Three weeks out, and wholesale changes could help attendance

Boston University and Yale played in the first round of the 2015 NCAA tournament and could be in line to meet again under the current PairWise Rankings (photo: Matt Eisenberg).

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 will wind up come selection time.

It’s a look into what are 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 20.

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.

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.

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 — 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 four host institutions this year: Union in Albany, Holy Cross in Worcester, Miami in Cincinnati and Minnesota in St. Paul.

• Seedings will not be switched. To avoid undesirable first-round matchups, including intraconference 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 (PWR), and the conference leaders through all games of Feb. 23:

1 Quinnipiac
2 St. Cloud State
3 Boston College
4 North Dakota
5 Providence
6 Michigan
7 Yale
8t Denver
8t Notre Dame
8t Boston University
11 Omaha
12 Harvard
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 Cornell
15 Penn State
16t Minnesota
16t Miami
16t Michigan Tech
23t Robert Morris
23t Minnesota State

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Robert Morris
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Quinnipiac
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: St. Cloud State (Based on total goals tiebreaker)
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, Minnesota and Robert Morris.

From there, we can start looking at the ties and bubbles in a more detailed fashion. We have a three-way tie for eighth, so we break that using the RPI.

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

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

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

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

No. 2 seeds: Providence, Michigan, Yale, Denver

No. 3 seeds: Notre Dame, Boston University, Omaha, Harvard

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

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

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

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 Denver is placed in No. 1 Quinnipiac’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 7 Yale is placed in No. 2 St. Cloud State’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Michigan is placed in No. 3 Boston College’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Providence is placed in No. 4 North Dakota’s regional, the Midwest 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 Notre Dame is placed in No. 8 Denver’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 10 Boston University is placed in No. 7 Yale’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Omaha is placed in No. 6 Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Harvard is placed in No. 5 Providence’s regional, the Midwest Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

Since Minnesota is a host institution, we must place Minnesota in the West Regional.

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

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Albany):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 Boston College
11 Omaha vs. 6 Michigan

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
9 Notre Dame vs 8 Denver

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 North Dakota
12 Harvard vs. 5 Providence

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 St. Cloud State
10 Boston University vs. 7 Yale

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

We move onto attendance aspects of the bracket.

The second and third band games are where we move matchups. How do we move them? We move matchups to maintain bracket integrity as close as possible.

Thus, Providence, as the No. 5 overall seed, should be as close to that as possible. Therefore, we move Harvard vs. Providence to Albany and the bracket led by No. 3 seed Boston College.

In turn, Boston University vs. Yale moves to Worcester.

Then we move No. 8 seed Denver’s first-round game against No. 9 Notre Dame to the bracket featuring No. 2 seed St. Cloud State. And as a result we move Michigan to Cincinnati.

East Regional (Albany):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 Boston College
12 Harvard vs. 5 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Boston University vs. 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 North Dakota
11 Omaha vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Notre Dame vs 8 Denver

Once again, we have the same 16 teams in the tournament, and that’s about all we can do 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 (Albany):
15 Robert Morris vs. 3 Boston College
12 Harvard vs. 5 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Minnesota State vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Boston University vs. 7 Yale

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 North Dakota
11 Omaha vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Notre Dame vs 8 Denver

Conference breakdowns

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

On the move

In: None

Out: None

Attendance woes?

Cincinnati is still iffy, even with North Dakota and Michigan there.

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Albany):
15 Minnesota State vs. 4 Boston College
12 Harvard vs. 5 Providence

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
16 Robert Morris vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Denver

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 3 North Dakota
11 Boston University vs. 6 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
14 Minnesota vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Omaha vs. 7 Notre Dame

163 COMMENTS

  1. Still no love for Castleton I see. Continuously picked every weekend to lose and they always pull through. No love in the rankings, no love in the blogs, well I’m glad they kicked ass this weekend and proved once again they belong. Unlike the other top ten teams that continue to fall each week.

  2. I’d like to know who votes in these polls or whose smoking Norwich’s Pole. Unfortunately most people can’t watch DIII hockey on TV like DI otherewise an honest hocky voter would see Norwich is not the team it was last year… not yet anyway. Bowdoin and Colby wins were overated. And I guess losses to unranked Plattsburg twice, Manhattanville, Weslyan, and Castleton all supposedly lesser teams, doesn’t count. Get a grip voters how can a team stay in the same position after such losses… five to be exact.

  3. Todd

    Thanks for the update. I agree that Notre Dame is waiting for a football/Big East resolution to be complete. The last thing Notre Dame wants to do is to accept an invite to NCHC, WCHA or Hockey East, only to be forced to join the Big 10 (and by extension BTHC) between now and 2013.

    They can see the acrimony that was caused by Texas A&M, Syracuse and Pittsburgh’s moves, as well as the threatened moves by a host of other schools. Notre Dame strongly desires to keep its football independence and not be seen as burning any bridges, especially in this “me-first, do what is right for the university/league” mode that has infected the minds of those charge with running college sports.

