

Cornell at Quinnipiac: A loss by Quinnipiac will not loosen up a No. 1 seed. It’s just a matter of whether that loss would have Quinnipiac loss the overall No. 1. Cornell needs to win to get in.

New Hampshire at Providence: UNH righted the ship a little bit with the win on Saturday. Providence needs to win to get in. New Hampshire is hanging on right now, but might be safe if it loses.

Nebraska-Omaha at Minnesota State: Minnesota State still has a great shot to get in with a loss. UNO still might drop as a TUC, impacting some teams.

Michigan Tech at North Dakota: MTU needs to win to get in.

Colorado College at Denver:  Did the win on Saturday cement CC as a TUC? If so, that impacts Wisconsin on the bubble.

So, how do I see it right now?

Providence
13 Niagara vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Minnesota State vs. 5 Yale

Grand Rapids
14 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
11 St. Cloud State vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Toledo
16 Rensselaer vs. 3 Miami
9 Notre Dame vs. 8 North Dakota

Manchester
15 Union vs. 4 Boston College
10 Denver vs. 7 New Hampshire

See you on Wednesday for the last weekly Bracketology before Championship Weekend.

After the results of March 15

First things is first. For those of you looking at the PWR and the RPI, you will see that Colorado College is at .5000 in the RPI, but it is not a TUC. Why? The actual RPI is .49996, so rounding up, it’s .5000.

It’s important, why? Ask Wisconsin, you’ll see later.

It’s real simple this time of year. If you’re on the bubble, you must win to keep your standing or move up. If you lose, you move down.

On the losing side, no one knows this better than Rensselaer. A loss, you move down. The Engineers lost and went down.

On the winning side, you’re Union so you know what happens. Union wins, the Dutchmen move up.

We mentioned in the column this past week that Boston University has a double-edged sword. Defeat Merrimack, but watch your TUC record go down because Merrimack would drop as a TUC. That’s exactly what happened on Friday night.

What to watch for on Saturday night? Ohio State is right at .5000 in the RPI, Nebraska-Omaha is on the precipice of falling out at .5015 and Holy Cross is at .5025 and Air Force at .5022. Should Nebraska-Omaha fall out and Colorado College does not become a TUC once again, that negates a lot of things for Wisconsin, since it was 2-0 against Nebraska-Omaha, but 0-2 against CC.

Ohio State falling out would benefit Notre Dame. And a Holy Cross and Air Force loss could see those two teams falling out of TUC range.

Then you have Michigan at .4995 and Connecticut at .4990. There is some impact there on the PWR also.

So Saturday is an interesting night all around.

Here’s what I think it looks like right now, and let me tell you, it’s carnage in the brackets.

Providence
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 6 Boston College

Grand Rapids
13 Western Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota
9 Yale vs. 7 Minnesota State

Toledo
14 Union vs. 3 Miami
11 Niagara vs. 5 North Dakota

Manchester
15 Notre Dame vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 New Hampshire vs. 8 Denver

One week out, and the RPI cutoff is making it interesting

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.

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced.

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

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — Toledo, Ohio; West — Grand Rapids, Mich.)

• A host institution which is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host, and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Bowling Green in Toledo and Michigan in Grand Rapids.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, per a meeting of the championship committee:

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

• The top four teams as ranked by the committee are the four No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals.

• Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the No. 1 seeds in the conference tournaments (through all games of March 12, 2013):

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Miami
4 Massachusetts-Lowell
5t North Dakota
5t Denver
5t Boston College
8 New Hampshire
9 Minnesota State
10t Western Michigan
10t Yale
10t St. Cloud State
13t Niagara
13t Rensselaer
15 Notre Dame
16t Union
16t Boston University

Here are the top remaining seeds in the conference tournaments:

Atlantic Hockey: Niagara
CCHA: Miami
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
WCHA: St. Cloud 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.

• I will be using the top remaining seed of each conference’s tournament as 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 how the teams rank in the Ratings Percentage Index, and add in any top remaining seeds in the conference tournaments that are not currently in the top 16. There are none.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of North Dakota, Denver and Boston College at 5, Western Michigan, Yale and St. Cloud State at 10, Niagara and Rensselaer at 13 and Union and Boston University at 16.

