Never too early to start prognosticating the 2017 NCAA tournament

The Quinnipiac University Bobcats and University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks play for the 2016 D1 National Championship on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. (Melissa Wade)
North Dakota captured the 2016 national championship in Tampa, Fla., with a hard-fought win over Quinnipiac. Where does North Dakota stand today? (photo: Melissa Wade).

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 (PWR)?

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.

Five of the last six years, I am the only prognosticator to have correctly predicted the exact brackets for the NCAA tournament, 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 2017, and we’ll be bringing you a new one every week until we make our final picks before the field is announced on March 19.

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 – Providence, R.I.; Northeast – Manchester, N.H.; Midwest – Cincinnati, Ohio; West – Fargo, N.D.).

• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. The host institutions this year: Brown in Providence, New Hampshire in Manchester, Miami in Cincinnati and North Dakota in Fargo.
• 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 2015 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 Christmas Day, December 25:

1 Penn State
2 Minnesota-Duluth
3 Denver
4t Harvard
4t Union
4t Boston University
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Ohio State
9 North Dakota
10 Western Michigan
11 Minnesota
12 Boston College
13 Notre Dame
14t Cornell
14t St. Lawrence
16 Vermont
18t Bemidji State
33 Army

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Army
Big Ten: Penn State
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: Minnesota-Duluth
WCHA: Bemidji 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.

The ties and bubbles consist of none this week.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Penn State
2 Minnesota-Duluth
3 Denver
4 Harvard
5 Union
6 Boston University
7 Massachusetts-Lowell
8 Ohio State
9 North Dakota
10 Western Michigan
11 Minnesota
12 Boston College
13 Notre Dame
14 Cornell
15 Bemidji State
16 Army

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Penn State, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Harvard

No. 2 seeds: Union, Boston University, Massachusetts-Lowell, Ohio State

No. 3 seeds: North Dakota, Western Michigan, Minnesota, Boston College

No. 4 seeds: Notre Dame, Cornell, Bemidji State, Army

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Penn State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the West Regional in Fargo
No. 3 Denver is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Harvard is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

Why do we place Denver in Manchester and Harvard in Providence? An ECAC team is hosting in Providence is one reason, and Providence is also closer to Harvard by a few miles. Since Denver has to fly, we try to get the number one seeds as close to their homes as possible.

Step four

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

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

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships 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 Ohio State is placed in No. 1 Penn State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell is placed in No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Boston University is placed in No. 3 Denver’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Union is placed in No. 4 Harvard’s regional, the East 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.

North Dakota is a host, therefore they are placed first in this pod:

No. 9 North Dakota is placed in No. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Western Michigan is placed in No. 8 Ohio State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Minnesota is placed in No. 6 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Boston College is placed in No. 5 Union’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

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

No. 16 Army is sent to No. 1 Penn State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Bemidji State is sent to No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Cornell is sent to No. 3 Denver’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Notre Dame is sent to No. 4 Harvard’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Notre Dame vs. 4 Harvard
12 Boston College vs. 5 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Cornell vs. 3 Denver
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
16 Army vs. 1 Penn State
10 Western Michigan vs. 8 Ohio State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

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

Wow.

How can we improve attendance at these regionals?

The West Regional looks great, nothing we can really do there.

The Midwest Regional looks great too.

The East Regional is also pretty solid.

The Northeast Regional could use another East team, but there’s nothing we can do there.

If we could swap Army and Notre Dame, I would do that, but we need to protect the number one seed in Penn State here, so we won’t do that.

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 in a few weeks for the next Bracketology.

Here’s a summary of everything that we have covered.

This week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Notre Dame vs. 4 Harvard
12 Boston College vs. 5 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Cornell vs. 3 Denver
11 Minnesota vs. 6 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
16 Army vs. 1 Penn State
10 Western Michigan vs. 8 Ohio State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Massachusetts-Lowell

Conference breakdowns

Hockey East — 4
NCHC — 4
Big Ten — 3
ECAC Hockey — 3
WCHA — 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 January 13, 2016.