    • I do not think the Big Ten would accept them with only a partial commitment – either all sports or none. Their desire for independence in football will limit their options for other sports.

      • Anyone that has heard the Big Ten speak on the subject of Notre Dame KNOWS that Notre Dame would join based on football and all sports would follow. Notre Dame does not want to join ANY conference for football and lose its NBC contract.

        Your points are the same as what Todd posted and what I posted. There is no way that Notre Dame joins Big Ten or Big Ten Hockey Conference unless Notre Dame could no longer survive as a legitimate independent in football.

    • I would have to assume nothing.  The teams(some) that will start the 2013-14 season have a rich hockey tradition and the WCHA as a whole, I cannot forsee collapsing ever!

    • I think that they lose their seat at the D-I table, which means they cannot vote on D-I policies, be on committees, etc. I wonder if the NCAA will create a hockey exemption for this circumstance, since there is no D-II hockey level.

      I do not think this changes the autobid, at-large bids or anything else related to hockey. I think it means that they are affliated with D-I for hockey but the league will not have a vote the way that AHA, HE, ECAC, NCHC and BTHC do or the way that CCHA and WCHA have currently.

      The NCAA will have two years to work on it in any case, since WCHA (and CCHA by the way) will meet the requirements until realignment is officially official.

      • You are correct Joe – only full DI institutions can vote on DI policies, rules, etc.  It changes nothing in regards to AQ, tourney selection, etc.  Given the relative small number of DI hockey schools and the fact it’s a relatively tight knit community (believe it or not it still is) – there will always be someone who will stand up for the interests of non DI schools –  whether they’re in thier conference or not.  It would be impossible to do something to screw over the DII WCHA schools without doing the same to a DII school in your own conference (in the NCHC’s case SCSU and UMD).

        One other point – the NCAA is conference neutral.  In a pure sense anyway.  Member schools vote as being DI members as a whole not necessarily as a representative of a particular conference.  At least that’s how I understand it. 

        DII schools can play DI hockey and offer the full number scholarships by the fact the NCAA does not offer a DII hockey championship. 

        • Thanks for the confirmation. I do not think Hockey East, AHA, ECAC or NCHC with D-II and D-III members will ignore their needs. I also highly do not the BTHC will attempt anything in hockey that would be detrimental to D-II/D-III programs. WCHA seems to be in decent shape in 2013-2014 no matter what happens next.

    • Air Force could always join the WCHA as a D-1 member. Air Force is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado yet plays in Atlantic Hockey. Air Force would fit in the WCHA. Let’s hope that happens.

  4. I predict that Mankato and Bemdji end up in the NCHC  to make 10 teams. 

    The fourAHA and Bowling Green end up in the WCHA to make 12 teams.

    • James, you’re NUTS to think the NCHC will want Mankato or Bemidji joining.  The NCHC is looking for schools that will ‘enable’ them larger media coverage, higher competitive levels, and more funds for the conference monopoly.  The two schools you mention do none of those things for the conference.

      I bet they will stay fat/happy with the 8 teams they have now until such time other large schools want to jump ship and commit to a top-level D1 hockey program.  They’re not going to extend invitations to MSU or BSU and possibly close the door from other elite schools looking over the fence and jumping ship.

      The conference only need 8 teams for automatic tourney bids.  They are now sitting in the drivers seat waiting for other moves.  Trust me…  ;-)

      • NCHC only needed six teams to have an autobid. They had that when they founded. However, the overall point you were making is quite valid.

        Under 10 teams, you can work around not having an even number of teams, especially with Alabama-Huntsville looking for assistance and with the BTHC at only 6 teams, they would be willing to split weeknds between BTHC and NCHC for a portion of their teams during conference play.

        I am not sure what programs are out there big enough to jump, other than the very obvious Notre Dame, which has a gigantic financial reason to wait and Bowling Green, which probably only goes to NCHC as a pair with Notre Dame.

        NCHC and BTHC are probably also content to wait for other large programs to come into existence in the mode of Penn State. The Big Ten schools are obvious is not very willing. For NCHC, it would be large public schools west of the Mississippi. I am not sure what, if any interest there is today, but do not discount the NHL/AHL presence to increase interest. That is what happened at the high school level and below in Massachusetts after Bobby Orr played for the Bruins. Then again, college hockey already had a foothold.

      • Then why did they invite St. Cloud? St. Cloud and Mankato have similar sized instituions and budgets and are both close to the Twin Cities market. Mankato plays in a good facility (better than NHC). They both have had hockey for over 40 years. The only difference is that St. Cloud was allowed to move up to D1 a few years before Mankato.