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 Miami
4 Massachusetts-Lowell
5 North Dakota
6 Denver
7 Boston College
8 New Hampshire
9 Minnesota State
10 Western Michigan
11 Yale
12 St. Cloud State
13 Niagara
14 Rensselaer
15 Notre Dame
16 Union

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo.
No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.

Step four

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

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

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

But, we must assign New Hampshire, a host team, first.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 New Hampshire is placed in No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Boston College is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Denver is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 5 North Dakota is placed in No. 3 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

No. 9 Minnesota State is placed in No. 8 New Hampshire’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Western Michigan is placed in No. 7 Boston College’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Yale is placed in No. 6 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 12 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 5 North Dakota’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 Union is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 15 Notre Dame is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Rensselaer is sent to No. 3 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Niagara is sent to No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Yale vs. 6 Denver

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
14 Rensselaer vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Niagara vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Union vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Western Michigan vs. 7 Boston College

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have St. Cloud State vs. North Dakota and Union vs. Quinnipiac.

Let’s take care of Union vs. Quinnipiac first. We swap Union with Notre Dame.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
16 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Yale vs. 6 Denver

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
14 Rensselaer vs. 3 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Niagara vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
15 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Western Michigan vs. 7 Boston College

Now we take care of St. Cloud State vs. North Dakota.

We can only swap St. Cloud with Western Michigan.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
16 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Yale vs. 6 Denver

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
14 Rensselaer vs. 3 Miami
10 Western Michigan vs. 5 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Niagara vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
15 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Boston College

Let’s now see how to maximize attendance while keeping bracket integrity. Now remember, bracket integrity overall at each regional is thrown out of whack because of New Hampshire having to be placed in Manchester. So we do our best to keep bracket integrity within the 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 matchups. The first round keeps the integrity as much as possible; the second round, we don’t look at so much anymore.

We’ve said it all along, we would like to see Western Michigan in Grand Rapids. We can do that by swapping Yale and Western Michigan without creating an intraconference matchup. In fact, this swap makes bracket integrity in the second and third bands better.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
16 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 6 Denver

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
14 Rensselaer vs. 3 Miami
11 Yale vs. 5 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Niagara vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
15 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Boston College

Any other swaps? Just one more. Niagara and Rensselaer, which makes sense because of geography and possible attendance.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
16 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 6 Denver

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
11 Yale vs. 5 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
15 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Boston College

That looks good to me.

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

Grand Rapids
16 Union vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 6 Denver

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
11 Yale vs. 5 North Dakota

Manchester
14 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 8 New Hampshire

Providence
15 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Boston College

Conference breakdowns

WCHA — 5
ECAC — 4
CCHA — 3
HEA — 3
AHA — 1

On the move

In: Union
Out: Alaska

Attendance woes?

I like it.

Last week’s brackets

Grand Rapids
14 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Western Michigan vs. 7 North Dakota

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
12 Yale vs. 8 Minnesota State

Manchester
15 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 St. Cloud State vs. 5 New Hampshire

Providence
16 Alaska vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 6 Boston College

Tidbits

Alabama-Hunstville, Penn State, Sacred Heart, Army, Bentley, American International, Alaska, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, Princeton, Clarkson, Colgate, Harvard, Massachusetts and Northeastern, thanks for a great season. We’ll see you next year.

Let’s look at the RPI at the current moment. The .5000 cutoff line is certainly very interesting. Two teams in particular could be of concern to teams that are fighting for the bubble. Those two teams are Merrimack and Colorado College.

Merrimack (.5018) faces Boston University this weekend and to say it’s huge for both teams is an understatement. BU is tied for 16th in the PWR. The Terriers are losing some comparisons based upon RPI. Some of those are a huge hill to climb — e.g. Western Michigan, Yale, Niagara — but there are some within reach of an RPI comparison switch. Rensselaer, Wisconsin and Dartmouth are three of them. So winning games this weekend and then rooting against Rensselaer, Wisconsin and Dartmouth is of utmost importance for Boston University.

But there’s a rub, as there always is.

Two Merrimack losses could possibly knock Merrimack out as a TUC. If that happens, what’s the impact?

BU is 3-0 against Merrimack. Merrimack dropping would have the Terriers lose three TUC wins, bringing BU to 7-9-1 against TUCs. Thus, you see the problem.

Our other team to watch is Colorado College. I mentioned that Colorado College dropping out as a TUC helped Wisconsin on Friday night. Then when the Tigers came back in, it wiped those gains for Wisconsin out. We’re in the same boat once again.

