Nine weeks out, and we’re just getting started

Harvard is the last of the No. 1 seeds as the PairWise Rankings stand nine weeks away from Selection Sunday (photo: Shelley M. Szwast).

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?

Those of you who 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.

I am the only prognosticator to have correctly predicted the exact brackets for the NCAA tournament in four of the last five years, 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 2016, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 20.

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 — Albany, N.Y.; Northeast — Worcester, Mass.; Midwest — Cincinnati; West — St. Paul, Minn.).

• 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 three host institutions this year: Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul (Albany is hosted by ECAC Hockey, not by Rensselaer or Union).

• 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 2016 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, and the conference leaders through all games of Jan. 12:

1 Quinnipiac
2 North Dakota
3 St. Cloud State
4 Harvard
5 Cornell
6 Providence
7 Omaha
8 Michigan
9 Boston University
10 Boston College
11 Notre Dame
12 Yale
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 Denver
15 Penn State
16 Minnesota-Duluth
17t Rensselaer
17t Minnesota State
21 Holy Cross

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Holy Cross
Big Ten: Michigan (greater number of conference wins)
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston College
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 teams that are not are Minnesota State and Holy Cross.

From there, we can start looking at the ties and bubbles in a more detailed fashion. We break all of our ties based upon the RPI, but there are none this week.

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

1 Quinnipiac
2 North Dakota
3 St. Cloud State
4 Harvard
5 Cornell
6 Providence
7 Omaha
8 Michigan
9 Boston University
10 Boston College
11 Notre Dame
12 Yale
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 Denver
15 Minnesota State
16 Holy Cross

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Quinnipiac, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Harvard

No. 2 seeds: Cornell, Providence, Omaha, Michigan

No. 3 seeds: Boston University, Boston College, Notre Dame, Yale

No. 4 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Denver, Minnesota State, Holy Cross

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Quinnipiac is placed in the East Regional in Albany.
No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in St. Paul.
No. 3 St. Cloud State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 4 Harvard is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intraconference 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 Michigan is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 7 Omaha is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Providence is placed in No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 5 Cornell is placed in No. 4 Harvard’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 Boston University is placed in No. 8 Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 10 Boston College is placed in No. 7 Omaha’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Notre Dame is placed in No. 6 Providence’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 12 Yale is placed in No. 5 Cornell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

Since Holy Cross is a host institution, it must be placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.

No. 16 Holy Cross is sent to No. 4 Harvard’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 15 Minnesota State is sent to No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 14 Denver is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 13 Massachusetts-Lowell is sent to No. 3 St. Cloud State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Albany):
15 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Michigan vs. 8 Boston University

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Holy Cross vs. 4 Harvard
12 Yale vs. 5 Cornell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Notre Dame vs. 6 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Denver vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

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

We have Yale vs. Cornell, Notre Dame vs. Providence and Denver vs. North Dakota.

Let’s solve these.

The first thing we do is swap Cornell and Boston University.

East Regional (Albany):
15 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Michigan vs. 5 Cornell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Holy Cross vs. 4 Harvard
12 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Notre Dame vs. 6 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Denver vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

Now we have to solve Denver vs. North Dakota.

Let’s take a closer look at the 1-4 bracketing here.

Because we had to put Holy Cross in Worcester, we have an interesting item here. We aren’t protecting the No. 1 seed, which is Quinnipiac.

So let’s solve this by swapping Quinnipiac and Harvard.

East Regional (Albany):
15 Minnesota State vs. 4 Harvard
9 Michigan vs. 5 Cornell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Holy Cross vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Notre Dame vs. 6 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Denver vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

Now how to solve the rest of this? We can try to move Massachusetts-Lowell back East, but that doesn’t work because you create another matchup between two NCHC teams.

Thus, Denver has to go to Albany and Minnesota State comes to St. Paul.

East Regional (Albany):
14 Denver vs. 4 Harvard
9 Michigan vs. 5 Cornell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Holy Cross vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 St. Cloud State
11 Notre Dame vs. 6 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Boston College vs. 7 Omaha

Now we have to solve Notre Dame-Providence.

The easy one here is to swap Notre Dame, Michigan and Boston College around.

Michigan has to come to Cincinnati unless we move Providence. But the 3-6 potential matchup is what the NCAA likes, thus we keep that intact and move Michigan to Cincinnati.

We now take geography into account, and thus, Boston College goes to Albany and Notre Dame to St. Paul.

East Regional (Albany):
14 Denver vs. 4 Harvard
10 Boston College vs. 5 Cornell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Holy Cross vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan vs. 6 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 North Dakota
11 Notre Dame vs. 7 Omaha

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

So that is it. My bracket for the week.

