Minnesota State is top overall seed for 2015 NCAA tournament

Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University and Miami got No. 1 seeds for the 2015 NCAA Division I men’s hockey tournament when the brackets were unveiled Sunday.

The NCAA men’s ice hockey committee placed Minnesota State in the Midwest Regional in South Bend, Ind., while North Dakota is the host of the West Regional in Fargo, N.D.

Boston University is the top seed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., and Miami leads the field in the East Regional in Providence, R.I.

Here are the first-round games:

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.)

• Boston University vs. Yale, 2 p.m. EDT Friday

• Minnesota-Duluth vs. Minnesota, 5:30 p.m. EDT Friday

West Regional (Fargo, N.D.)

• Michigan Tech vs. St. Cloud State, 3:30 p.m. CDT Friday

• North Dakota vs. Quinnipiac, 7 p.m. CDT Friday

East Regional (Providence, R.I.)

• Denver vs. Boston College, 3 p.m. EDT Saturday

• Miami vs. Providence, 6:30 p.m. EDT Saturday

Midwest Regional (South Bend, Ind.)

• Minnesota State vs. RIT, 4 p.m. EDT Saturday

• Omaha vs. Harvard, 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday

The Boston University-Yale first-round game matches the nation’s top offense (BU, 3.89 goals per game) and top defense (Yale, 1.59 goals per game).

“We don’t know much about Yale, but we know that they’re a good team and obviously all 16 teams who made it this far are really good,” Boston University captain Matt Grzelcyk said. “I wish we could play right now; I know the guys are all really excited, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth will be playing for the fifth time this season, all in different venues.

“They’re all tough brackets,” Terriers coach David Quinn said. “Minnesota [against] Minnesota-Duluth has a bit of a BU-BC flair. … People were talking before the season started that Minnesota might be the best team on paper, and Duluth has beaten them three times in four games this year and had a good program for a while now, so that’s going to be a battle.”

Denver split a home series with Boston College in the first half, losing 2-1 before rebounding for a 2-1 overtime victory.

“It’s a really good opponent that we are familiar with for playing last year and twice earlier this year,” Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery said. “They are very deep.”

The Omaha-Harvard game features an interesting coaching matchup.

“Definitely happy that we’re one of 16 teams and happy that we’re seeded eighth,” Omaha coach Dean Blais said. “Knowing [Harvard coach] Teddy Donato, he’s got players who can think and skate because that’s how Teddy was.

“I’ve heard a lot about his teams and how hard they compete, and it doesn’t surprise me. Teddy played for me on my 1992 Olympic team. I traveled the whole year with him, and he got to be a friend. And now we get to be enemies here next Saturday.”

Six NCHC teams made the field of 16, tying for the largest amount from any conference in tournament history. In 2008, six of 10 WCHA teams qualified.

Regionals in Manchester and Fargo are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, while games in Manchester and South Bend are Saturday and Sunday.

The four regional winners advance to the Frozen Four in Boston April 9 and 11.

82 COMMENTS

    • I question that BC has it in them, after two losses at home vs. Vermont. Very little leadership on offense from their disappointing, weak senior class… The onus is on Fitzgerald, Tuch, and Gilmour to really step and be the difference. I’d say Miami, maybe Denver.

    • Not sure you can say it was “protecting” the top overall seed when the teams that are there are 1,8, 9, 16. I agree that the regional is weak, but the teams there are exactly who should have been based on the PWR.

      • I think that is exactly what it is, protecting the top overall seed. Because they made other moves like putting QU in Fargo when it should be the 15 seeded team providence there instead. And they could have made one small change and switched Harvard and MN and kept the bracket integrity really closely (9v10) and helped attendence in both locations. So yeah they handed the easiest path to the top seed and made other changes that make very little sense in other places.

        • Your comment about switching the 9 and 10 takes your opinion of the two teams into account. While I agree that Minnesota would be a tougher matchup than Harvard, if they make that switch, the committee would have been “protecting” the top seed even more by giving them the overall 10 instead of the overall 9 in their region.

          • You are right that is my opinion and one that I bet just about everyone in the know about college hockey would agree with. But, the other reason I was thinking this is protecting Mn State is that if mn were in that bracket they would travel really well there and Harvard will have no one there.