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

And the actual bracket from last year:

East Regional (Albany):
16 RIT vs. 1 Quinnipiac
10 Yale vs 8 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional (Worcester):
14 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 4 Providence
11 Harvard vs. 5 Boston College

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Northeastern vs. 3 North Dakota
12 Notre Dame vs. 7 Michigan

West Regional (St. Paul):
15 Ferris State vs. 2 St. Cloud State
9 Boston University vs. 6 Denver

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

Out: Holy Cross, Minnesota State, Omaha, Cornell

In: RIT, Ferris State, Minnesota-Duluth, Northeastern,

A quarter of the field changed from the beginning, though two of them were because of an autobid (Atlantic Hockey and WCHA).

So things do change a lot.

70 COMMENTS

  1. Of one thing I can be certain regarding this early offering, when the dust settles, Penn State will not be the overall #1 seed.

    • You are probably right about PSU. However, I think they will be in the top 5. I predict Bemidji will be a top 10 team, and WMU, UND, UMD, and DU should maintain (more or less) their respective rankings. I could see BU moving up a spot…maybe. Teams that might surprise with a big 2nd half…..MN and BC…..as much as this pains me to say.

      • I think Penn State is a top 10 team, MAYBE a top 5 team when the dust settles. Remember, the rest of their schedule really only includes 2 ranked opponents: Ohio St and MN. If they lose a couple to Sparty, Michigan, or Wisconsin they will plummet quickly. Same can be said about Bemidji State. Other than the North Star Cup, their schedule could easily be their down fall. Heck, not long ago they were #5 in the pairwise then getting swept at home by Princeton sent them packing to the wood shed. I also think there is a chance that St Cloud (17) or Omaha (20) could also sneak in as a 5th NCHC team because they will both play quality teams the rest of the way in that conference.

        • I think its better than 50-50 that one of either Omaha or SCSU gets in.

          The Huskies still have 2 games remaining with UMD, 4 with Denver, 2 with North Dakota, and a game with Bemidji State on their schedule. To say nothing of another possible match-up with UMD or one with the Gophers if they can get by Bemidji State in the Northstar College Cup. And, they also have 6 games remaining against what are currently the 7th & 8th place teams in the NCHC, who have a combined 7 wins, TOTAL, between them. And, looking at the Arizona Classic participants, I’d say a win in that tourney is almost a gimme for them. While were at it, let’s throw in at least one probable quality opponent in the NCHC tourney.

          A negative for SCSU might be that only 6 of their remaining scheduled games are at home and 4 of those are against CC and Miami.

          Omaha has 4 games remaining with both North Dakota AND Denver and 2 with UMD, 2 with Western Michigan, as well as 4 games with the current aforementioned 7th & 8th place teams in the NCHC. They also have a couple non-cons left with Lake State this weekend. And, they, too, are probably going to see a quality opponent in the NCHC tourney.

          A negative for Omaha might be their 2nd half fade history the past few years and the fact that, even though they still have 10 scheduled home games remaining, they have absolutely stunk in their new arena since opening it.

          There are probably not 2 other “cusp” teams in the whole country with the door more wide open to improve their Pairwise lot in life than these two teams, though. They just need to walk through that door–if they can.

    • Penn State took 3 of 4 points against a good Notre Dame team at Notre Dame this season. Penn State has about 73 goals for and about 28 goals against this year so far. Granted, Penn State has not played any highly ranked teams.
      As we all know, this version of bracketology is super early. The rankings change constantly. All it takes is one dark horse team to win their league championship, and everything will change.

      • SOS will ultimately be PSU’s downfall. The little 6 schedule and the cupcake non conference schedule will do them in. I see them as a 3 or 4 seed.

        • I agree with your strength of schedule and Big Ten anaysis. I am not sure why PSU doesn’t schedule a much more challenging non-conference schedule. They have a world class college hockey arena, and a very large alumni network all over the northeast from which to draw fans and boost attendance.