Should CC lose two this weekend at Denver, what happens?

It would help Wisconsin while taking TUC wins away from Massachusetts-Lowell (0-1), Denver (potential 1-4-1), St. Cloud (1-3) and Yale (0-1).

Nebraska-Omaha and Ohio State are also two other teams to watch here in terms of RPI should both teams lose their series in two games.

On the other side of the RPI wall is Connecticut (.4951), Michigan (.4946) and Bowling Green (.4930).

Potential bubble teams that have played Connecticut are Niagara (2-0 versus Connecticut), Union (0-0-1), Air Force (0-2), Minnesota State (1-0) and Robert Morris (1-1). For Connecticut to make it as a TUC, Robert Morris would be eliminated as they play each other. It has potential impact for Niagara as well, as it may bring Niagara to 10 TUC games played.

Michigan has only played bubble teams in Western Michigan and Notre Dame. WMU is 3-1 against Michigan and Notre Dame is 2-2. Should WMU lose to Michigan in the series in two games, that would be 3-3 for WMU, bringing WMU to 10-8-1 against TUCs, and should Michigan move back over .5000.

Bubble teams that have played Bowling Green are Union (1-0 against BG), Niagara (0-1-1) and Western Michigan (2-1-1). Let’s not forget Notre Dame, which is 3-1 against the Falcons. But let’s also not forget that if Bowling Green becomes a TUC, that would mean it would have to beat Notre Dame in the series, which in turn would knock Notre Dame off the bubble and out of the tournament in all likelihood.

And finally, let’s look at matchups between TUCs in the playoffs.

Ferris State vs. Ohio State is one, but the impact is not that great on the overall race. Realistically, these two teams have to win the CCHA tournament to get in.

All four matchups in ECAC Hockey are between TUCs.

• Cornell vs. Quinnipiac. Cornell realistically has to win to get in. A 2-0 win here for Quinnipiac might keep Cornell a TUC. In that case, that would only help solidify Quinnipiac’s No. 1 overall seed.

• Brown vs. Rensselaer. Brown also has to win to get in. A 2-0 series win for Rensselaer might keep Brown a TUC. That only helps Rensselaer’s bid for an at-large should it not win the tournament.

• Dartmouth vs. Union. The loser stays home until next season. A sweep by either team will help, but wins next week for the winner of the series will be the bigger indicator.

• St. Lawrence vs. Yale. SLU will stay a TUC even with a sweep. A Yale sweep solidifies Yale’s at-large bid. SLU most likely needs to win it all.

And here’s a look at the implications from some series in Hockey East and the WCHA:

• New Hampshire vs. Providence. Providence’s TUC record is not strong and realistically Providence needs to win it. A sweep by Providence won’t rule out New Hampshire at all. The RPI is high enough and the TUC line might still be good enough.

• Nebraska-Omaha vs. Minnesota State. A sweep of UNO by Minnesota State while keeping UNO a TUC benefits Minnesota State greatly. UNO dropping as a TUC would hurt Notre Dame (1-0), Wisconsin (2-0) and North Dakota (2-0).

After the results of March 9

Alaska’s win keeps it alive, Sunday’s game will be interesting for Alaska. Colorado College’s win makes it a TUC once more, helping Mass.-Lowell, St. Cloud, Denver and Yale. At the same time hurting Wisconsin.

Here we go, here’s how I see it after Saturday’s games.

Providence
16 Notre Dame vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Boston College

Grand Rapids
15 Boston University vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 8 Denver

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
11 Yale vs. 7 North Dakota

Manchester
14 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
9 Minnesota State vs. 6 New Hampshire

After the results of March 8

How do I see it right now?

Providence
16 Wisconsin vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Boston College vs. 8 Denver

Grand Rapids
15 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
12 Western Michigan vs. 6 St. Cloud State

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
11 Minnesota State vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

Manchester
14 Rensselaer vs. 4 North Dakota
10 Yale vs. 5 New Hampshire

Some changes to talk about real quickly.

Wisconsin, where did you come from? Northern Michigan and Colorado College dropping as TUCs helped Wisconsin lose four TUC losses, thus helping to turn at least the comparisons with Minnesota State (who’s loss to North Dakota also helped), Robert Morris, Providence and Cornell.

In addition, Notre Dame is hurt by losing two wins as well, and Notre Dame’s TUC record is already pretty bad.

