Quantcast

One week out, and the bracket hasn’t changed much

Quinnipiac moves from Providence to Manchester in Jayson Moy’s prediction this week (photo: Quinnipiac Athletics).

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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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 March 10:

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Boston University
7 Omaha
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Bowling Green
12t Quinnipiac
12t Yale
14t Minnesota
14t Massachusetts-Lowell
16 St. Cloud State
26 Robert Morris
32t Michigan State

Current conference leaders or regular season champions based on tiebreakers established by each conference:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris (regular season champion)
Big Ten: Michigan State
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac (regular season champion)
Hockey East: Boston University (regular season champion)
NCHC: North Dakota (regular season champion)
WCHA: Minnesota State (regular season champion)

Notes

• Bracketology assumes that the season has ended and there are no more games to be played — i.e., the NCAA tournament starts tomorrow.

• For conferences still in regular season play, I will be using the conference tiebreakers to determine the top seed for that conference’s tournament. For conference already in the postseason, I will be using the highest remaining seed. These teams are my assumed conference tournament champions and recipients of the autobids.

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 teams that are not are Robert Morris and Michigan State.

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

There are two ties, Quinnipiac and Yale and Minnesota and Massachusetts-Lowell.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Boston University
7 Omaha
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Bowling Green
12 Quinnipiac
13 Yale
14 Minnesota
15 Robert Morris
16 Michigan State

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Michigan Tech, Boston University, Omaha, Denver

No. 3 seeds: Providence, Boston College, Bowling Green, Quinnipiac

No. 4 seeds: Yale, Minnesota, Robert Morris, Michigan State

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 2 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 Denver is placed in No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Omaha is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 Providence is placed in No. 8 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Boston College is placed in No. 7 Omaha’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Bowling Green is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 5 Michigan Tech’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 Michigan State is sent to No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Robert Morris is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Minnesota is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Yale is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
12 Quinnipiac vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Bowling Green vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Providence vs. 8 Denver

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

Then let’s leave everything as it is. Now, you know that can’t happen, right?

Why not?

The PWR has not changed much over the past week except in the fourth band, so our argument remains the same. I think it’s familiar by now.

Let’s look at the East and Northeast regionals.

There are three Western teams in the Northeast Regional and two ECAC Hockey teams in the East Regional. I’m not so concerned about the East as I would be the Northeast.

We have Providence and Boston College sitting in the West and Midwest regionals, respectively, and it would be nice to bring one of them back East to help bolster attendance in the East.

I have gotten many notes stating that the West Regional is sold out and the Midwest Regional has good ticket sales and asking why I am moving teams to these regionals for attendance purposes. I am not doing it for those regionals; I am doing it to boost attendance in the East and Northeast regionals.

The other point is that why would we not want to make a great atmosphere in the sold-out regionals? After all, one of the mandates of the committee is to make the atmosphere a great one for the student-athletes.

Now back to our analysis.

With Boston University sitting in the two band and in the East, you can’t bring back both Providence and Boston College. So we need to decide who to bring back.

I will look at the PWR. Providence is 9, Boston College is 10. So let’s work on bringing the higher seed back East.

Providence, though not the host in the East Regional, is still a nice draw in Providence. So I would like to place the Friars there.

This means that Quinnipiac must move to Manchester, and in turn, Bowling Green must move. But I would like to move the Falcons to South Bend because of the proximity, and then that means Boston College moves to take Providence’s spot.

But if I do that, I create a WCHA-WCHA matchup, so I will also swap Denver and Michigan Tech.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 8 Denver

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

And there you have it.

We’ve maximized what we have had in terms of Eastern teams in the East Regional.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology, and you can check out the Bracketology Blog for some musings during the week.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Robert Morris vs. 2 Minnesota State
11 Bowling Green vs. 8 Denver

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Michigan State vs. 1 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Michigan State

Out: Michigan

Attendance woes?

I think we are OK.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 8 Denver

Two weeks out, and it’s time to watch for teams falling off the bubble

NInth overall seed Providence and 10th overall seed Boston College both could be in line for a move to the East Regional. Which one would the committee pick? (photo: Melissa Wade)

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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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 March 3:

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Omaha
6 Boston University
7 Michigan Tech
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Minnesota
12t Quinnipiac
12t Yale
14 Bowling Green
15t Michigan
15t Massachusetts-Lowell
25 Robert Morris

Current conference leaders or regular season champions based on tiebreakers established by each conference:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris (regular season champion)
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac (regular season champion)
Hockey East: Boston University (regular season champion)
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Minnesota 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’m using the conference tiebreakers to determine the No. 1 seed for that conference’s tournament. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion and recipient of the autobid.