          • I just look at it as a rookie view. Bazin did the same thing at UML when he first got here, but learned that scheduling cupcakes ultimately hurt the team come tournament time.

          • In some ways, it may be hard to predict how strong your out of conference schedule will be two or three years out, when the schedule is made. Teams like Denver and North Dakota are nearly always top tier teams. I agree with you that Penn State could have and should have played a more competitive out of conference schedule this year, with an eye towards what really matters come NCAA tournamant time.

            As a side note: I am not sure how long you have been a UML fan but about a dozen years ago I attended a UML series against Colorado College in Colorado Springs. (I remember Ed McGrane, was one of UML’s best players). In those years, Colorado College was a national powerhouse program, playing in the old WCHA. Norm Bazin was an assistant coach at Colorado College at the time. CC had two future Hobey Baker winners on their team. Plus some future NHL players. It was a great pair of out of conference games for UML. I think UML took two of four points that weekend.
            This year, UML goes out to Colorado Springs and sweeps CC. On CC’s olympic ice surface, at 7,000 feet above sea level, before a hostile crowd. Yet, that sweep will not help UML much come tournament time.

            Here is the point, it may be difficult for Bazin (or any D-1 coach) to really know if teams like Colorado College will be competitive at the time he puts future out of conference games on the schedule. I do know that it may be difficult to schedule many top tier teams for out of conference games.

    • It really comes down to how well or not-so-well PSU plays in conference games. We’ve seen it before with other teams (I want to say it was Minnesota State in the first year of the new WCHA that had a 5 or 6 loss schedule and was the #1 overall seed). If PSU wins 75-80% of their league schedule, even if they don’t win the Big Ten tournament, they will at least be a #1 seed, if not the top overall seed. Strength of schedule does matter, but if you post a winning percentage of .850, no matter how weak the schedule, you’ll be the top overall seed.

        • If those are the only three losses in Big Ten play, that would assume that they beat Minnesota twice and Ohio State four times, all games that would raise their RPI/PWR. I think you can even throw in a loss to OSU or two to Michigan State (which I don’t think will happen) and the .750 or higher winning percentage in Big Ten play will be high enough for a #1 seed, I think. We’ll see how it all plays out. I just don’t see them having a lot of conference success (i.e. .750 winning percentage or higher) and dropping to a #3 or #4 seed as Vinnie suggested.

          • You could be right, though I seriously doubt they will sweep Ohio State or Minnesota. My thinking is that if they drop to #5 or lower they simply do not play enough teams with the RPI/PWR strength to recover back into a #1 seed. Especially since RPI uses SOS in their formula. I do think a #2 seed is very realistic.

      • “….how well or not-so-well….”?????
        PSU has one non-con game remaining….Princeton (albeit on a tear lately but not a good team). PSU is 11-1-1 in non-con now.
        Their PWR ranking at year-end will depend on how well they travel within the B1G. If they play well the conf. tourney will mean little to PSU.

        Edit: After you edited your post I agree with one exception. It was widely agreed MNSU was one of the top three teams in CH that year, don’t think PSU would receive the same respect if they can maintain top three PWR status this year.

  2. Of one thing I can be certain regarding this early offering, when the dust settles, Penn State will not be the overall #1 seed.

    • You are probably right about PSU. However, I think they will be in the top 5. I predict Bemidji will be a top 10 team, and WMU, UND, UMD, and DU should maintain (more or less) their respective rankings. I could see BU moving up a spot…maybe. Teams that might surprise with a big 2nd half…..MN and BC…..as much as this pains me to say.

      • I think Penn State is a top 10 team, MAYBE a top 5 team when the dust settles. Remember, the rest of their schedule really only includes 2 ranked opponents: Ohio St and MN. If they lose a couple to Sparty, Michigan, or Wisconsin they will plummet quickly. Same can be said about Bemidji State. Other than the North Star Cup, their schedule could easily be their down fall. Heck, not long ago they were #5 in the pairwise then getting swept at home by Princeton sent them packing to the wood shed. I also think there is a chance that St Cloud (17) or Omaha (20) could also sneak in as a 5th NCHC team because they will both play quality teams the rest of the way in that conference.