Alaska. That loss last night hurt.

Boston College. That tie hurt last night. The Eagles lost comparisons based on RPI, because of the tie.

Teams that are close to the bubble that can kiss their seasons goodbye with a loss on Saturday night — Alaska and Dartmouth.

We’re getting closer and closer…

Two weeks out, and attendance, bracket integrity fall in line

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.

We’ll keep bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced.

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

Here are the facts:

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

• There are four regional sites (East — Providence, R.I.; Northeast — Manchester, N.H.; Midwest — Toledo, Ohio; West — Grand Rapids, Mich.)

• A host institution which is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host, and cannot be moved. There are four host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Bowling Green in Toledo and Michigan in Grand Rapids.

Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, per a meeting of the championship committee:

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

• The top four teams as ranked by the committee are the four No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals.

• Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

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

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

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

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders (through all games of March 5, 2013):

1 Quinnipiac
2 Minnesota
3 Miami
4t Massachusetts-Lowell
4t New Hampshire
4t Boston College
7 North Dakota
8t Minnesota State
8t Denver
10t St. Cloud State
10t Western Michigan
12 Yale
13 Niagara
14t Notre Dame
14t Rensselaer
16 Alaska

Here are the current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Niagara
CCHA: Miami
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
WCHA: St. Cloud 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.

• Before the conference playoffs start, I’ll use winning percentage, not points accumulated, to determine who the current leader in each conference is. Once the playoffs start, I’ll use the top remaining seed. 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 how the teams rank in the Ratings Percentage Index, and add in any current league leaders that are not currently in the top 16. There are none.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Massachusetts-Lowell, New Hampshire and Boston College at 4; Minnesota State and Denver at 8; St. Cloud State and Western Michigan at 10; and Notre Dame and Rensselaer at 14.

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 Miami
4 Massachusetts-Lowell
5 New Hampshire
6 Boston College
7 North Dakota
8 Minnesota State
9 Denver
10 St. Cloud State
11 Western Michigan
12 Yale
13 Niagara
14 Notre Dame
15 Rensselaer
16 Alaska

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo.
No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.

Step four

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

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

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

But, we must assign New Hampshire, a host school, first.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 5 New Hampshire is placed in No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 8 Minnesota State is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Boston College is placed in No. 3 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 3 seeds

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

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

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Alaska is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 15 Rensselaer is sent to No. 2 Minnesota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Notre Dame is sent to No. 3 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Niagara is sent to No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
15 Rensselaer vs. 2 Minnesota
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
14 Notre Dame vs. 3 Miami
11 Western Michigan vs. 6 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Niagara vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
12 Yale vs. 5 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Alaska vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 8 Minnesota State

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have St. Cloud State vs. North Dakota, Notre Dame vs. Miami and Denver vs. Minnesota State.

Let’s take care of Notre Dame vs. Miami first. What’s the best way to arrange this bracketing? Let’s go back to our method of looking at all the possible matchups between the first band and the fourth band.

We protect the overall No. 1 seed, thus we keep the matchup of Alaska vs. Quinnipiac.

And in addition, we keep the No. 1 seeds where they fall for geography. Thus, we can only move around the fourth band.

Looking at the three teams left, Niagara, Notre Dame and Rensselaer, it seems to make sense to me to send these teams to the closest geographic sites.

Thus Niagara goes to Toledo, Notre Dame to Grand Rapids and Rensselaer to Manchester. Here, the matchups become Niagara vs. Miami, Notre Dame vs. Minnesota and Rensselaer vs. Massachusetts-Lowell. That all works very nicely.

So we make that move.

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
14 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 St. Cloud State vs. 7 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
11 Western Michigan vs. 6 Boston College

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
12 Yale vs. 5 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Alaska vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 8 Minnesota State

Now it’s time to take care of the matchups in the second and third bands.

Once again we have two WCHA teams in the second band and two WCHA teams in the third band. Thus, our matchups are:

North Dakota/Minnesota State vs. Western Michigan/Yale
New Hampshire/Boston College vs. Denver/St. Cloud State

Like last week, let’s take a look at attendance issues at the same time.

We want to place Western Michigan in Grand Rapids. Thus we put Western Michigan in Grand Rapids and find bracket integrity. That means we have North Dakota vs. Western Michigan in Grand Rapids.