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 Robert Morris.

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

There are two ties, Quinnipiac and Yale and Michigan and Massachusetts-Lowell.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 North Dakota
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Omaha
6 Boston University
7 Michigan Tech
8 Denver
9 Providence
10 Boston College
11 Minnesota
12 Quinnipiac
13 Yale
14 Bowling Green
15 Michigan
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: North Dakota, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Omaha, Boston University, Michigan Tech, Denver

No. 3 seeds: Providence, Boston College, Minnesota, Quinnipiac

No. 4 seeds: Yale, Bowling Green, Michigan, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 1 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 2 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 Denver is placed in No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Omaha is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 Providence is placed in No. 8 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Boston College is placed in No. 7 Michigan Tech’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 5 Omaha’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Bowling Green is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Yale is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
12 Quinnipiac vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
9 Providence vs. 8 Denver

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

Then let’s leave everything as it is. Now, you know that can’t happen, right?

Why not?

Let’s look at the East and Northeast Regionals.

There are three western teams in the Northeast Regional and two ECAC Hockey teams in the East Regional. I’m not so concerned about the East as I am the Northeast.

We have Providence and Boston College sitting in the West and Midwest Regionals, respectively, and it would be nice to bring one of them back East to help bolster attendance.

With Boston University sitting in the two band and in the East, you can’t bring back both of them. So we need to decide which team to bring back.

I will look at the PWR: Providence is 9, Boston College is 10. So let’s work on bringing Providence back East.

Providence, though not the host in the East Regional, is still a nice draw in Providence. So I would like to place them there.

This means that Quinnipiac must move to Manchester, and in turn, Minnesota to take Providence’s spot.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 8 Denver

And there you have it.

We’ve maximized what we have had in terms of Eastern teams in the East Regional.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Bowling Green vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Boston College vs. 7 Michigan Tech

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 North Dakota
11 Minnesota vs. 8 Denver

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Yale

Out: St. Cloud State

Attendance woes?

I think we are OK.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Tidbits

Playoff time

It’s playoff time, and some teams head into action this week while others have a bye. What’s important here is the bubble and how to stay alive. Some teams can’t do anything until next week to improve their lot on the PWR.

So teams such as St. Lawrence and Colgate can’t do anything to get off the bubble as of yet. But teams like Harvard, Vermont and Northeastern can.

So take a look at the series this weekend that involve Vermont, Northeastern and Harvard. If your team is on the bubble, such as Lowell and St. Cloud State, you certainly want these teams to lose their series this weekend.

Three weeks out, and an abundance of NCHC teams presents some competing priorities

With St. Cloud State in as a No. 4 seed and Minnesota-Duluth as one of three No. 1 seeds from the NCHC, we have some competing priorities to weigh (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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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. 24:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Miami
7 Denver
8 Omaha
9 Boston College
10 Minnesota
11t Quinnipiac
11t Providence
13 Bowling Green
14 St. Cloud State
15 Yale
16 Massachusetts-Lowell
19 Michigan
23 Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on tiebreakers established by each conference:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan (Most conference wins)
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Minnesota State

This is a change from past weeks and is designed to show the team that has the inside track at the top seed for the league playoffs now that all of the contenders have played the same number of games.

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’m using the conference tiebreakers to determine the No. 1 seed for that conference’s tournament. This team is my assumed conference tournament champion and recipient of the autobid.

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 teams that are not are Michigan and Robert Morris.

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

There is one tie, Quinnipiac and Providence.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Michigan Tech
6 Miami
7 Denver
8 Omaha
9 Boston College
10 Minnesota
11 Quinnipiac
12 Providence
13 Bowling Green
14 St. Cloud State
15 Michigan
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Michigan Tech, Boston University, Denver, Omaha

No. 3 seeds: Boston College, Minnesota, Quinnipiac, Providence

No. 4 seeds: Bowling Green, St. Cloud State, Michigan, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 Omaha is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Denver is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 4 Miami’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 Boston College is placed in No. 8 Omaha’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Minnesota is placed in No. 7 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Providence is placed in No. 5 Michigan Tech’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 St. Cloud State is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Bowling Green is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one this week in St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota-Duluth.

