Start of February sees more tweaks to PairWise Rankings

Canisius players celebrate a third period goal in a 3-1 win at RIT (Omar Phillips)
Canisius would be the No. 16 seed if the NCAA tournament started Feb. 1, 2017 (photo: Omar Phillips).

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 next 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 January 31:

1 Minnesota-Duluth
2 Denver
3 Boston University
4 Western Michigan
5 Penn State
6 Union
7 Minnesota
8 Harvard
9 North Dakota
10 Boston College
11 Providence
12 Vermont
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 St. Lawrence
15 Ohio State
16 St. Cloud State
18 Wisconsin
28 Bemidji State
29t Canisius

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage:

Atlantic Hockey: Canisius
Big Ten: Wisconsin (wins tiebreaker on better record vs Ohio State)
ECAC Hockey: Union
Hockey East: Boston College
NCHC: Minnesota-Duluth (wins tiebreaker for most conference wins)
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 Wisconsin, Canisius and Bemidji State.

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 Minnesota-Duluth
2 Denver
3 Boston University
4 Western Michigan
5 Penn State
6 Union
7 Minnesota
8 Harvard
9 North Dakota
10 Boston College
11 Providence
12 Vermont
13 Massachusetts-Lowell
14 Wisconsin
15 Bemidji State
16 Canisius

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Boston University, Western Michigan

No. 2 seeds: Penn State, Union, Minnesota, Harvard

No. 3 seeds: North Dakota, Boston College, Providence, Vermont

No. 4 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Wisconsin, Bemidji State, Canisius

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the West Regional in Fargo
No. 2 Denver is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Western Michigan is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

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 Harvard is placed in No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Minnesota is placed in No. 2 Denver’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 Union is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Penn State is placed in No. 4 Western Michigan’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. 8 Harvard’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Boston College is placed in No. 7 Minnesota’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 6 Union’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 Vermont is placed in No. 5 Penn State’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 Canisius is sent to No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Bemidji State is sent to No. 2 Denver’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Wisconsin is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Massachusetts-Lowell is sent to No. 4 Western Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Denver
10 Boston College vs. 7 Minnesota

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 8 Harvard

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

Now let’s look at maximizing attendance and getting teams closer to their campuses.

One change we can make it swapping Bemidji State and Canisius, putting both of them closer to its campuses. Not much to balk about this week as Bemidji State is 28 and Canisius is 29.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
10 Boston College vs. 7 Minnesota

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 8 Harvard

What else? We can continue to move teams closer to their home locations.

For example, Minnesota to Fargo, Penn State to Cincinnati and Harvard to Providence in a three-way swap.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 8 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
10 Boston College vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

And then I will make one more swap – this time a whole matchup because I think it works better that way. Vermont/Harvard swapping with Providence/Union.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
12 Vermont vs. 8 Harvard

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
10 Boston College vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

And that looks like it to me.

My bracket for the week.

Or is it?

Let’s take this another way. What is we started right away with putting Western Michigan in Cincinnati and Denver in Providence?

East Regional (Providence):
15 Bemidji State vs. 2 Denver
10 Boston College vs. 7 Minnesota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 8 Harvard

We make two moves here for attendance reasons. Cansius/Bemidji and then Harvard/Minnesota.

East Regional (Providence):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
10 Boston College vs. 8 Harvard

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

I still want Providence in Providence.

East Regional (Providence):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
10 Boston College vs. 8 Harvard

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

Now what do think of this bracket?

Do we go with the first one or the second one?

Let’s look and see.

It comes down to this, in my eyes:

Do you want BC in Manchester, Canisius in Providence and both Penn State and WMU in Cincinnati or Vermont in Manchester, Lowell in Providence and only Penn State in Cincinnati.

Wow, that is tough isn’t it?

I think I have to go with both Western Michigan and Penn State in Cincinnati.

So I choose:

East Regional (Providence):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
10 Boston College vs. 8 Harvard

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

And these are the kinds of decisions the committee has to make when considering how to put together the bracket. This is a tough one.

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):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
11 Providence vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Wisconsin vs. 3 Boston University
10 Boston College vs. 8 Harvard

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
13 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 4 Western Michigan
12 Vermont vs. 5 Penn State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
9 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

Conference breakdowns

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

Movement

In: Wisconsin, Providence
Out: Ohio State, Cornell

Last Week’s Bracket

East Regional (Providence):
14 Boston College vs. 3 Penn State
10 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. 6 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
13 Harvard vs. 4 Boston University
11 Cornell vs. 5 Western Michigan

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
16 Canisius vs. 2 Denver
9 Vermont vs. 8 Ohio State

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Bemidji State vs. 1 Minnesota-Duluth
12 North Dakota vs. 7 Minnesota

222 COMMENTS

  1. Nice move, Jayson. No matter where DU finishes, except maybe #1, you always have them moving East. What happened to your “rewarding” the highest ranked teams? Don’t give us this attendance or they have to fly anyway crap. I love WMU, was first to tout them as contender, but they don’t travel well in our league. Are you “hoping” they will descend on Cincinnati? What happens if they don’t, got an excuse ready now?