But remember: There are so many 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 (Albany):
14 Denver vs. 4 Harvard
10 Boston College vs. 5 Cornell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Holy Cross vs. 1 Quinnipiac
12 Yale vs. 8 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 St. Cloud State
9 Michigan vs. 6 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Minnesota State vs. 2 North Dakota
11 Notre Dame vs. 7 Nebraska-Omaha

Conference breakdowns

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

A year ago

What did the first Bracketology last year look like at the beginning of January?

Let’s take a look.

The brackets I predicted as of Jan. 6, 2015:

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

And the actual bracket from last year (Editor’s note: An earlier version showed last year’s predicted bracket in this space, not the actual bracket. It has been revised below to show the actual bracket):

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Harvard vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Yale vs. 3 Boston University
10 Minnesota vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

East Regional (Providence):
15 Providence vs. 4 Miami
11 Boston College vs. 5 Denver

Who was in and who was out from the first Bracketology to the actual bracket?

Out: Robert Morris, Penn State, Vermont, Massachusetts-Lowell, Bowling Green

In: RIT, Yale, Boston College, Denver, St. Cloud State

We can’t really count Robert Morris/RIT because it was the only autobid from Atlantic Hockey. And Penn State was in the initial one because it was leading the Big Ten at that moment.

So things do change a lot.

82 COMMENTS

  1. The reality is that the teams on the outside failed to win enough non conference games. I am a Lowell guy and I saw them get crushed by Michigan at home. They also struggled against UMass. My guess is that if you look at the teams who are scrambling there are one or two games they wish they had back. Say what you will about the Tech and Minn State and
    easy schedules, they won the games they were supposed to win; many times, quite convincingly.

    • They always do…….because they NC$$ just wants east teams to get to the FF. Everytime BC has to travel west, they lose. I believe its only been twice in about 10 or so years that they have had to fly….and they lost round 1 each time. They do realize that their “fans” never leave the 495 loop? Kind of like BU fans…..anyone else see Manchester last year? BU is playing and its not even half full.

      • BC/BU always stay east. Other than 2004 (World Arena) I can’t remember the last time DU was not sent to an Eastern/Northeastern Regional. It doesn’t matter whether we were a #1, #2, #3, or #4 seed. I predict that will be the same if DU makes it this year. Can I brag about this prediction like Jayson? I hope his arms don’t get sore patting himself on his back.

        • I’m not a DU fan, but the 2004 Denver team could have played anywhere and still won the National Championship. I think they flew into Boston for the FF that year. In 2005 they beat an exceptionally talented UNH in Amherst MA (Northeast Regional) then went on the win another National Championship. In my opinion, Denver has a history of playing well in the tourney in east coast venues.

          • Unfortunately, not lately in the East or Northeast Regionals. Though we DU ans don’t “travel” that well, we do have a decent following at Western Regionals. I would like to see us stay in the west every couple of years, even having to play other NCHC teams in a Regional Final. The 2004 Finals against Maine was a classic 1-0 affair. The last 1:34 Maine had a 6 on 3 advantage,and Adam Berkoel was unbelievable. You are correct, it was at the Fleet Center.

          • That’s the bad thing with the stupid nc$$. They just see a team that has to fly anyway, so why not just send them across the country.

          • Except the NC$$, and never-wrong author of this blog, don’t take into account of what happens when the team that is counted on to boost attendance figures loses the first game in the Regional. Use Providence Regional last year to prove my point, after DU beat BC their fans bailed. UND fans are the exception, look at attendance for Pepsi Center final game in 2008. They stayed and attended final even though UND got beat in semi-final. NC$$ needs to quit using “attendance” as a reason to set up the brackets the way they want.

          • Yeah if the NCAA really cared about “attendance” they would try a new system. I still think the next best option to at least try is two super regionals where 8 teams play and you could match them up so the two winners that weekend were playing each other in the FF in two weeks. One bracket plays Thu/Sat the other plays Fri/Sun. Would make for a great bunch of hockey games to watch and bring in 8 teams fans to each of the two locations.

      • Not true about BC fans not traveling outside of the 495 loop in MA. I saw a couple of BC fans at the FF in Philly a couple of years ago. One guy had a BC hat, but he was wearing a Maine jersey. I counted him as a BC fan.

    • They always do…….because they NC$$ just wants east teams to get to the FF. Everytime BC has to travel west, they lose. I believe its only been twice in about 10 or so years that they have had to fly….and they lost round 1 each time. They do realize that their “fans” never leave the 495 loop? Kind of like BU fans…..anyone else see Manchester last year? BU is playing and its not even half full.