If you take a look at where you can move St. Cloud, there is only one spot that you can do it — against the No. 1 overall seed Minnesota State. Because there are three other NCHC teams in the No. 1 band, that’s the only spot.

People will refer to the rule that if you have more than five teams in the field, then first-round intraconference matchups are OK. But, as we have seen in the past, the committee will try to avoid it if it can, no matter how many teams there are from one conference.

The committee also has shown a tendency, however, to protect the No. 1 overall seed and make sure it draws the No. 16 overall seed in the first round, so there are some competing factors here.

But we’ll make the switch and then adjust the seedings downward.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Is there anything else that we can do? It doesn’t look like it at all.

You have to wonder about attendance in the East and Northeast regionals now with all those Western teams.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Bowling Green vs. 4 Miami
12 Providence vs. 5 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Quinnipiac vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 St. Cloud State vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Boston College vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Denver

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: St. Cloud State, Michigan

Out: Yale, Harvard

Attendance woes?

With so many Western teams, I worry about the East and Northeast now.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
12 Providence vs. 6 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Boston College vs. 5 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Four weeks out, and a geography question affects where a No. 1 seed goes

For Boston University, would being placed closest to home mean going to Manchester or Providence? (photo: Melissa Wade)

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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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. 17:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Minnesota-Duluth
5 Omaha
6 Miami
7 Michigan Tech
8 Bowling Green
9 Denver
10t Quinnipiac
10t Boston College
10t Providence
13 Minnesota
14 Yale
15 Harvard
16t Vermont
16t Michigan
16t Massachusetts-Lowell
24t Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota
WCHA: Minnesota 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 Robert Morris.

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

There is one tie: Quinnipiac, Boston College and Providence at 10th.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Minnesota-Duluth
5 Omaha
6 Miami
7 Michigan Tech
8 Bowling Green
9 Denver
10 Quinnipiac
11 Boston College
12 Providence
13 Minnesota
14 Yale
15 Harvard
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Minnesota-Duluth

No. 2 seeds: Omaha, Miami, Michigan Tech, Bowling Green

No. 3 seeds: Denver, Quinnipiac, Boston College, Providence

No. 4 seeds: Minnesota, Yale, Harvard, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth 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 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 Bowling Green is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Miami is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Omaha is placed in No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast 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 Denver is placed in No. 8 Bowling Green’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Quinnipiac is placed in No. 7 Michigan Tech’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Boston College is placed in No. 6 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Providence is placed in No. 5 Omaha’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Harvard is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Yale is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Minnesota is sent to No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Minnesota vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Harvard vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

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

One again, purists will say, let’s just leave it as is — it’s perfect for bracket integrity.

But as we have seen in the past, the committee likes to make changes to bring teams closer to their geographic regions, both for team travel reasons and for attendance purposes.

Because of this, one has to believe that the same will happen this year.

Therefore, what else can we do to make the bracket more appealing in terms of attendance and more of a geographic fit?

We look to bring Eastern teams to the East and Western teams to the West.

The first thing to do is swap Harvard with Minnesota.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Is there anything else that we can do?

It doesn’t seem to make sense to have Providence playing in Manchester when there is a regional in Providence. And even though Providence is not the host, why not get them there?

We swap Providence and Boston College.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
12 Providence vs. 6 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Boston College vs. 5 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Another school of thought puts Boston University in Manchester instead of Providence.

Let’s look at that.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Minnesota vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Miami

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Harvard vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

We make the same swap of Minnesota and Harvard.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Providence vs. 5 Omaha

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Miami

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

A little bit different now. I think it will come down to attendance, won’t it? How are Manchester and Providence affected by where you place Boston University, to start? Manchester is 53 miles to Boston and Providence is 50 miles. Equal distances, really.

Let’s stick with the first bracket for this week.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
14 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
12 Providence vs. 6 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Harvard vs. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
12 Boston College vs. 5 Omaha

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Quinnipiac vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Yale, Harvard

Out: Michigan, Massachusetts-Lowell

Attendance woes?