      • I totally agree with you on difficulty of first game, though all teams in tourney are capable. How fair to play Providence in Providence for 2nd game? However, this makes it much more expensive for us DU fans to travel. Obviously, not something Jayson nor NC$$ gives a darn about. Last time DU played in Providence (2015) championship final had well less than 1500 “fans”. Once DU beat BC the arena became “ghost town” for rest of games.

        • Agree 2nd game is harder for sure and the cost to travel is a lot more out there. Not possible to get these stats but, I would love to know how many extra people show up by breaking bracket integrity to move teams.

          • I can personally attest that the majority of fans in 2015 were BC. DU had as many fans in the finals as PC. They let all “fans” move to lower bowl for final, and it still was horrific, even on TV. I agree with you on wanting to know how many extra people they get for breaking integrity. Major problem with breaking brackets is that if team moved to attendance loses first game (except for Sioux fans), the finals are empty.

          • Even with the Sioux playing in the final in Grand Rapids in 2013….it was a ghost town. They should just stop having them in crappy places that even the locals don’t want to go to.

          • Agreed, a lot of people were upset when the Western regional was placed in a building that is only 5k+ but even if UND misses the tournament this year (and they might at this point) I bet that building will be close to capacity with the likes of Duluth and MN having a chance to get some tickets. Those are the types of arenas that should be used for the regionals.

            Or I will keep saying just do two super regionals over 4 days and give the fans a real show, you’d get a chance to see 8 teams and some great hockey. Even if my team got bounced in the first game, I’d stick around to watch some exciting hockey. And then it would make more sense to have them in a larger arena.

        • Your experience is not unique. In 1974, the FF semis were Michigan Tech/Harvard and Minnesota/BU, in the old Boston Garden. Building was full for both games, played on Thursday and Friday nights. Final played on Saturday between Tech/Minny. Tech fans in their section, Gopher fans in their section across the way, and about 2 or 3 thousand fans in the rest of the building.
          Fun facts: That was the first of three consecutive FF finals featuring Michigan Tech vs Minnesota, who was coached by some guy named Herb Brooks. Ironically, the #2 WCHA team won each of those three nattys.

        • I love how you discount Union talking about playing providence in game 2. In 2014 Union BEAT Providence in game 2 IN PROVIDENCE. Denver would be lucky to play Providence in game 2. I don’t want to see Denver in Providence either lol

    • You sure we’re the first DU, and I wish I would’ve wrote down who made fun of you for that after just looking at last years results. I would deff make it to Cincinnati and Chicago for the final 4 if we’re there, however none of the others are feasible. Also in miami last weekend, for bronco fans there was 20 parents and then my gf and I at center ice, so I can back up your lack of travel comment.

      • Ray, I have no doubt you will try go to wherever the Broncos play in the Regionals. You are the kind of fan WMU deserves, wish there were more of you. The one that asked me to get back to them when WMU beat a good team was Roaring Aardvark, notice he has been conspicuous by his absence. I am tired of having to pay a lot to go east every year because the NC$$ committee uses every excuse in the book as to why. Attendance sucks every year despite their feeble attempts to ignore the true bracketing.

        • I’m trying to bring more along lol, and brought a lot to the GLI. But thank you, and good memory about who it was. That was the first and only time I saw him post. I don’t blame you for being pissed about the money and the extra time involved when they put you guys as far away as possible. The only reason I agree with is to try and make it so the nc$$ teams don’t eliminate each other til the final four or championship game. The rest are sad excuses with little results.

        • I’m here. Surprised it took you so long go get back to me. Figured you would’ve said something after the GLI final when WMU beat my MTU in OT (Congrats Ray – fun game to watch, wasn’t it? Good luck the rest of the way). Tech had opportunities, but couldn’t get it done. Oh, well… We wait for the Last Chance Qualifier (aka the WCHA tourney), and see if they get a chance to take one of the big boys down a peg.

          PS: Honest question: If travel to regional sites is such a burden (and I don’t doubt that it is), why hasn’t Denver or CC hosted a regional since the 2008 FF/West regional? Is Pepsi Center too big for a regional site? Is the World Arena considered a campus site, and thus disqualified?