        • St. Cloud has a much bigger fan base than Mankato (look at attendance) and has been much more competitive. As a Bulldog fan I have no love for SCSU but to compare them to Mankato is laughable.  SCSU bring more to the table than Mankato ever could.  The NCHC could care less about keeping the MN schools together just like they could care less about keeping the MAC schools together.  I think that the majority of Bulldog fans get much more fired up when UND and SCSU come to Amsoil then Mankato and BSU.  That is not a shot at BSU they are a good hockey team that will probably be the top dog in the new WCHA.         

      • If Notre Dame, Boston College, and Boston University all have said no who else are they going to invite to keep all four Minnesota schools together (UMD, Mankato, St Cloud, and Bemdji)

        The Minnesota schools arent going to want to travel to Bowling Green, Cansius, Erie, Niagara, and Robert Morris if these AHA teams join.

          • Their is an effort to keep the Alaska and UP schools together.

            Why not keep the Minnesota and MAC schools intact?

            Rivals are important in sports and by seperating the teams of rivals only hurts sports.

          • So, who is BSU’s rival?  Mankato?  And why could they not play them in non-conference games?
            Nope, not seeing any value in keeping Minnesota teams together in the same league simply to do so.

          • The value is in decreased travel costs, and increased ability for fans to travel between conference games.  Nope, there is some value there.

            I do, however, agree that the NCHC will snub both schools since MSU has not accomplished much in the current WCHA, and Bemidji is a smaller school that’s new to the WCHA.  Hope they keep that mind set for now, as BSU has proven to be a menace in post season play.

            By the way, BSU had a growing rivalry with NoDak (mostly for geographical reasons), UMD and UNO for sure.  If anyone doesn’t want them in the NCHC, it’s Omaha:)

        • Rumor from the Sentinel Times in Bowling Green is that the University of Buffalo will be moving to NCAA Div. I.  Which then save Bowling Green and form a league with Niagara, Canisius, Mercyhurst, and  Robert Morris.  Which would give them 6 and an autobid.  Notre Dame can piss off!

      • I understand your writing off Mankato and Bemidji due to their lack of major D1 hockey tradition and history, but let’s not call MSU a small school.  Here’s a breakdown of the student body sizes (2010) at the 8 member NCHC schools, along with Mankato and BSU:

        Colorado College – 2,011
        University of Denver – 11,842
        University of Minnesota, Duluth – 11,729
        Miami of Ohio – 17,267
        University of Nebraska at Omaha – 14,903
        University of North Dakota – 14,076
        St. Cloud State University – 18,319
        Western Michigan University – 25,045

        Bemidji State University – 5,365
        Minnesota State University, Mankato – 15,393

        You read that correctly.  Mankato is the 4th largest university on the list.  Their downfall is that they are located in the third smallest (only to Oxford, OH and Bemidji) city out of the group.  Add in the fact that the state of Minnesota seems hell-bent on maintaining only one full D1 university, and a large collection of MSU students still cheer for the Gophers.

        I still argue, though, that if both North Dakota and South Dakota can have TWO D1 schools each, it’s absolutely ridiculous that SCSU, MSU, and UMD aren’t D1.  I guarantee you if Mankato or SCSU was D1 across the board, they wouldn’t have both been afterthoughts at the start of this whole process.

        I’m happy SCSU got in, but I’m bummed Mankato was excluded.  From an all-around standpoint, as a whole, SCSU and Mankato are twin schools.  They’re both D1 in hockey, both D2 across the rest of their sports, both are situated in okay-sized cities, and both are located about an hour from the Twin Cities.

        Along the same lines, I’m also happy that UMD got in.  However, one has to wonder.  If they hadn’t just won their first hockey National Championship, and had the state of Minnesota not funded a brand new arena for them, would they have been as highly sought after?  I realize their D1 hockey history stretches way back, but would that have been enough to make an otherwise D2 institution a must add?
         

        I hope all of this conference realignment works out well for everyone, but man do I wish my Mavericks had been one of the final adds to the NCHC.  Maybe someday.

  5. If Notre Dame joins NCHC, location-wise BGSU makes sense as the 10th NCHC team for scheduling reasons.  For a balanced schedule, every team in a 10 team league would play each of the other 9 teams 3 times, twice at one school and once at the other school, for a total of 27 league games.  BGSU, Miami, Notre Dame, and WMU would give the NCHC 4 eastern schools.  If Notre Dame is paired with WMU and Miami is paired with BGSU, each western school could play 1 home game and 2 away games with the two schools in one pairing and 2 home games and 1 away game with the two schools in the other pairing, with the single away games scheduled the same weekend.  For example, a weekend could have Denver at Miami and CC at BGSU Friday evening and Denver at BGSU and CC at Miami Saturday evening.  The same thing would work with Notre Dame and WMU.  For teams traveling west, CC and Denver would be paired.  The four northwestern schools are not as close, but something could probably be worked out.   

    • The model is the Hockey East model and it is very stable. Going further with the Hockey East model, before UVM joined, the 9-team league was also very stable, as each school rotated during the conference play to play ECAC teams. The Clarkson/St Lawrence pod was very familiar for the Hockey East schools.