South Bend is OK, but I am still not sure.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
11 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Michigan vs. 7 Miami

Five weeks out, and we can make some geographical swaps with regional attendance in mind

Minnesota and North Dakota could be on course for a rematch of last season’s national semifinal, won by the Gophers (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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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 PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Feb. 10:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Omaha
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Michigan Tech
7 Miami
8 Bowling Green
9 Denver
10 Providence
11 Boston College
12 Michigan
13t Quinnipiac
13t Minnesota
15 Massachusetts-Lowell
16 Harvard
25t Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota (by head-to-head over Omaha)
WCHA: Minnesota 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 Robert Morris.

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

There is one tie, Quinnipiac and Minnesota

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Omaha
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Michigan Tech
7 Miami
8 Bowling Green
9 Denver
10 Providence
11 Boston College
12 Michigan
13 Quinnipiac
14 Minnesota
15 Massachusetts-Lowell
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Omaha

No. 2 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, Miami, Bowling Green

No. 3 seeds: Denver, Providence, Boston College, Michigan

No. 4 seeds: Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Massachusetts-Lowell, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 4 Omaha 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 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 Bowling Green is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Miami is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast 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 Denver is placed in No. 8 Bowling Green’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Providence is placed in No. 7 Miami’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Boston College is placed in No. 6 Michigan Tech’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Michigan is placed in No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Massachusetts-Lowell is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Minnesota is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Quinnipiac vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Providence vs. 7 Miami

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

Purists will say let’s just leave it as is — it’s perfect for bracket integrity.

But as we have seen in the past, the committee likes to make changes to bring teams closer to their geographic regions, both for travel advantages for teams and for attendance purposes.

Because of this, one has to believe that the same will happen this year.

Therefore, what else can we do to make the bracket more appealing in terms of attendance and more of a geographic fit?

We look to bring Eastern teams to the East and Western teams to the West.

In this particular case we look at the West Regional, where we have Lowell and Providence, and try to bring them back East.

Even though Providence is not the host school in Providence, it would be nice to have the Friars there.

So we do some work in the third band and move Providence to Providence, Boston College to Manchester and Michigan to Fargo.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Minnesota vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Quinnipiac vs. 4 Omaha
11 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Michigan vs. 7 Miami

What is next? We try to bring Minnesota to the West and Lowell to the East.

In order to do this and not create any intraconference matchups, we swap the fourth band around. Minnesota to the West Regional, Lowell to the Northeast and Quinnipiac to the East.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
11 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Michigan vs. 7 Miami

Is there anything else that we can do?

Moving Michigan to South Bend would give it a little boost, but having Bowling Green there is also a boost. But moving Michigan only would create an intraconference matchup between Denver and Miami, which we would not be able to solve.

Therefore the alternative becomes swapping the entire matchups — i.e., Denver vs. Bowling Green goes to Fargo and Michigan vs. Miami goes to South Bend.

Do you make this change?

If it ended like this, you have to think about what would happen.

Today, I leave it as is. And yes, that West Regional is something, isn’t it?

So that looks like our 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

East Regional (Providence):
13 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
11 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 North Dakota
12 Michigan vs. 7 Miami

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Minnesota

Out: Harvard

Attendance woes?

South Bend is OK, but I am still not sure.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
11 Harvard vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Boston College vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
9 Denver vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Six weeks out, and there’s only so much room in the East for No. 3 seeds

Do Jon Gillies and Providence deserve to stay close to home at the expense of Michael Matheson and Boston College? (photo: Melissa Wade)

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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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. 3 (before Wednesday night’s Providence-Connecticut game):

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Omaha
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Bowling Green
7 Michigan Tech
8 Miami
9 Denver
10 Providence
11 Harvard
12 Boston College
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 Michigan
15 Quinnipiac
16t Vermont
16t Yale
16t Merrimack
24 Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota (by head-to-head over Omaha)
WCHA: Minnesota 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 Robert Morris.

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

There are no ties and bubbles this week.

If there were, then we break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Omaha
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Bowling Green
7 Michigan Tech
8 Miami
9 Denver
10 Providence
11 Harvard
12 Boston College
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 Michigan
15 Quinnipiac
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Omaha

No. 2 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Bowling Green, Michigan Tech, Miami

No. 3 seeds: Denver, Providence, Harvard, Boston College

No. 4 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Michigan, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 4 Omaha 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 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 Miami is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Bowling Green is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast 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 Denver is placed in No. 8 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Providence is placed in No. 7 Michigan Tech’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Harvard is placed in No. 6 Bowling Green’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Boston College is placed in No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Michigan is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Massachustts-Lowell is sent to No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Boston University
11 Harvard vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
12 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Denver vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Providence vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one — Denver vs. Miami — so let’s solve it.