          • There’s 10,000 people there too. Do you really think that the Pepsi Center could put 10,000 fans in there for a regional, even without the presence of a local team like Denver, CC, or Air Force? Heck, the Avalanche can’t even do that this season.

          • They had over 17,000 for all three games in 2007 Regional, with Air Force as “local” draw. Crowds included a lot from UND but most were locals, like myself, that purchased tickets well in advance. So yes, they would put over 10,000 fans anyway. You do realize your statement is kind of unrealistic, since DU, CC, or AF would be sent to Pepsi Center if they qualified. In any case, there would always be an NCHC team sent to Denver anyway.

          • 17,000 for 3 games? That’s about 6300 per game, which I guess would probably be better than most regional NCAA games at this point but still not as good as a typical one in St Paul.

          • Only way Pepsi Center would hold Regional is if got FF the next year. 2007 held Regional, 2008 FF. World Arena not a campus site, they held Regional in 2008. Don’t know why neither has put in bid again to host, don’t know how hard it would be to schedule around with concerts and all the other sports that play there. Are you now convinced how good WMU is, or do you still want me to get back to you when they beat some good teams? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

          • It doesn’t matter if World Arena is actually “on campus”. It can’t host a regional anymore because it’s CC’s home arena.

          • Totally 100% wrong. World Arena has been officially the “home” ice of CC since it opened in 1998. Old Broadmoor arena was demolished in 1994, CC played at AF Cadet Arena until World Arena was opened in 1998. There is nothing prohibiting the World Arena from hosting a Regional.

          • Well that was a lovely trip down memory lane but you basically agreed w/ me that it is currently CC’s home arena and has been since 1998.

            This would mean that they are not allowed to host a regional as it is not deemed a “neutral site” per NCAA guidelines.

          • Here is another trip down memory lane. WORLD ARENA HOSTED A REGIONAL IN 2008. Like I said, you are 100% wrong,

          • Boy you are pissy as usual. Always good for a laugh lol. The Ralph also hosted a regional in 2006 but both of these were before the NCAA stated they wanted regionals moved away from campuses to “neutral sites”.

            Either way, have a drink or something and calm down bud.

          • Every time you are factually wrong, you tell people to calm down. Maybe you should actually just not spout what you think, and take the time to investigate. World Arena is not on campus, far from it. Maybe you should have a drink, would might help you gain a little knowledge. Way too easy to prove you wrong, not even a challenge any more.

          • It doesn’t matter if World Arena isn’t physically on campus. It’s home ice for the Tigers. You have provided no facts to back up your claim besides “derp 2008 derp” which I provided a reason for. I only ever need to tell you to calm down because you are the most sensitive commentor on here when someone questions your “facts”. Have a good one, cheers!

          • My two cents…MPLS and DU, you are both partially correct, if that’s possible. There is no current strict prohibition on holding regionals at a team’s home arena (I thought there was). Notre Dame was allowed to host at their home arena in 2015, but that was only allowed because no neutral sites bid for the Midwest Regional that year (according to a 2015 article in the Duluth News Tribune). So, in essence, it seems theoretically possible to hold a regional at the World Arena, but it’s highly, highly unlikely unless the NCAA goes back to using home arenas/awarding top seeds…

          • Well, I’m not convinced yet, but I’m not far from it. If you’re talking about WMU’s non-conference schedule, they swept Ferris, W/T with Bowling Green, W/T with Air Force, then beat Michigan State & Michigan Tech at GLI, and they have yet to play Arizona State which WMU *should* beat. Looks to me like they cleaned up against mostly WCHA and AHA teams, but then again, so did everyone else so there’s takes some of the shine off. That said, they *won* those games (or at least didn’t lose them), and I can’t argue with winning. As for their NCHC schedule, so far it looks like they’re one game over .500 which wouldn’t be much cause for excitement, but they seem to have arrived at that record mostly by splitting series, which tells me they’re quite competitive but maybe a bit inconsistent. If they can keep that pace up (consistently inconsistent?), they should at the very least end up high enough in the PWR to avoid getting bumped by the WCHA/AHA autobid teams. Once in the tournament, anything can happen.

          • Agreed, it was a very competitive game to be at and made me want more at the gli. Techs defense played amazing and I was surprised they didn’t score on the 2 minute 5 on 3. Hope you finish strong and take the wcha tourney, which is definitely doable. Thanks for the luck.