        • I think its better than 50-50 that one of either Omaha or SCSU gets in.

          The Huskies still have 2 games remaining with UMD, 4 with Denver, 2 with North Dakota, and a game with Bemidji State on their schedule. To say nothing of another possible match-up with UMD or one with the Gophers if they can get by Bemidji State in the Northstar College Cup. And, they also have 6 games remaining against what are currently the 7th & 8th place teams in the NCHC, who have a combined 7 wins, TOTAL, between them. And, looking at the Arizona Classic participants, I’d say a win in that tourney is almost a gimme for them. While were at it, let’s throw in at least one probable quality opponent in the NCHC tourney.

          A negative for SCSU might be that only 6 of their remaining scheduled games are at home and 4 of those are against CC and Miami.

          Omaha has 4 games remaining with both North Dakota AND Denver and 2 with UMD, 2 with Western Michigan, as well as 4 games with the current aforementioned 7th & 8th place teams in the NCHC. They also have a couple non-cons left with Lake State this weekend. And, they, too, are probably going to see a quality opponent in the NCHC tourney.

          A negative for Omaha might be their 2nd half fade history the past few years and the fact that, even though they still have 10 scheduled home games remaining, they have absolutely stunk in their new arena since opening it.

          There are probably not 2 other “cusp” teams in the whole country with the door more wide open to improve their Pairwise lot in life than these two teams, though. They just need to walk through that door–if they can.

    • Penn State took 3 of 4 points against a good Notre Dame team at Notre Dame this season. Penn State has about 73 goals for and about 28 goals against this year so far. Granted, Penn State has not played any highly ranked teams.
      As we all know, this version of bracketology is super early. The rankings change constantly. All it takes is one dark horse team to win their league championship, and everything will change.

      • SOS will ultimately be PSU’s downfall. The little 6 schedule and the cupcake non conference schedule will do them in. I see them as a 3 or 4 seed.

        • I agree with your strength of schedule and Big Ten anaysis. I am not sure why PSU doesn’t schedule a much more challenging non-conference schedule. They have a world class college hockey arena, and a very large alumni network all over the northeast from which to draw fans and boost attendance.

          • I just look at it as a rookie view. Bazin did the same thing at UML when he first got here, but learned that scheduling cupcakes ultimately hurt the team come tournament time.

          • In some ways, it may be hard to predict how strong your out of conference schedule will be two or three years out, when the schedule is made. Teams like Denver and North Dakota are nearly always top tier teams. I agree with you that Penn State could have and should have played a more competitive out of conference schedule this year, with an eye towards what really matters come NCAA tournamant time.

            As a side note: I am not sure how long you have been a UML fan but about a dozen years ago I attended a UML series against Colorado College in Colorado Springs. (I remember Ed McGrane, was one of UML’s best players). In those years, Colorado College was a national powerhouse program, playing in the old WCHA. Norm Bazin was an assistant coach at Colorado College at the time. CC had two future Hobey Baker winners on their team. Plus some future NHL players. It was a great pair of out of conference games for UML. I think UML took two of four points that weekend.
            This year, UML goes out to Colorado Springs and sweeps CC. On CC’s olympic ice surface, at 7,000 feet above sea level, before a hostile crowd. Yet, that sweep will not help UML much come tournament time.

            Here is the point, it may be difficult for Bazin (or any D-1 coach) to really know if teams like Colorado College will be competitive at the time he puts future out of conference games on the schedule. I do know that it may be difficult to schedule many top tier teams for out of conference games.

    • It really comes down to how well or not-so-well PSU plays in conference games. We’ve seen it before with other teams (I want to say it was Minnesota State in the first year of the new WCHA that had a 5 or 6 loss schedule and was the #1 overall seed). If PSU wins 75-80% of their league schedule, even if they don’t win the Big Ten tournament, they will at least be a #1 seed, if not the top overall seed. Strength of schedule does matter, but if you post a winning percentage of .850, no matter how weak the schedule, you’ll be the top overall seed.