          • that switch (9 & 10) is a trivial switch with regards to bracket integrity.

            and as you noted, that is mostly due to optics – having to play minnesota would appear to be (if we’re honest) a much tougher row to hoe than having to go through harvard. (might not play out that way, but unless you’re a harvard homer, I think we can all admit you’d rather play harvard to get to the FF than minny). and i’m sure the committee didn’t want to field that question even if it would have technically given mn state an even better draw.

            also, switching harvard and minny wouldn’t be out of character at all for the committee from this and other NCAAs. they’ve made attendance a priority, within reason. hard to argue switching a 9 & 10 wouldn’t fit that. which would clearly be a move for attendance, and something the committee has never had a problem doing, or admitting that was the reason they were doing it in the past.

            for whatever reason, they decided to be more strict this year with regards to protecting the #1s.

      • I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, per se, and I have no problem protecting #1s, but the result just happened to be – in my opinion – a weak midwest bracket.

        my issue (and it’s really pretty trivial) is the committee’s inconsistency with regards to protecting higher seeds.

        the committee protected the top two #1s, but then turns around and shuffles yale and providence (keeping providence in providence to “maximize the attendance/atmosphere”). so now miami (also a #1) has to play providence in providence when, by all rights, they should be matched up against Yale – if (as with the midwest bracket) we align the brackets according to the tourney seed. huh?

        so they’ll protect two #1s, but not the others? why protect only 2 #1s? why not 3 #1s? why not all 4 #1s? seems like a completely arbitrary decision, and no doubt why both uscho and college hockey news both got their projected brackets wrong in almost identical fashion.

        guess the committee can have their cake and eat it too.

  1. BU playing at 2pm EST is STUPID. How does the #1 seed not get a chance to have their fans at the game??? Kids are still in class and everyone else is working.

  2. My first take… Denver vs BC and Minn vs Minn-Duluth two most notable 1st Round match-ups. 2nd thoughts… BU vs Yale not so easy, Harvard vs Neb-Omaha a track meet, Miami vs PC a goalie duel. Have fun, diehards!

    • No way mich tech comes out of that bracket. I think that with either be scsu or (hopefully) UND. Mich tech has had a nice season but playing those two teams back to back will prove to be too much. I honestly think that scsu is probably more likly to come out of there. And Omaha, you must be kidding, they have been terrible the last 4 weeks.

      • Omaha is young, but Dean is known for winning with young teams. Mich Tech is solid up and down the lineup. They play good hockey. St. Cloud has played well but they have also lost 17 games for a reason.

        • Mich Tech has the 30-something toughest schedule. They were about .500 against teams with a winning record during the regular season. All I’m saying is don’t be shocked if stod_2 is right and SCSU beats them.

        • Yeah, I just think that UNO is maybe too young. You see some of the teams that Blaise won with at UND and they had some freshman but not as many as UNO has this year. Look anyone can beat anyone but UNO is certainly trending down, tough to have a lot of confidence going into this when you get swept on your home ice in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.

          • Plus I do believe they were missing their starting goaltender and an important forward…and then their best defender also got the boot in one game for checking from behind.

        • Has a lot to do with them playing better competition, in and out of conference. Give them eight more games against the bottom teams of the WCHA (or Big Ten or HE or ECAC) and change at least 6 of those losses to wins. Not saying Tech isn’t a good team, but don’t put too much weight in the number of losses without looking at who they came against.

        • Not so fast looks like Tech can’t beat anyone because they got 5 chances at MN State and went 0-4-1. Plus if you look at the RPI SOS it was 30 for MI Tech. Just saying they are going to have to beat to very good teams and if they get past SCSU it will be a very hostile environment. Again just my two cents but I think it is highly unlikely that Tech makes the FF.

          • I agree. Tech is making their first appearance on the big stage since the Stone Age too. That will pose problems under the big lights in a ravenous building full of UND fans.

      • Agreed, personally I think Omaha should have been sent to play BC instead of Denver…. but if i was Denver I would rather play Harvard in the midwest instead of BC out east…. Just my two cents.