      During the early years of Hockey East, there was a lot of inter-conference play during conference play, as the ECAC found it convenient. Expect the same from BTHC and WCHA with respect to NCHC, although I suspect more with BTHC from a simple gate/television perspective. I foresee a short-term series of interleague play like Minnesota/North Dakota, Ohio State/Miami being a sample. Just like old Hockey East or current MLB interleague, some matchups are naturals and some will be made just to fill up the calendar.
       

    • 27 league games would not work its not an even number so some teams would play 14 home and 13 away while the others would do the opposite.  That wouldn’t fly with the coaches considering how big the home ice advantage will be in this league.  If it were a 9 team league there would be 28 games.  My guess would be 6 of the teams you would play 4 times (1 home series and 1 away series) and 1 team you would only play in a home series and the other only in an away series.  I would guess it would be on a rotating cycle as to the 2 teams you would only play 1 series a year against.    

    • I see no value in letting Bowling Green into the NCHC.  Please tell me what could possibly make them WANT to include them.  They do not play to the same competitive standard so they would simply be “Ring up competition.”
      Nothing says you have to have an even number of teams in a league, particularly in the premier league whose members will be sought after for non-conference games.

      • While I don’t disagree with your point about Bowling Green’s lack of competitiveness (especially recently), the thing about BGSU is that it is Miami’s #1 rival…both geographically and athletically.

        Miami did not have the clout to demand that the NCHC include BGSU in the first go-round, but I could see the folks in Oxford making some noise to get them in now…particularly if Notre Dame doesn’t joint.

        • Okay, so all the prinicipal teams should demand their traditional rivals be allowed in?  Miami will still have the option of playing BGSU in non-conference play just like UND will have the option of playing Minneosta and Bmidji State.  And since the league is smaller they will have MORE opporunities for non-conference games.

      • Bowling Green might want to fold because the new WCHA would kill Bowling Greens hockey program just in traveling.

        The NCHC would be good for Bowling Green because of the rivals of WMU and Miami.

        The AHA might be Bowling Greens best bet. Time will tell.

  6. I think the CCHA is going to be saved. Bowling Green State would have announced their move by now to the WCHA. There really is no reason for BGSU to wait and due their ‘due dilligence’ on the WCHA. I don’t think the NCHC wants Bowling Green State and is happy with the 8 schools the NCHC has. BGSU, Notre Dame, the 4 Atlantic Hockey schools(now with 18 scholarships) and Alabama-Huntsville(saving the program) can form a 7 team CCHA. Just work with that. The Atlantic Hockey schools won’t join the WCHA because they don’t want to travel to Alaska twice each year. Notre Dame doesn’t want to go conference hopping while it waits for the football situation to be resolved. Just stay in the CCHA until the football conference situation gets resolved. Hopefully by then, the CCHA will be able to add new schools that start up a hockey program. Wayne State maybe? ND will leave the CCHA at that point.

  7. The WCHA Women’s conference is a mess! Commissioner McLeod ought to kick out all of the NCHC and Big Ten schools, tell Bemidji and MN State to move to the CHA, and just shut it down. Don’t let the NCHC and Big Ten schools use the WCHA name is any way, shape or form.

  8. You should further split D-I into BCS, FBS, FCS, and no football.  It really reveals the dynamics at play.  For example, UNH is FCS, BGSU is FBS, while the BTHC is BCS.

    BCS (9):  BTHC, ND, BC, UConn
    FBS (7):  Miami, BGSU, UNH, USAFA, USMA, UMass*, WMU
    FCS (12):  HC, SHU, Colgate, Ivy Group, Maine, UNH, UND
    None (10):  Canisius, NIA, RMU, BU, NE, PVD, UVM, DU, UNO, QU

    (I think that’s right)

  9. Y’all are assuming that Bowling Green will continue it’s Hockey Program.
    Quite frankly, I don’t see it happening. As for Notre Dame, Look for them to join the B-10 in a couple of years. Otherwise, they would have announced their joining HE by now.
    Will the Wisconsin and Minnesota Women’s Hockey programs stay with the WCHA? Seeing how MSU and um have no intention of moving their Club programs
    to Varsity status.

      • Yeah, Notre Dame being lured into the Big Ten for hockey would be an obvous trap to bring their considerable viewing audience to football and basketball as well.  I do not see Notre Dame being that unwise.

      • @Ring_of_Fire as I read between the lines of your comment I agree. The Big Ten will only accept them in if they agree to be “All in” – as in all sports. Their desire to keep football independent will keep them out ot the Big Ten. Several years ago the Big Ten DID extend an offer. I thought they would be an EXCELLENT addition. Half their schedule was against Big Ten teams. They had an academic reputation comparable to Big Ten Schools. They declined. They did not want to share their football broadcast contract as they would have been required to do. I said then, as did Bo, “To Hell With Notre Dame”.

