Bracketology: March 17, 2010

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 Ice Hockey Championship Committee will use the PairWise to determine the NCAA tournament bracket.

Just remember that this is not a prediction. This is a possible look into what the Committee might be thinking.

If you’re new to Bracketology, click here for the background.

Here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings (PWR), the CHA Champion Alabama-Huntsville, and the Atlantic Hockey Champion (through all games of Mar. 16):

1 Denver
2 Miami
3 Wisconsin
4t Boston College
4t North Dakota
4t St. Cloud State
7 Bemidji State
8t Ferris State
8t Cornell
10 Yale
11t Minn.-Duluth
11t Northern Michigan
13 Alaska
14 Vermont
15 New Hampshire
16 Michigan
— Atlantic Hockey Champion
— Alabama-Huntsville

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 autobids or current league leaders that are not currently in the top 16. The teams that are not are Alabama-Huntsville and the Atlantic Hockey Champion. Of course, there might be other league champions not in the Top 16, but we know these are definite.

Looking at the head-to-head PairWise comparisons and the RPI we break all of our ties.

Alabama-Huntsville’s RPI will be lower than that of the AHA champion, therefore, it will be ranked 16th.

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

1 Denver
2 Miami
3 Wisconsin
4 Boston College
5 North Dakota
6 St. Cloud State
7 Bemidji State
8 Ferris State
9 Cornell
10 Yale
11 Minn.-Duluth
12 Northern Michigan
13 Alaska
14 Vermont
15 AHA Champion
16 Alabama-Huntsville

Step Two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 Seeds — Denver, Miami, Wisconsin, Boston College
No. 2 Seeds — North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Bemidji State, Ferris State
No. 3 Seeds — Cornell, Yale, Minnesota-Duluth, Northern Michigan
No. 4 Seeds — Alaska, Vermont, AHA Champion, Alabama-Huntsville

Step Three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals. Following the guidelines, there are no host teams in this grouping, so that rule does not need to be enforced.

We now place the other No. 1 seeds based on proximity to the regional sites.

No. 1 Denver is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul, Minn.
No. 2 Miami is placed in the Midwest Regional in Fort Wayne, Ind.
No. 3 Wisconsin is placed in the East Regional in Albany, N.Y.
No. 4 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.

Step Four

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

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

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

So therefore:

No. 2 Seeds

No. 8 Ferris State is placed in No. 1 Denver’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Bemidji State is placed in No. 2 Miami’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 3 Wisconsin’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 North Dakota is placed in No. 4 Boston College’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, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

Therefore:

No. 9 Cornell is placed in No. 8 Ferris State’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Yale is placed in No. 7 Bemidji State’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 6 St. Cloud State’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Northern Michigan is placed in No. 5 North Dakota’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 Alabama-Huntsville is sent to No. 1 Denver’s Regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 AHA Champion is sent to No. 2 Miami’s Regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Vermont is sent to No. 3 Wisconsin’s Regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Alaska is sent to No. 4 Boston College’s Regional, the Northeast Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

Northeast Regional:

Alaska vs. Boston College
Northern Michigan vs. North Dakota

Midwest Regional:

AHA Champion vs. Miami
Yale vs. Bemidji State

East Regional:

Vermont vs. Wisconsin
Minnesota-Duluth vs. St. Cloud State

West Regional:

Alabama-Huntsville vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Ferris State

Our first concern is avoiding intra-conference matchups. We have Minnesota-Duluth vs. St. Cloud. So we have to switch Minnesota-Duluth with Yale.

Our bracket now becomes:

Northeast Regional:

Alaska vs. Boston College
Northern Michigan vs. North Dakota

Midwest Regional:

AHA Champion vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Bemidji State

East Regional:

Vermont vs. Wisconsin
Yale vs. St. Cloud State

West Regional:

Alabama-Huntsville vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Ferris State

Do we like the way this looks?

It is brutal for attendance in St. Paul. The only logical sense to make of this is to switch the entire St. Paul bracket with the Albany bracket.

In essence, you’re trading no attendance in St. Paul vs. some attendance in Albany due to Vermont, for two WCHA teams in St. Paul vs. Cornell in Albany.

I think that’s a reasonable trade to make.

So our new brackets:

Northeast Regional:

Alaska vs. Boston College
Northern Michigan vs. North Dakota

Midwest Regional:

AHA Champion vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Bemidji State

West Regional:

Vermont vs. Wisconsin
Yale vs. St. Cloud State

East Regional:

Alabama-Huntsville vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Ferris State

Anything else that we can do?

I am going to make one more switch, it’s sort of a minor one, but I think it makes sense.

I am going to swap Alabama-Huntsville and the AHA Champion.

UAH will fly anyway. The AHA Champion might be able to bus to Albany.

So our new brackets:

Northeast Regional:

Alaska vs. Boston College
Northern Michigan vs. North Dakota

Midwest Regional:

Alabama-Huntsville vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Bemidji State

West Regional:

Vermont vs. Wisconsin
Yale vs. St. Cloud State

East Regional:

AHA Champion vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Ferris State

The other potential change that I would consider making is swapping Yale with Northern Michigan.

Yes, I can give Yale a bus ride now, so that helps out.

But I am reasoning that I can do this because Yale is switching with Minnesota-Duluth already to avoid an intraconference matchup. At the same time, NMU and UMD are tied in comparison wins. They are also in the same band.

And Yale in Worcester is a better draw than in St. Paul. And NMU might be a better draw in St. Paul. So I will make that switch.

Northeast Regional:

Alaska vs. Boston College
Yale vs. North Dakota

Midwest Regional:

Alabama-Huntsville vs. Miami
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Bemidji State

West Regional:

Vermont vs. Wisconsin
Northern Michigan vs. St. Cloud State

East Regional:

AHA Champion vs. Denver
Cornell vs. Ferris State

And that’s about as good as it’s going to get.

Check the Bracketology Blog for other items and we’ll see you here next week for the next Bracketology.

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