        • If those are the only three losses in Big Ten play, that would assume that they beat Minnesota twice and Ohio State four times, all games that would raise their RPI/PWR. I think you can even throw in a loss to OSU or two to Michigan State (which I don’t think will happen) and the .750 or higher winning percentage in Big Ten play will be high enough for a #1 seed, I think. We’ll see how it all plays out. I just don’t see them having a lot of conference success (i.e. .750 winning percentage or higher) and dropping to a #3 or #4 seed as Vinnie suggested.

          • You could be right, though I seriously doubt they will sweep Ohio State or Minnesota. My thinking is that if they drop to #5 or lower they simply do not play enough teams with the RPI/PWR strength to recover back into a #1 seed. Especially since RPI uses SOS in their formula. I do think a #2 seed is very realistic.

      • “….how well or not-so-well….”?????
        PSU has one non-con game remaining….Princeton (albeit on a tear lately but not a good team). PSU is 11-1-1 in non-con now.
        Their PWR ranking at year-end will depend on how well they travel within the B1G. If they play well the conf. tourney will mean little to PSU.

        Edit: After you edited your post I agree with one exception. It was widely agreed MNSU was one of the top three teams in CH that year, don’t think PSU would receive the same respect if they can maintain top three PWR status this year.

  3. Northeast Regional in Manchester will make the paltry “crowds” at Providence two years ago look like Standing Room Only sellouts. One thing is certain, if DU qualifies they will be sent back East. Last year in St. Paul was an anomaly.

    • Nice one DU, I think I get the irony of your statement more than some. I think DU will win the NCHC and be the #1 ranked team at year’s end….just mho. I think this would send them to Fargo, would it not?

      • Thanks, Sparky. At least you always get my sarcasm. If we are so very lucky to grab the #1 seed, I think we will go to Cincinnati. There is no way, in mho, that the Sioux will not be in the top 8 at the end. They always are the best 2nd half team in CH. If they finish in the 1st or 2nd band, not even the NC$$ will send DU to Fargo to play UND in the first game. I am looking forward to watching the World Juniors Monday. Hope the U.S. has a good showing and want to see how Borgstrom does playing for Finland, and of course Terry does for our team. Hope none all the players stay healthy throughout the tourney.

        • Yea, right, I kind of lost my senses there. With UND being a host team, it is highly unlikely DU will end up in Fargo….assuming UND finishes as you mentioned. There are so many players in the WJC I want to see play, there are some studs on a number of teams. Jost is having some nice pre-tourney games and I am sure Borgstrom will do his thing. I really like Borgstrom, he seems like a mix between Jack Eichel and Patrick Laine. Fast, elusive, excellent hands, sniper ability, and the size advantage that Laine has. I’m going to watch more DU games after Christmas, I really enjoy watching these top-flight players before they leave for the NHL. I’m hoping Boeser comes back strong, just have to see how he recovers from his wrist injury/surgery. Good luck to the Pios the rest of the year, DU and UMD will likely be the NCHC’s strongest teams heading into the NT this year.

          • Jost has been flying under the radar the first half. I expect him to hit his stride as the season progresses. Boeser is a stallion, resting his wrist is a great idea and the Sioux will profit from this wise choice. No doubt your second half will be strong, as past years indicate. Since Borgstrom really is in love with DU, by all accounts, I am hoping he comes back for another year.

    • I would love to see DU get a chance to play in an NCAA regional bracket somewhere in Colorado in the future. Pepsi Center, World Arena, etc. The truth is, they will be hard to beat this year no matter where they play or how they are seeded.

  4. Northeast Regional in Manchester will make the paltry “crowds” at Providence two years ago look like Standing Room Only sellouts. One thing is certain, if DU qualifies they will be sent back East. Last year in St. Paul was an anomaly.