    • Ssweet

      There is one and only one reason Notre Dame joins the Big 10 in all sports and by extension joins the BTHC. That reason would be SEC goes to 16 teams, ACC goes to 16 teams, PAC-12 becomes PAC-16 and Big-12/Big East get picked apart for the better remaining schools like Texas, Oklahoma, UConn, Missouri etc in no particular order. Basically, if there are four major conferences will close to 16 teams, Notre Dame will be forced to join ACC or Big Ten to retain its BCS option.

      Honestly, BTHC is less of a possiblity for Notre Dame than moving to WCHA in two years, since the Big Ten has emphatically stated that if a program joins for one sport, it joins for all sports. This is the death knell for Notre Dame’s football independence and monster TV contract for football. There is no way Notre Dame makes a decision about all of its sports based on finding a new home for its men’s hockey program.

  10. If Notre Dame makes it in the National and gets to keep their abusive, hostile name while one of the founding members is forced to change theirs it will only further prove how completely subjective the NCAA’s stance is when it comes to big name/big money schools.

  11. I agree that the CCHA should find a way to stay alive.  The more auto-bids the better for programs’ success…   What about this option?

    CCHA: (7 or 8 teams)
    Notre Dame
    Alabama-Huntsville (Let them in!)
    Bowling Green
    Buffalo (Assuming they get this thing off the ground)
    Ferris State (Drop the WCHA and stay in a better geographic location)
    Niagra (Moves from AHA)
    RIT (See above)
    Robert Morris (Ditto)

    AHA: (8 teams)
    American International
    Army
    Bentley
    Canisius
    UConn
    Holy Cross
    Mercyhurst
    Sacred Heart

    WCHA: (8 teams)
    Air Force (Moves from AHA, makes geographic sense, get WCHA a DI school)
    Alaska
    Alaska-Anchorage
    Bemidji State
    Lake Superior State
    Michigan Tech
    Minnesota State Mankato
    Northern Michigan

    NCHC: (8 teams)
    Colorado College
    Denver
    Miami (OH)
    Minnesota Duluth
    Nebraska Omaha
    North Dakota Fighting Something
    St Cloud State
    Western Michigan

    Hockey East, ECAC and Big Ten remain intact

    • Hey, I like this!
      -Don’t forget to add Minnesota State Moorhead to the WCHA when they start a program.
      -Its the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
      -Looks like Notre Dame is going to Hockey East. HE will then take UConn to get to 12.  
      -I would flip Canisius and RIT around. Canisius, like Niagara, is located in Buffalo which is further west than Rochester(geographic sense) and Canisius has stated that they want out of Atlantic Hockey so they can play with 18 scholarships in the CCHA. The same with Mercyhurst, which is located in Pittsburgh, west of Buffalo, – they want 18 scholarships too. That would leave AH with 6 members; American International, Army, Bentley, RIT, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart. All of those schools are ok with playing at 12 scholarships in AH. What happens then hopefully is that the Ivy League forms(6 schools) and the 6 ECAC non-Ivy League schools merge with the remaining 6 AH schools to form a potential 12 team ECHA.
      -I agree completely about moving Ferris State back to the CCHA and letting Alabama-Huntsville in the CCHA!  

      • I agree with the Canisius and RIT flip – Forgot Canisius was in Buffalo area.  If ND goes to HE, I agree UConn will follow.  Maybe if both Buffalo and Moorhead both go DI, then LSS stays in CCHA as well and MSM goes WCHA.  Thanks for the ideas.  Wish someone with the ability to change this would read up.

    • I have never claimed to be a good prognosticator… though I did take the overall “ECAC pick-the-standings” crown two years ago. :)

  12. Like you, I am highly prejudiced toward one team (RPI), I have followed them for the past 50 years. I also remember, Brian, when a substitute goaltender for the Engineers shut out BU, but that is truly ancient history.

    John

  13. I just can’t get over how stupid moving teams for attendance is. Maybe don’t have the regionals in stupid Cinci and it wouldn’t be as big of an issue. Lower ticket prices to help get fans. Keep it on a straight 1 vs 16, 2 vs 15, etc bracket to maintain bracket integrity. All of this moving diminishes any integrity the bracket had to begin with.

    • I totally agree with the straight numbers, have spouted it for a long time. The ONLY exceptions should be for host teams to get into their own regional, and the #1 seeds to be placed as close to “home” as possible. The NC$$ has used the attendance “excuse” to place teams where they want. Once the team with the most fans at a regional lose the first game, the final has 500-600 people attend.

      • The host teams need to go. Seems like the same teams host a lot…..cough cough rodents cough cough…….although its funny when they host and don’t even make the tourney.

          • I’ve said it a bunch….but I think the only clump 6 team that gets in is the winner of the conference tourney. I don’t see mich not winning it.