Next, we need to keep New Hampshire in Manchester. Thus, we also would like to keep Boston College in Providence.

If we use bracket integrity, then we have New Hampshire vs. St. Cloud State in Manchester and, in turn, Boston College vs. Denver in Providence.

That leaves us Minnesota State vs. Yale in Toledo.

Our brackets are now:

West Regional (Grand Rapids):
14 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Western Michigan vs. 7 North Dakota

Midwest Regional (Toledo):
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
12 Yale vs. 8 Minnesota State

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 St. Cloud State vs. 5 New Hampshire

East Regional (Providence):
16 Alaska vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 6 Boston College

It’s a little jumbled, but given our rules, that’s about the best that I can do.

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

Grand Rapids
14 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
11 Western Michigan vs. 7 North Dakota

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
12 Yale vs. 8 Minnesota State

Manchester
15 Rensselaer vs. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 St. Cloud State vs. 5 New Hampshire

Providence
16 Alaska vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Denver vs. 6 Boston College

Conference breakdowns

WCHA — 5
CCHA — 4
ECAC — 3
HEA — 3
AHA — 1

On the move

In: Rensselaer, Alaska
Out: Dartmouth, Providence

Attendance woes?

I like it.

Last week’s brackets

Grand Rapids
14 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 5 North Dakota

Toledo
15 Yale vs. 3 Miami
11 St. Cloud State vs. 8 Niagara

Manchester
13 Dartmouth vs. 4 New Hampshire
12 Denver vs. 6 Boston College

Providence
16 Providence vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Minnesota State

Tidbits

Three of the conferences are now into the playoffs. Is there any impact among the playoff games being played this weekend?

Robert Morris is the only TUC in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs that’s playing this weekend. Two losses to Sacred Heart would kill the Colonials’ RPI, perhaps knocking them out of the TUC range. Mercyhurst will not get to TUC status with two wins this weekend, but if they can move to next weekend, the Lakers may get their shot.

In the CCHA, Alaska has a lot to lose with a loss or two to Michigan State. Elimination from the CCHA tournament would pretty much doom Alaska’s at-large bid.

Northern Michigan’s series with Michigan is also important. With a .5006 RPI, two losses will drop NMU from TUC status. What’s the impact? The Wildcats are 0-2 against Notre Dame, 0-2 vs. Western Michigan, 1-2-1 vs. Alaska, 1-1 vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 2-0 vs. Wisconsin, 2-0 vs. St. Cloud State. It would affect Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Alaska negatively and Wisconsin and St. Cloud State positively. Notre Dame is 7-9-3 against TUCs so losing two wins there would be painful.

In ECAC Hockey, there are some good matchups. At .5003 in the RPI, Brown is hanging on. Advancement to the quarterfinal round may keep Brown as a TUC, benefiting teams such as Dartmouth (0-2), Rensselaer (0-1-1) and Union (0-1-1). Also, Cornell has an RPI of .5008. Having Cornell stay a TUC helps whom? Yale (0-2) for sure. Rensselaer? At 1-1, the Engineers would see Brown stay a TUC than Cornell. Union? Union would rather have the Big Red out of TUC range because it is 0-2 against Cornell. Dartmouth is 0-1-1 against Cornell. Denver is also 2-0 against Cornell, so Denver is rooting for the Big Red.

Dartmouth, without saying, must win to stay alive for a bid. St. Lawrence also must continue to win. Colgate is sitting at .4963 in the RPI, so two wins this weekend for Colgate against St. Lawrence might bring Colgate into the TUC range again.

There are no “bubble” matchups this weekend in Hockey East, but all the favored teams cannot afford a misstep.

In the WCHA, North Dakota vs. Minnesota State is a big matchup, and Wisconsin will try to move up against St. Cloud State.

After the results of March 2

Headed into one game on Sunday, here’s how I see it after Saturday’s games.

Providence
16 Alaska vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Minnesota State

Grand Rapids
14 Notre Dame vs. 2 Minnesota
10 Western Michigan vs. 7 North Dakota

Toledo
13 Niagara vs. 3 Miami
9 Denver vs. 6 Massachusetts-Lowell

Manchester
15 Rensselaer vs. 4 New Hampshire
11 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Boston College

Some movement here and there, but I think the bracket is pretty even at the moment.

The Lowell-Merrimack game has some potential impact, so we’ll see where that lands us in the next edition of Bracketology.