      • BC/BU always stay east. Other than 2004 (World Arena) I can’t remember the last time DU was not sent to an Eastern/Northeastern Regional. It doesn’t matter whether we were a #1, #2, #3, or #4 seed. I predict that will be the same if DU makes it this year. Can I brag about this prediction like you do, Jayson? I hope Jayson’s arms don’t get sore patting himself on his back.

        • I’m not a DU fan, but the 2004 Denver team could have played anywhere and still won the National Championship. I think they flew into Boston for the FF that year. In 2005 they beat an exceptionally talented UNH in Amherst MA (Northeast Regional) then went on the win another National Championship. In my opinion, Denver has a history of playing well in the tourney in east coast venues.

          • Unfortunately, not lately in the East or Northeast Regionals. Though we DU ans don’t “travel” that well, we do have a decent following at Western Regionals. I would like to see us stay in the west every couple of years, even having to play other NCHC teams in a Regional Final. The 2004 Finals against Maine was a classic 1-0 affair. The last 1:34 Maine had a 6 on 3 advantage,and Adam Berkoel was unbelievable. You are correct, it was at the Fleet Center.

          • That’s the bad thing with the stupid nc$$. They just see a team that has to fly anyway, so why not just send them across the country.

          • Except the NC$$, and never-wrong author of this blog, don’t take into account of what happens when the team that is counted on to boost attendance figures loses the first game in the Regional. Use Providence Regional last year to prove my point, after DU beat BC their fans bailed. UND fans are the exception, look at attendance for Pepsi Center final game in 2008. They stayed and attended final even though UND got beat in semi-final. NC$$ needs to quit using “attendance” as a reason to set up the brackets the way they want.

          • Yeah if the NCAA really cared about “attendance” they would try a new system. I still think the next best option to at least try is two super regionals where 8 teams play and you could match them up so the two winners that weekend were playing each other in the FF in two weeks. One bracket plays Thu/Sat the other plays Fri/Sun. Would make for a great bunch of hockey games to watch and bring in 8 teams fans to each of the two locations.

      • Not true about BC fans not traveling outside of the 495 loop in MA. I saw a couple of BC fans at the FF in Philly a couple of years ago. One guy had a BC hat, but he was wearing a Maine jersey. I counted him as a BC fan.

          • No, that’s not what he says. He gives us his January 6, 2015 predicted bracket, then the “actual bracket” for the tournament. His point for doing that, as he wrote, was to show how much the field can change from early January to tournament time. The problem is that his “actual bracket” isn’t an actual bracket from anything.

          • Looked good until LeLeggia major penalty. I was there and still can’t understand NC$$, and Jayson, using “attendance” as a reason for keeping teams east or west. After we beat BC, there were “generously” about 1,500 fans at the Sunday finals. They were moving people down to the lower level to make it look like there were more people there.

          • Part of the issue in my opinion is also the cost of the NCAA tournament games. They really go way up when you go from a conference tournament to the NCAA tournament, plus they don’t serve beer either. Make it more reasonably priced, and attendance would likely improve at least some.

          • No, that’s not what he says. He gives us his January 6, 2015 predicted bracket, then the “actual bracket” for the tournament. His point for doing that, as he wrote, was to show how much the field can change from early January to tournament time. The problem is that his “actual bracket” isn’t an actual bracket from anything.

          • Looked good until LeLeggia major penalty. I was there and still can’t understand NC$$, and Jayson, using “attendance” as a reason for keeping teams east or west. After we beat BC, there were “generously” about 1,500 fans at the Sunday finals. They were moving people down to the lower level to make it look like there were more people there.

          • Part of the issue in my opinion is also the cost of the NCAA tournament games. They really go way up when you go from a conference tournament to the NCAA tournament, plus they don’t serve beer either. Make it more reasonably priced, and attendance would likely improve at least some.

  2. There is a problem with the final bracket. Michigan is ranked #8 by PairWise which makes them a 2 seed. But when he creates the brackets he switches #9 BU and #8 Michigan. He then treats Michigan as a 3 seed and they end up playing a fellow 2 seed Providence, which could not happen.

  3. There is a problem with the final bracket. Michigan is ranked #8 by PairWise which makes them a 2 seed. But when he creates the brackets he switches #9 BU and #8 Michigan. He then treats Michigan as a 3 seed and they end up playing a fellow 2 seed Providence, which could not happen.

  4. Interesting, early analysis. It seems like every year, in the days prior to the tournament selection, some deserving team barely gets squeezed out of the 16 team NCAA tournament due to an upset in one of conference championships or some other event beyond their control. While the D-1 Men’s Ice Hockey tournament selection process is far from perfect, it gives some hope to mediocre teams who find a way to win at the right time, against the right opponents. I believe there is an undeniable problem with attendance at the various regionals.