        • I feel confident the brackets will get switched before the final PWR rankings. For now, at least, I like saving money on flight and can stay with friends in Minneapolis. :-) :-)

  14. I like the Denver vs. Notre Dame matchup. It’ll essentially be game 3 in their best of 3 season series. Only complaint is the move from Worchester to St. Paul (I know, everyone thought it impossible for a DU fan to prefer the East over the West) but I’d rather play Quinnipiac than St. Cloud. Denver is playing awesome hockey now but St.Cloud is an all to familiar foe and Quinnipiac is a very weak 1 seed, especially as of late.

    • QU weak- you mean the 2-0 vs SCS Quinnipiac? A reminder to those who believe that competitive college hockey resides exclusively in the West and Midwest, ECAC and HE have the last three winners. Enough said.

          • Clearly you’ve not so much as looked at the current PWR standings. Top 8 are legit teams and bottom 4 are, well, there for a reason… find another league with better top-to-bottom and then we can talk

          • I can name two. NCHC, HE….

            Can we just stop with the desire for the ECAC to prove themselves? QU is really good, ok? They are good enough to win a national championship. However, that doesn’t reflect on the conference as a whole. It just doesn’t. Yale is the only other team in the conference that will make waves in the tourney.

          • It’s not a desire to prove ourselves, it’s jackasses like you that don’t admit the whole conference can compete on even keel with the other two power conferences (with the ECAC having the 2nd highest interconference record). Look at the standings; in the top 20 PWR rankings: ECAC 6, HE 5, NCHC 4.

            Ring the bell, school’s in session.

          • Grow up with the name calling, bub. School is in session? Are you 13?

            If the season ended today, your conference would have three teams in and one of them would be in the four band. NCHC? Four teams in, two No. 1s, a No. 2 and a No. 3. HE? 5 teams in, a No. 1, a No. 2, 2 No. 3s and a No. 4. Go ahead and keep thinking Clarkson, RPI and SLU being in the Top 21 makes your conference good as a whole. I’m fine with it, I just wholeheartedly disagree.

      • QU has to keep coming back against teams….some of them not good teams. 4 or 5 ties in the last 10 games….not blowing up many skirts. I think they would have trouble with a team that had really good D

        • My point exactly. 9 out their last 12 have gone to OT. They’ve won most of them but still they went to OT against Northeastern, Clarkson, Cornell, Union, Maine. I guess they did beat St.Cloud twice – back in October. Give me the Q over most teams out West right now.

          • I wouldn’t call the #1 ranked the past 2+ months weak. ECAC has some solid teams and Yale has been coming on lately. Ironically, the Q and Yale play this weekend.

          • “Very good” …. 20th in the PWR…. so, being in the top third of the country makes you “very good” …. got it :)

          • Q can be number 1 in the nation all they want..fact is every year since they have been in the ECAC they have Choked and have won ZERO ECAC tourney titles…your point is valid don’t get me wrong..but when you say 9 out of the last 12 went to OT make sure you put the team that beat them in OT which you didn’t..also they showed no class in that loss..what coach doesn’t let his team shake hands after a loss?

        • Not a QU fan nor an ECAC fan but I’d hardly consider QU weak. They have had their share of struggles recently but have found a way to come back and tie or win those games, that’s what good teams do. Also remember it’s all been in conference play that they have struggled some, not NC and those match ups that you see year in and year out often leads to that because all of the teams know you so well.

          • Yeah, ultimately, I don’t think they are weak, I’m just not convinced they are the best team in the country.

          • I won’t disagree with that, Scott. I just thought the word weak was not correct. Guest3, I agree no playoff titles, but I think the not blazing the trail in the second half goes back to my other remark that conference play every night does that to a lot of teams, not just QU.

          • They haven’t been blazing a trail like they did in the first half..they could keep or lose their top spot..history shows that when it comes tourney time in the ECAC they have ZERO playoff titles..only way to keep their top spot is to have a good showing in the league playoffs..

      • QU weak – yes. And they play in a weak conference. I’ll give them credit these last couple years. They’ve done well for themselves, enjoy it while it lasts. And this discussion doesn’t involve HE. HE has and always will be a powerhouse conference. ECAC is and always has been the Little Sister of the Poor.

      • Enough said that those three teams went on four game winning streaks? Stop it. HE is a great conference, ECAC, despite recent success, is not a great conference. It is a very good one. Two wins against SCSU in October does nothing to convince me of Q’s superiority.

    • This is insanity. A very weak 1 seed? They have a bunch of ties recently… so what? They are still 1 in the pairwise. They have 2 losses on the entire year. They swept the #2 team. Sure it was in October, but that is when they played them. Denver went 6 games in a row without winning a game and are now talking trash about a team that has lost 2 games in their whole season. Unbelievable.

      • Don’t forget a ton of ties against mediocre teams….of which a lot of third period comebacks were necessary just to get to OT.