We can swap Denver with Providence.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Boston University
11 Harvard vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
12 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
10 Providence vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 North Dakota
9 Denver vs. 7 Michigan Tech

What else can we do to make the bracket more appealing in terms of attendance?

We can swap Michigan with Quinnipiac to put the teams in their own regions.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Harvard vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
12 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
10 Providence vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
9 Denver vs. 7 Michigan Tech

What else can we do to make this bracket from an attendance standpoint?

You can look at bringing Providence to the Providence regional. (Remember, the Friars aren’t the host there; Brown is.) But that does mean swapping out Harvard with Providence.

So do you do this?

I would make the argument that the higher seed should get geographic precedence. Therefore, I would make this move and send Harvard to the Midwest and bring Providence to the East.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
12 Boston College vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Harvard vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
9 Denver vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Then one may also ask, why wouldn’t you move Boston College to the Midwest instead and move Harvard to the Northeast?

That’s a good point. If I did it before, then I need to do it again. Even though I know that Boston College may be a better draw, I can’t have a double standard.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
11 Harvard vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Boston College vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
9 Denver vs. 7 Michigan Tech

That Midwest Regional is very, very iffy on the attendance side of things. But there isn’t much else that you can do for that.

So that looks like our 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

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
10 Providence vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Omaha
11 Harvard vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Boston College vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 2 North Dakota
9 Denver vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Massachusetts-Lowell

Out: Vermont

Attendance woes?

South Bend is looking very, very iffy.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
9 Providence vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

Seven weeks out, and the NCHC’s presence in the field of 16 grows

Omaha and Denver are two of the five NCHC teams in the top 11 spots of the PairWise Rankings (photo: Michelle Bishop).

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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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 as of the end of play on Jan. 28:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3t Boston University
3t Omaha
3t Harvard
6 Bowling Green
7 Minnesota-Duluth
8 Miami
9 Providence
10 Michigan Tech
11 Denver
12 Michigan
13 Boston College
14 Vermont
15 Massachusetts-Lowell
16 Yale
19 Quinnipiac
22t Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: North Dakota (by head-to-head over Omaha)
WCHA: Minnesota 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 teams that are not are Quinnipiac and Robert Morris.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Boston University, Omaha and Harvard at 3.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Omaha
5 Harvard
6 Bowling Green
7 Minnesota-Duluth
8 Miami
9 Providence
10 Michigan Tech
11 Denver
12 Michigan
13 Boston College
14 Vermont
15 Quinnipiac
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Omaha

No. 2 seeds: Harvard, Bowling Green, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 3 seeds: Providence, Michigan Tech, Denver, Michigan

No. 4 seeds: Boston College, Vermont, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 4 Omaha 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 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 Miami is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Bowling Green is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Harvard is placed in No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast 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 Providence is placed in No. 8 Miami’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Denver is placed in No. 6 Bowling Green’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Michigan is placed in No. 5 Harvard’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Vermont is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Boston College is sent to No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Vermont vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Providence vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

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

We have Vermont vs. Boston University. We can swap Vermont with Quinnipiac.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Providence vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

What else can we do to make the bracket more appealing in terms of attendance?

We can swap Michigan with Providence.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
9 Providence vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

So that looks like our 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

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Denver vs. 6 Bowling Green

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Boston College vs. 4 Omaha
9 Providence vs. 5 Harvard

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan vs. 8 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Vermont vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Denver, Boston College, Providence

Out: Yale, Massachusetts-Lowell, Merrimack

Attendance woes?

I think we’re OK this week.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Eight weeks out, and having a host in a No. 1 seed changes the dynamic

North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth could be the top two seeds in the West Regional in Fargo, N.D., as the PairWise Rankings stand today (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 would wind up come selection time using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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 as of Jan. 20:

1 Minnesota State
2 Omaha
3 Bowling Green
4 North Dakota
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Miami
7 Harvard
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Yale
11 Michigan Tech
12t Vermont
12t Merrimack
14 Denver
15 Providence
16t Colgate
16t Michigan
20 Quinnipiac
– Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University (by head-to-head over Lowell)
NCHC: Omaha
WCHA: Minnesota 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 — Michigan, Quinnipiac and Robert Morris.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Vermont and Merrimack at 12.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 Omaha
3 Bowling Green
4 North Dakota
5 Minnesota-Duluth
6 Miami
7 Harvard
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Yale
11 Michigan Tech
12 Vermont
13 Merrimack
14 Michigan
15 Quinnipiac
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, Omaha, Bowling Green, North Dakota