  5. Interesting, early analysis. It seems like every year, in the days prior to the tournament selection, some deserving team barely gets squeezed out of the 16 team NCAA tournament due to an upset in one of conference championships or some other event beyond their control. While the D-1 Men’s Ice Hockey tournament selection process is far from perfect, it gives some hope to mediocre teams who find a way to win at the right time, against the right opponents. I believe there is an undeniable problem with attendance at the various regionals.

      • If ND or SCSU move to #2 seed, 5th-8th, they will both end up in St. Paul anyway. That way NC$$ would eliminate at least one NCHC team. Truthfully, moving Sioux to Cincinnati would make more sense, as far as assuring larger attendance.

    • Just the higher seeded team and if they put UND in St Paul they will get a huge turnout. If they put UND in Cincy they will travel but not as well.

      • It is not so much that we rabidly travel to follow our team (though many do) as we live all over the country and if/when the boys play nearby we make the trip to see them…

        • Being in Denver, I would agree but for a location like Cincy, not sure that there is a huge population of UND fans in that region. Maybe there is but I would bet that the NCAA will do whatever it can to keep UND in MN. It virtually guarantees at least one location will be sold out. If they send UND to Cincy it could help with attendance but I doubt the place is a sell out.

      • If ND or SCSU move to #2 seed, 5th-8th, they will both end up in St. Paul anyway. That way NC$$ would eliminate at least one NCHC team. Truthfully, moving Sioux to Cincinnati would make more sense, as far as assuring larger attendance.

    • Just the higher seeded team and if they put UND in St Paul they will get a huge turnout. If they put UND in Cincy they will travel but not as well.

      • It is not so much that we rabidly travel to follow our team (though many do) as we live all over the country and if/when the boys play nearby we make the trip to see them…

        • Being in Denver, I would agree but for a location like Cincy, not sure that there is a huge population of UND fans in that region. Maybe there is but I would bet that the NCAA will do whatever it can to keep UND in MN. It virtually guarantees at least one location will be sold out. If they send UND to Cincy it could help with attendance but I doubt the place is a sell out.

  6. Would one more swap, BU and Pc, make for more northeast/MW balance? a 6/12 and an 8/9 matchup, with 6/12 in the QU bracket, rather than the 8/12? Keeps Mich MW and Yale in NE for fans and nice possible 2d rounds.

  7. Would one more swap, BU and Pc, make for more northeast/MW balance? a 6/12 and an 8/9 matchup, with 6/12 in the QU bracket, rather than the 8/12? Keeps Mich MW and Yale in NE for fans and nice possible 2d rounds.

  8. a little advance guess at the next bracket. Assuming he still uses winning % and HC sneaks in ahead of RoMo, then HC is #16 and must be at home. Sounds like a good place to put #1 QU. Swapping #10 Yale and #9 BC avoids an ECAC head-to-head with #7 Cornell, so send the 7/9 to worcester and send the #8 Michigan / #10 Yale match out to Cincinatti or St Paul with #2 St. Cloud / whoever the WCHA rep is at #15. Providence to Albany, NoDak to whereever St Cloud doesn’t end up. #13 Lowell and #14 Denver need to be swapped to avoid intraconference 1st rounds, creating a Denver/ PC pair in Albany and a Lowell / NoDak pair. Gonna guess #6 Harvard and #11 ND end up in Cinci, and #5 UNO / #12 BU end up in Albany. Gives Albany PC, UNO, BU, Denver. Maybe NoDak, Harvard, Notre Dame, Lowell in Cinci and St Cloud, Michigan, Yale, and WCHA in St Paul?

  9. a little advance guess at the next bracket. Assuming he still uses winning % and HC sneaks in ahead of RoMo, then HC is #16 and must be at home. Sounds like a good place to put #1 QU. Swapping #10 Yale and #9 BC avoids an ECAC head-to-head with #7 Cornell, so send the 7/9 to worcester and send the #8 Michigan / #10 Yale match out to Cincinatti or St Paul with #2 St. Cloud / whoever the WCHA rep is at #15. Providence to Albany, NoDak to whereever St Cloud doesn’t end up. #13 Lowell and #14 Denver need to be swapped to avoid intraconference 1st rounds, creating a Denver/ PC pair in Albany and a Lowell / NoDak pair. Gonna guess #6 Harvard and #11 ND end up in Cinci, and #5 UNO / #12 BU end up in Albany. Gives Albany PC, UNO, BU, Denver. Maybe NoDak, Harvard, Notre Dame, Lowell in Cinci and St Cloud, Michigan, Yale, and WCHA in St Paul?

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