    • Nice one DU, I think I get the irony of your statement more than some. I think DU will win the NCHC and be the #1 ranked team at year’s end….just mho. I think this would send them to Fargo, would it not?

      • Thanks, Sparky. At least you always get my sarcasm. If we are so very lucky to grab the #1 seed, I think we will go to Cincinnati. There is no way, in mho, that the Sioux will not be in the top 8 at the end. They always are the best 2nd half team in CH. If they finish in the 1st or 2nd band, not even the NC$$ will send DU to Fargo to play UND in the first game. I am looking forward to watching the World Juniors Monday. Hope the U.S. has a good showing and want to see how Borgstrom does playing for Finland, and of course Terry does for our team. Hope none all the players stay healthy throughout the tourney.

        • Yea, right, I kind of lost my senses there. With UND being a host team, it is highly unlikely DU will end up in Fargo….assuming UND finishes as you mentioned. There are so many players in the WJC I want to see play, there are some studs on a number of teams. Jost is having some nice pre-tourney games and I am sure Borgstrom will do his thing. I really like Borgstrom, he seems like a mix between Jack Eichel and Patrick Laine. Fast, elusive, excellent hands, sniper ability, and the size advantage that Laine has. I’m going to watch more DU games after Christmas, I really enjoy watching these top-flight players before they leave for the NHL. I’m hoping Boeser comes back strong, just have to see how he recovers from his wrist injury/surgery. Good luck to the Pios the rest of the year, DU and UMD will likely be the NCHC’s strongest teams heading into the NT this year.

          • Jost has been flying under the radar the first half. I expect him to hit his stride as the season progresses. Boeser is a stallion, resting his wrist is a great idea and the Sioux will profit from this wise choice. No doubt your second half will be strong, as past years indicate. Since Borgstrom really is in love with DU, by all accounts, I am hoping he comes back for another year.

    • I would love to see DU get a chance to play in an NCAA regional bracket somewhere in Colorado in the future. Pepsi Center, World Arena, etc. The truth is, they will be hard to beat this year no matter where they play or how they are seeded.

  5. I know none of this matters now, but I must be missing something. Can someone please explain to me why Harvard is seeded higher than Union.

    • They are currently tied in the PWR but Harvard is higher in the tiebreaker, which is RPI. The reason they use RPI to break ties is that RPI takes other metrics, such as SOS, into account. Hope this helps.

  6. I know none of this matters now, but I must be missing something. Can someone please explain to me why Harvard is seeded higher than Union.

    • They are currently tied in the PWR but Harvard is higher in the tiebreaker, which is RPI. The reason they use RPI to break ties is that RPI takes other metrics, such as SOS, into account. Hope this helps.

  7. Realizing that things will change, I wonder why PSU was put in Cincy’s regional instead of Providence, which is closer (granted, not by much but Moy *did* use that rationale to place Harvard)? Doing so would allow Denver to be placed in Cincy and Harvard to be placed in Manchester, and all four top seeds are probably as close to home as they can get.

    Edit: Almost forgot – Merry Christmas, y’all.

  8. Realizing that things will change, I wonder why PSU was put in Cincy’s regional instead of Providence, which is closer (granted, not by much but Moy *did* use that rationale to place Harvard)? Doing so would allow Denver to be placed in Cincy and Harvard to be placed in Manchester, and all four top seeds are probably as close to home as they can get.

    Edit: Almost forgot – Merry Christmas, y’all.

  9. My Union Dutchmen have a huge 2 weeks ahead with ND (8) on Dec 31, BU (5) Jan 5 and Harvard (4) Jan 14. Hoping the U.S Juniors make the semis as they have 6 BU players and Canada has 1. Take any advantage we can get. ND top scorer being out will help as well.

  10. My Union Dutchmen have a huge 2 weeks ahead with ND (8) on Dec 31, BU (5) Jan 5 and Harvard (4) Jan 14. Hoping the U.S Juniors make the semis as they have 6 BU players and Canada has 1. Take any advantage we can get. ND top scorer being out will help as well.

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