Bracketology, Pre-announcement Edition

Congrats to all the conference champions – and to those yet unnamed teams that get a second chance. Here’s the pre-NCAA announcement edition of Division III Bracketology.

To recap: eleven teams will get their tickets punched: seven Pool A teams, one Pool B Team, and three Pool C teams. Pool A consists of the seven teams that will win playoff championships in leagues with an automatic qualifier: ECAC East, ECAC Northeast, NCHA, NESCAC, MCHA, MIAC, and SUNYAC. One Pool B slot is reserved for an independent team or team from a conference that does not have an AQ: ECAC West and MASCAC. Pool C bids will be handed out to the highest remaining teams according to the NCAA rankings. The most recent editions of those were released earlier in the week, prior to this weekend’s action.
USCHO has attempted to mimic the selection process, but, unlike Division I, the criteria are not given equal weight by the selection committee. So instead of a pairwise ranking (PWR), we have a pairwise comparison (PWC) which does not necessarily match what the NCAA may do. I assure you, in fact, that it won’t.
Here are the PWCs for the East and West regions, as well as a combined one.
So without further ado, the Pool A bids went to:
ECAC East: Norwich
ECAC Northeast: Curry
MIAC; Hamline
MCHA: Adrian
NESCAC: Bowdoin
NCHA: St. Norbert
SUNYAC: Plattsburgh
And I’m predicting the following, based on the recent NCAA rankings:
Pool B: Elmira
Pool C: Oswego, Neumann, Castleton
Seedings would be:
E1: Oswego
E2: Elmira
E3: Plattsburgh
E4: Norwich
E5: Castleton
E6: Neumann
E7: Bowdoin
E8: Curry
W1: St. Norbert
W2: Adrian
W3: Hamline
Now, what to do about Adrian? The Bulldogs are in the West region but closer in distance to Elmira than to either St. Norbert or Hamline.
In theory, the first and second round pairings are supposed to be in region. According to the 2011 NCAA handbook:
“The Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Committee will rank the teams selected within each geographic region using the primary and secondary criteria.The highest-ranked teams in each region will be given consideration as preliminary first-round and quarterfinal sites, assuming they meet the requirements of Bylaw committee will pair the teams regionally, based on geographic location of all participants and final seeding. Flights will be kept to a minimum.”
So what does “paired regionally” mean? It sounds like Adrian must be paired within the West region. If you go by seeding that would mean flying Hamline to Adrian, or busing Adrian to St. Norbert, which would hurt the integrity of the seedings. And even then, should the Bulldogs win, Hamline would still have to fly in the quarterfinals.
A way out would be to send Adrian to Elmira, which is just under 500 miles. This would give all three West teams a bye to the quarterfinals.
Let’s look at possible brackets.
Regional and seeding integrity would have:
First Round:
W3 Hamline at W2 Adrian
E8 Curry at E5 Castleton
E7 Bowdoin at E6 Neumann (just under 500 miles)
Hamline/Adrian at St. Norbert
Neumann/Bowdoin at Oswego
Curry/Castleton at Elmira
Norwich at Plattsburgh
If they abandon seeding integrity in the West, then it’s:
First Round:
W2 Adrian at W1 St. Norbert
E8 Curry at E5 Castleton
E7 Bowdoin at E6 Neumann (just under 500 miles)
Hamline at Adrian/St. Norbert
Neumann/Bowdoin at Oswego
Curry/Castleton at Elmira
Norwich at Plattsburgh
Of if the committee abandons region integrity, we could have:
First Round:
E8 Curry at E3 Plattsburgh
E7 Bowdoin at E4 Norwich
E Neumann at E5 Castleton
Hamline at St. Norbert
Adrian at Elmira
Neumann/Castleton at Oswego
Bowdoin/Norwich at Plattsburgh
Don’t stay up late looking for an announcement. Reliable sources indicate that it won’t come until tomorrow morning. Check back after for reactions.