No. 2 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Miami, Harvard, Boston University

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Yale, Michigan Tech, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Merrimack, Michigan, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 4 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 2 Omaha is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 3 Bowling Green 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 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 Boston University is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Harvard is placed in No. 2 Omaha’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Miami is placed in No. 3 Bowling Green’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 4 North Dakota’s regional, the West 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 Boston University’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Yale is placed in No. 7 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 6 Miami’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 2 Omaha’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 14 Michigan is sent to No. 3 Bowling Green’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Merrimack is sent to No. 4 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
10 Yale vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Bowling Green
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Merrimack vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have two: Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Boston University and Yale vs. Harvard.

We can swap BU with Miami and also Yale with Michigan Tech to solve these problems.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
11 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Michigan vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
13 Merrimack vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Now that we have the intra-conference matchups out of the way, let’s work on the other items, i.e. attendance.

One quick fix would be to swap Michigan with Merrimack. That would bring Merrimack back east and bring Michigan back West.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
11 Michigan Tech vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

We can also swap Massachusetts-Lowell and Michigan Tech for the same reasons.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

I think that we can all agree that this is best bracket attendance-wise that we can put together.

So that looks like our 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

East Regional (Providence):
15 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Omaha
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 7 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Merrimack vs. 3 Bowling Green
10 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Michigan Tech vs. 6 Miami

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Michigan vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Vermont vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Merrimack

Out: Colgate

Attendance woes?

South Bend continues to be iffy. It brings up an interesting question, however. Notre Dame is in Hockey East, so would local fans in South Bend want to see western teams or Hockey East/eastern teams?

Fargo is already sold out, but that is one powerful bracket.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
11 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan Tech vs. 6 North Dakota

Tidbits

You can see how one little switch in the No. 1 seeds can shift everything. North Dakota having to be placed in Fargo does a lot of different things.

Nine weeks out, and conferences, geography come into play

Boston University and Michigan both get moved from their original position in this week’s Bracketology (photo: Melissa Wade).

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 would wind up using what we know now.

It’s a look into 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 on March 22.

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.

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

For the past four 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 not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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. 13:

1 Minnesota State
2 Minnesota-Duluth
3 Harvard
4 Omaha
5 Bowling Green
6 North Dakota
7 Miami
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Vermont
11 Yale
12 Michigan Tech
13 Colgate
14t Quinnipiac
14t Minnesota
16 Providence
19 Michigan
– Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Michigan
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston University (by win-loss versus Connecticut)
NCHC: Omaha
WCHA: Minnesota 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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 teams that are not are Michigan and Robert Morris.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Quinnipiac and Minnesota at 14. This is a big tiebreaker.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Minnesota State
2 Minnesota-Duluth
3 Harvard
4 Omaha
5 Bowling Green
6 North Dakota
7 Miami
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Vermont
11 Yale
12 Michigan Tech
13 Colgate
14 Quinnipiac
15 Michigan
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Harvard, Omaha

No. 2 seeds: Bowling Green, North Dakota, Miami, Boston University

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Vermont, Yale, Michigan Tech

No. 4 seeds: Colgate, Quinnipiac, Michigan, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Harvard is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 4 Omaha 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 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

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 6 North Dakota is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 8 Boston University is placed in No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Miami is placed in No. 3 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Bowling Green is placed in No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast 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 Boston University’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Vermont is placed in No. 7 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 11 Yale is placed in No. 6 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 12 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 5 Bowling Green’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Michigan is sent to No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 3 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Colgate is sent to No. 4 Omaha’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan Tech vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Yale vs. 6 North Dakota

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

We have Quinnipiac vs. Harvard, Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Boston University and Michigan Tech vs. Bowling Green.

We can solve this pretty easily by swapping two teams. But which two teams?

Let’s start adding in the tangibles now. The one tangible that I will use now is getting a higher seed closer to its home base. So in this case, I swap Bowling Green with Boston University.

East Regional (Providence):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
15 Michigan vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Yale vs. 6 North Dakota

Now we also have Quinnipiac vs. Harvard to solve. We can’t swap Quinnipiac with Colgate, so we have to swap Quinnipiac with either Michigan or Robert Morris. But remember, the committee has protected the No. 1 seed in the past, so they certainly will do it again. So Quinnipiac has to be swapped with Michigan.