        • The fighting hawks lost to wisconsin. and they have had their fair share of close games against mediocre opponents, for example that BS penalty shot last weekend. I guess they are a very weak 1 seed as well.

          • Wah wah wah wah wah. And it was the right call for a penalty shot from where the ref was. But I’m glad you are the foremost expert on calling penalty shots.

          • QU ties: Team and Pairwise ranking
            Clarkson – 26th
            St. Lawrence – 20th
            N. Eastern – T21st
            Maine – 51st
            RPI – 19th
            Cornell – 14th
            Union – T27th
            All while having the 16th hardest schedule.
            They’ve also went to OT 5 additional times, 4 of which were against a team listed up here. Not sure how that equates to powerhouse by any means. Good team, yes. Phenomenal, no.

          • Actually yes, they are since they are the last No. 1 seed. Chill out. It’s really not insane to think that the best team in the country, denoted by the No. 1 PWR, should be able to beat and not tie Clarkson, Maine, Union and NE. Relax. They are good, but it’s not insane to think they aren’t the best team in the country.

          • Clarkson and Union are both legit teams; not saying either are contenders but close home games mean something. The ECAC is good now, further evidenced by 3 of the last 6 teams to skate for a championship being ECAC.

          • Legit in what thought??? They are decent, but they aren’t good, this year. Having a couple good teams does not a great conference make.

          • …. if that’s not good enough, then show me what a good conference is made of. top to bottom, ECAC is up there with the best.

  15. If attendance is a real issue, why have 2 Minnesota teams in St. Paul and no Massachusetts team ( There are 4 available ) in Worcester? Just plain stupid. With this lineup only St. Paul will have a good ( not great ) showing. The other 3 will have more empty seats than full ones. If you just swapped Worcester and Albany then at least one of those ( Worcester ) would have decent ( not great ) attendance. Always sad to watch empty arenas on TV. CHANGE the format. Two sites with 8 teams a piece and 2 teams come out of each region. Simple

    • BU is a Massachusetts team. QU and Yale are in neighboring CT only 1 hour and 1 hour 40 mins from Worcester respectively. Swapping wouldn’t make a difference imo – Worcester decent and Albany fair either way

        • Not sure that’s totally accurate or fair. The place was half full ~5,000. It was 2pm puck drop on a weekday, yes, a Friday. And even further, it was a Spring Break week. The format and schedule are far more to blame than BU fans not traveling. And no, I am not a BU fan.

          • And how many students go to BU? and how many fans live in Boston? Place should have been full. It’s 50 miles away, not 500

          • Ah, the good ol’ “No True Scotsman” fallacy… A lot of people have vacations, family get togethers, etc. planned over breaks; some people just want to get away from where they are in college for a week or two. Yeah, I’m sure there was a significant drop in their attendance because people didn’t want to bail on vacations for a game… including real fans

          • So many people were gone from the entire city of Boston, not just BU, that they couldnt fill a 10K seat arena thats 50 miles away? Stop fooling yourself, BU/BC fans DO.NOT.TRAVEL.

          • Your point(s) are well taken Justin. Game times (The traffic alone at 2-7 pm on a Thursday afternoon going from Boston to Worcester? Yikes.) and Spring Break are a big deterrent. But, it’s a little of both… In general, the Boston/New England schools haven’t traveled well for 10 years or more now. You’ll be lucky to see 1000-1500 BC and PC fans combined show up in Albany. Harvard, maybe ECAC’s worst traveling team, will send 100-200 tops. And Mankato, who knows. I’ve witnessed it, time and time again.

        • We have our limitations. Cincy a couple years ago was a dead zone. Some places are just ridiculous to go to. Grand Rapids a few years before that as well…..

          • Your “limitations” are still tons better than any other team’s fans. I still hate this attendance crap as an excuse to send fans to the hockey hinterlands.

          • “Here’s 4 days to book something…..good luck.” NC$$ favorite line. Followed by “We just don’t understand why no one shows up at these regionals…..”

          • That should be the measuring stick of attendance for future regional sites. If Sioux fans don’t show, they set a precedence on attendance figures, and thus that site should be removed!

        • Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah. St. Cloud hopes they play in St. Paul, otherwise they will have one, maybe 2 fans in the stands anywhere else.

          • St. Cloud doesn’t have to hope for anything. They just have to keep winning games. North Dakota fighting bumpkins are the ones that need to hope the NCAA gives them special treatment.

          • Special treatment? Like getting sent out east? The NC$$ should be happy that our fans actually go to the games….unlike places out east where they don’t watch a game outside of their home arena. I’d rather play in St. Paul as well, instead of that thing you call an arena in St. Cloud. Nice job making the outside look good and then leave the inside as a pile of crap.

          • Chockes, If North Dakota’s neo-nazi benefactor didn’t waste a bunch of money on a hockey arena, your team would be playing in a glorified salt barn. I only spend about 10 hours a year at the NHC, so I don’t really care. I would like some more comfortable seats, but other than that I am fine with it.