    • I tend to disagree, been watching Tech all year and they just can’t seem to win the big games. Their goalie is capable of carrying them to the FF and their fore check can be intimidating, but again, the odds are against them in Fargo in my book.

  3. The committee just gave an enormous middle finger to the ECAC. Providence getting a home game instead of two higher ranked eastern teams (Yale, Qunnipiac… those two 2013 national finalists ring a bell? ) who are within driving distance of the East Regional – when you’re already bringing BC in to boost attendance – is an absolute joke. I have less of a problem with not swapping the Harvard/UNO and Minn/UMD matchups because, let’s face it… coming from a Harvard grad, Harvard ain’t helping attendance anywhere. But if bracket integrity is so important, why Providence in Providence? And if attendance is so important, why not bring the Minnesota teams all to South Bend? There are too many competing interests when this stuff is decided, but it’s pretty clear that to a lesser extent North Dakota and Yale and to a larger extent Miami and Quinnipiac got the shaft in all of this.

    • The committee alwasy gives the ECAC the middle finger but this year it could backfire. The ECAC team are spread over three regions and will be free from having to knock each other off. None of them are going down easy.

      • Agreed, although Quinnipiac is banged up and Yale isn’t quite as good this year as they have been and have to face a Jack Eichel-led BU team that is a near consensus pick for the National Championship game. Harvard obviously is playing the best and has the best draw, but is going to have to beat the overall no. 1 in order to get to the Frozen Four. Tough all around.

        • No tougher than any other conference. The “disrespect” thing doesn’t fly here. Yale was the last in, and didn’t “do” anything to get there. How much special consideration should they get?

          • No one should get special consideration, especially not the lowest ranked non-AHA team (Providence) in the tournament. You’re right…Yale should also be thanking its lucky stars that they are in and still somewhere their fans can make a (rather long but doable drive to). But Quinnipiac made it to the semis of their conference tourney, where they lost to the overall #9, and still got shipped West to play a higher seed, benefitting a team ranked below them. Keeping Yale or putting QU in Providence wouldn’t have been special consideration at all… they are both a close drive away, so it would have served both attendance and bracket integrity. Plus, they already moved BC to that regional for attendance, but declined to do something similar with Harvard (ranked higher) despite the fact that could have helped attendance at two separate regionals (albeit more because of Minnesota in South Bend and less because of Harvard in Manchester because the Crimson admittedly don’t travel particularly well anywhere). Too many competing interests and too much of a history of certain schools/conferences benefitting from attendance concerns to believe the committee when it cites bracket integrity.

    • Considering the ECAC teams are all ranked at the bottom of the pile (9, 13, 14, 15) I think they should be happy to be in ANY regional.

        • Although Minnesota vs Duluth will be a great game, both are having to play a higher ranked team in the first round than they should have to. Boston College and Michigan Tech are both lower ranked teams, without the added weight of an in-state rivalry.

  4. Very excited Omaha has a winnable bracket. Hope Dean Blais can get all those freshman playing like earlier this year. A couple lucky bounces and…. Who knows? Making plans for South Bend now….. guessing I wont need to buy tix in advance.

    • I live about 10 miles from Notre Dame’s rink. They were selling standing room only last week when I looked online. As of 8pm EDT, nothing was available. You might get something thru your school’s allotment, otherwise good luck with the secondary market.

      By the way, if you think UNO has a winnable bracket, you obviously haven’t seen Mankato play yet. I just saw them at the Ex, and they’re for real. Tech had ’em on the run going into the third, but then…

      • Um…NObody is unbeatable in the tournament, so yeah – Omaha does have a winnable bracket (as does every other team.) Mankato is good, yeah. But no way are they UNbeatable.

        • I think the most likely top seed to advance to the frozen four has to be Mankato. Their first game is a virtual lock whereas no one else has that luxury.

          • I would agree with that, I don’t see any way RIT stays with them in the first round. Even in the region finals they’ve got to like their odds, as Harvard and Omaha are both beatable.

  5. There are two fundamental truths in the NCAA tournament seeding of D-I College Hockey. These truthes repeat each year. The first is that HE and especially Boston College will be given
    the most advantageous seeding possible and the second is that the ECAC will be screwed. Looks like nothing has changed this year.