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
11 Yale vs. 6 North Dakota

What else can we do with this bracket at the moment to maximize attendance?

Examining the bracket, we can do one thing: swap Michigan Tech with Yale to get each one into “West” and “East.”

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
11 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan Tech vs. 6 North Dakota

Now this looks like our 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

East Regional (Providence):
15 Michigan vs. 3 Harvard
10 Vermont vs. 7 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Colgate vs. 4 Omaha
11 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Minnesota State
12 Michigan Tech vs. 6 North Dakota

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: Yale, Colgate, Michigan

Out: Providence, Penn State, Minnesota

Attendance woes?

South Bend could be iffy.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Penn State vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Providence vs. 7 North Dakota

10 weeks out, and we start with trouble bringing a team back East

Providence and Quinnipiac are both No. 3 seeds as the PairWise Rankings stand 10 weeks out from selection Sunday (photo: Matt Eisenberg).

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

Will my team make the NCAA tournament? Where does it sit in the PairWise Rankings (PWR)?

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.

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

For the past four 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.

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 might look like come selection time, using what we know now.

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

This is not a be-all, end-all analysis of the bracket. I am trying to give you, the reader, an idea of what the committee might be thinking and not exactly what they are thinking.

This is the first installment of Bracketology for 2015, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 22.

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 — South Bend, Ind.; West — Fargo, N.D.).

• 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: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Notre Dame in South Bend and North Dakota in Fargo.

• 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 2015 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. 6:

1 Harvard
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Bowling Green
6 Omaha
7 North Dakota
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Providence
11t Minnesota
11t Michigan Tech
13 Vermont
14 Denver
15 Merrimack
16 Quinnipiac
22t Penn State
– Robert Morris

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Penn State (greater number of conference wins)
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
NCHC: Miami/Minnesota-Duluth (Coin Toss)
WCHA: Bowling Green

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 after applying the tiebreakers.

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 teams that are not are Penn State and Robert Morris.

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

The ties and bubbles consist of Minnesota and Michigan Tech at 11.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Harvard
2 Minnesota State
3 Minnesota-Duluth
4 Miami
5 Bowling Green
6 Omaha
7 North Dakota
8 Boston University
9 Massachusetts-Lowell
10 Providence
11 Minnesota
12 Michigan Tech
13 Vermont
14 Quinnipiac
15 Penn State
16 Robert Morris

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Harvard, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Bowling Green, Omaha, North Dakota, Boston University

No. 3 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Providence, Minnesota, Michigan Tech

No. 4 seeds: Vermont, Quinnipiac, Penn State, Robert Morris

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Harvard is placed in the East Regional in Providence.
No. 2 Minnesota State is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 4 Miami 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 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

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 8 Boston University is placed in No. 1 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 6 Omaha is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Bowling Green is placed in No. 4 Miami’s regional, the Northeast 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 Boston University’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 10 Providence is placed in No. 7 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota is placed in No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 5 Bowling Green’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 Robert Morris is sent to No. 1 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 15 Penn State is sent to No. 2 Minnesota State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 13 Vermont is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
12 Michigan Tech vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Penn State vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Providence vs. 7 North Dakota

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

We have Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Boston University and Michigan Tech vs. Bowling Green.

We can solve this pretty easily by swapping the two teams.

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Penn State vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Providence vs. 7 North Dakota

What else can we do with this bracket at the moment to maximize attendance?

It would be nice to bring Providence and/or Quinnipiac back East, but that can’t happen for a few reasons.

You can only really swap Quinnipiac with Vermont, and that doesn’t make sense because you’re just swapping two East teams.

Then you can’t swap Robert Morris because the committee always protects the overall No. 1 seed by allowing it to play the 16 seed.

As for Providence, you create a Hockey East-Hockey East matchup if you move Providence back East and bring Michigan Tech West.

I think this is about all we can do this week.

So that is it. My bracket for the week.

But remember: So much changes between now and the actual bracket announcement.

See you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Harvard
12 Michigan Tech vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Vermont vs. 4 Miami
9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 5 Bowling Green

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Penn State vs. 2 Minnesota State
10 Providence vs. 7 North Dakota

Conference breakdowns

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

North Dakota 2016 National ChampionsBNY Mellon Wealth Management