  16. “Cincinnati is still always iffy, even with North Dakota and Michigan there. cause it’s Cincinnati, and Cincinnati sucks.”

    FTFY

      • Stop complaining about Minnesota being a host school even though it is #14 right now in brackets. It’s in St. Paul cause people will actually come and watch hockey, dude! Hint: WE’RE THE STATE OF HOCKEY.

        • Moy has this odd style of placing teams in the autobid spot by virtue of winning percentage, so therefore, Goldy gets placed in St Paul. His model for that has been consistent every week, but what it does is add in a curveball like this sometimes. I think Husky fans are licking their chops with a matchup against Goldy, even if it is in St Paul, plus there will be a decent Husky following there too.

        • Remind me where I said having it in St. Paul was stupid. I said having the rodents host ever year is stupid. No reason that one of the other 4 D1 schools cant host. Maybe they haven’t put in bids, but something tells me if the rodents and one of the other schools from the state put in a bid, the rodents would get it. Wouldn’t want to lose out on that “huge” fan base at the games. The same fan base that “fills” marihoochi on the weekends…….

          • Well first off, I never said it was stupid. Minnesota hosts frequently cause they’re in a larger market. Nothing against Mankato, St. Cloud, or Bemidji, but their facilities probably just can’t compete with what the Xcel Energy Center has to offer. It’s got all the amenities along with being in a major city. They know people will actually show up, unlike last years B10 tourney in Detroit where there were like 10 people at the game. So much for “Hockeytown, USA” last year. Once the team gets back into the top 5 of the rankings, I’m sure Mariucci will be sold out, especially when they play teams like UND next year.

          • You do know that a school can bid for a place not in their city, right? Nothing is stopping any other school in MN from bidding to host at the X. There has been talk of having a regional in Sioux Falls…..last I checked, no D1 team there….
            As for the clump 6 tourney….funny how they aren’t even selling tickets in the upper level of the X this year. And the only reason the hoochi will sell out next year is UND fans buying the tickets for those games. The rest of the games, you have a better change of throwing a rock and hitting an empty chair than actually hitting someone.

        • That’s the only thing that choker does is complain no reason or insightful input about hockey just complaining like a juvenile, he puts a bad name to UND fans. He is still sad that his hawks have been man handled by east coast teams whenever they get to the frozen four. Not even a title game since 05. The burden is just to much for his lil shoulders to bear.

          • wah wah wah. butthurt party of 1. Must have been so much fun watching from the outside for 3 years in a row. Give yourselves a big pat on the back for playing in such a crap conference that it gives you a chance to make the big tourney.

    • You obviously don’t know how the seeding locations work. Last year Providence was the #15 seed but got to play in Providence. The NC$$ “places” host teams at their home sites no matter what their numerical ranking.

      • Providence was not the host team in the East Regional last year. It was Brown. The NCAA just decided to be nice to Providence and give them a couple of home games.

        • Absolutely what DU_Fan is saying. The fact that Providence got to play there and was not the host was kind of a joke. It was for attendance, of course. Though how many PC fans go to any games outside of Schneider Arena?

          • I guess I don’t understand how that was “absolutely what DU_Fan is saying” when he said “The NC$$ “places” host teams at their home sites no matter what their numerical ranking”. My bad I guess.

          • Here is what I meant by “numerical pairing”. If they went strictly by numerical pairings last year (1/8/9/16, 2/7/10/15,etc,) Providence would have played in the west regional in Fargo, not in Providence. The NCAA uses the attendance excuse to place teams where they want. The Providence/DU final at the Dunk had less then 1,000 fans attend. Once BC lost to DU, all their fans left.

          • You’re right, I read it as home team. I know we went over this when talking about it last year, must have been my mind figuring he meant home, not host. I know he meant PC should have been sent out west, since them staying near home wouldn’t boost attendance anyways. Sorry about that.

          • Their was no actual “attendance” at the Providence/DU final, less than 1,00. They had people move to the lower level just to TV viewers would not see how bad it was.

  17. But, but…..the NCAA would never be so cavalier as to award a regional to some backwater ‘burb which wasn’t a hotbed for college hockey. Geez, if a venue is seventeen percent full for a championship game which sends a team to the Frozen Four that’s nearly standing-room-only in the eyes of the NCAA, so there’s really no need to swap teams for the sake of boosting attendance.

  18. I agree that there should be 2 regionals with 8 teams in each regional. They should stop trying to worry about “fan bases” attending the events. Having a large regional would bring in more general “hockey fans”. That’s who will fill the stands. These people will fly across the country to see hockey.
    Also think it is junk that UofM is considered a host. If they don’t make the tourney, I guarantee they wont have the presence of a “host”.
    Lastly, I assume the NCAA is licking their chops for AZ State to host a regional…

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