      • Again, two teams go West, two go East. The 4th #1 seed goes East, especially when #1 and #2 are Western teams and #3 is already East. Logical isn’t it?

        • Again, sacrificing bracket integrity to boost East attendance is logical too, but unfortunate for the #1 that has to play against teams with a “home” ice advantage. It would be better to get rid of the overlapping Northeast/East brackets, and move one to the mideast – Pittsburg, Columbus, etc.

    • The committee gave BC the most advantageous seeding? They are the #11 seed, so should be playing #6. Instead they are playing #5. How is that an advantage? Both Manchester and Providence are an hour away, so no advantage travel-wise either to go to Providence.

    • I think the only one of your picks that is even close is St Cloud. Three teams that were on the bubble for pretty much the last half of the season are all going to make it? Good luck with that.

        • Yeah I have Harvard winning that game. UNO has to be questioning themselves with the end of the regular season and playoffs they had. Pretty evenly matched teams probably but one playing better the last month and one going in the wrong direction. Got to give the nod to Harvard but I don’t see them winning two games this weekend. But I thought Yale had no shot a few years ago and we know how that turned out.

      • Yale and Providence would very surprising to me. However, I think Harvard has a reasonable chance of winning the South Bend region. They have shown the ability earlier in the season to be a Frozen Four-quality team. They had a brutal stretch mid-season, but seem to have picked it up recently, which makes them a dangerous draw. St. Cloud is playing really good hockey right now and is also coming on strong like Harvard, but I’d be absolutely shocked (and admittedly pretty pleased) if anyone other than UND comes out of Fargo.

        • It’s hard for me to see the top seeds not making it, but of course that is probably not likely. I just think UND will rebound. I think that if MN is going to play two great games as I see them getting by UMD but in a great, tough game and then BU v MN could be an epic game. Both of them can light the lamp and have a ton of talent offensively and I can see that being maybe the best game in the tourney as I think they match up really well with each other. But BU seems to be really tough. If Harvard made it past Mn State that would be surprising to me.

          My picks right now, and I may change my mind are that the 1 seeds all make it to Boston. Not sure if that has ever happened (probably has) but I would guess it is pretty rare. I hope that SCSU loses that first game, I don’t want UND to have to play them but I think that both SCSU and MI Tech will play a pretty tough game against each other and I hope it goes like 3 OT’s and they are wrecked for Saturday.

  6. I love how all the bloggers whine about who got sent where. Western bloggers always whine about everything. Start winning the tournament and then you won’t be blaming everything but your overrated teams. There are 10 western teams and only 6 eastern ones. And since you all think the east is week this year ( and every year ), it should be easy to have an all west Frozen Four, right??? Oh I forgot that 6 out of the last 7 winners were from the east.

    • 4 of the last 7 were from Boston. Take away your stacked stat over the last 7 years and the West is 21-7 for the National Championship since ’80. That’s text-book domination… the West is the best. It’s like comparing MLB to Triple A. Take away BU and BC and you’re comparing MLB to Double A at best…

      • This is like saying the National League is better than the American, because the Yankees have won the World Series 27 times, sheesh, and once you take away your “stacked stat”, the NL leads 47-36!

  7. As a BC fan, I’m resigned to a one-and-done fate by the Eagles. That’s OK; I have a bunch of Championship banners staring me in the face along the walls of my man-cave. This year, I’d like Miami to wear the slipper. They seem to have the measure of Denver lately, and ought to exit DD Center wearing the East crown. And wouldn’t it be the height of joy for a BC fan to see BU NOT make it to TD Garden after what, for them, was a stellar year?

    • As a minny fan I am hoping the winner of gophs and bulldogs will do just that and knock BU out (preferable the gophers), assuming that BU will get by Yale, but you never know what Yale could do. Here is to fingers crossed and the gophers playing up to the level they are capable of.

  8. The committee has a hard job but come on now. Michigan has 22 wins for crying out loud. Pairwise needs to place a higher value on wins! And how about offense? 143 goals isn’t enough for an invite?

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