      • I know you were early but I posted on the NCHC Recaps on 11/22 after the first DU-WMU game. Even after one game I could see the huge improvement of the Broncos. No longer the physical plodding team, much more team speed. The only thing I thought they needed improvement was getting someone to step up and score goals. They gave DU two harder games than BU did.

    • Why would they put a regional in Cincinnati in the first place. Unless OSU or Miami somehow get in, that one is doomed to have pathetic attendance.

  2. Nice move, Jayson. No matter where DU finishes, except maybe #1, you always have them moving East. What happened to your “rewarding” the highest ranked teams? Don’t give us this attendance or they have to fly anyway crap. I love WMU, was first to tout them as contender, but they don’t travel well in our league. Are you “hoping” they will descend on Cincinnati? What happens if they don’t, got an excuse ready now?

      • I totally agree with you on difficulty of first game, though all teams in tourney are capable. How fair to play Providence in Providence for 2nd game? However, this makes it much more expensive for us DU fans to travel. Obviously, not something Jayson nor NC$$ gives a darn about. Last time DU played in Providence (2015) championship final had well less than 1500 “fans”. Once DU beat BC the arena became “ghost town” for rest of games.

        • Agree 2nd game is harder for sure and the cost to travel is a lot more out there. Not possible to get these stats but, I would love to know how many extra people show up by breaking bracket integrity to move teams.

          • I can personally attest that the majority of fans in 2015 were BC. DU had as many fans in the finals as PC. They let all “fans” move to lower bowl for final, and it still was horrific, even on TV. I agree with you on wanting to know how many extra people they get for breaking integrity. Major problem with breaking brackets is that if team moved to attendance loses first game (except for Sioux fans), the finals are empty.

          • Even with the Sioux playing in the final in Grand Rapids in 2013….it was a ghost town. They should just stop having them in crappy places that even the locals don’t want to go to.

          • Agreed, a lot of people were upset when the Western regional was placed in a building that is only 5k+ but even if UND misses the tournament this year (and they might at this point) I bet that building will be close to capacity with the likes of Duluth and MN having a chance to get some tickets. Those are the types of arenas that should be used for the regionals.

            Or I will keep saying just do two super regionals over 4 days and give the fans a real show, you’d get a chance to see 8 teams and some great hockey. Even if my team got bounced in the first game, I’d stick around to watch some exciting hockey. And then it would make more sense to have them in a larger arena.

        • Your experience is not unique. In 1974, the FF semis were Michigan Tech/Harvard and Minnesota/BU, in the old Boston Garden. Building was full for both games, played on Thursday and Friday nights. Final played on Saturday between Tech/Minny. Tech fans in their section, Gopher fans in their section across the way, and about 2 or 3 thousand fans in the rest of the building.
          Fun facts: That was the first of three consecutive FF finals featuring Michigan Tech vs Minnesota, who was coached by some guy named Herb Brooks. Ironically, the #2 WCHA team won each of those three nattys.

        • I love how you discount Union talking about playing providence in game 2. In 2014 Union BEAT Providence in game 2 IN PROVIDENCE. Denver would be lucky to play Providence in game 2. I don’t want to see Denver in Providence either lol

        • Cya at the regional? I’m going regardless of where Did gets put unless I can’t get tickets to Fargo for whatever reason.

    • You sure we’re the first DU, and I wish I would’ve wrote down who made fun of you for that after just looking at last years results. I would deff make it to Cincinnati and Chicago for the final 4 if we’re there, however none of the others are feasible. Also in miami last weekend, for bronco fans there was 20 parents and then my gf and I at center ice, so I can back up your lack of travel comment.

      • Ray, I have no doubt you will try go to wherever the Broncos play in the Regionals. You are the kind of fan WMU deserves, wish there were more of you. The one that asked me to get back to them when WMU beat a good team was Roaring Aardvark, notice he has been conspicuous by his absence. I am tired of having to pay a lot to go east every year because the NC$$ committee uses every excuse in the book as to why. Attendance sucks every year despite their feeble attempts to ignore the true bracketing.

        • I’m trying to bring more along lol, and brought a lot to the GLI. But thank you, and good memory about who it was. That was the first and only time I saw him post. I don’t blame you for being pissed about the money and the extra time involved when they put you guys as far away as possible. The only reason I agree with is to try and make it so the nc$$ teams don’t eliminate each other til the final four or championship game. The rest are sad excuses with little results.

        • I’m here. Surprised it took you so long go get back to me. Figured you would’ve said something after the GLI final when WMU beat my MTU in OT (Congrats Ray – fun game to watch, wasn’t it? Good luck the rest of the way). Tech had opportunities, but couldn’t get it done. Oh, well… We wait for the Last Chance Qualifier (aka the WCHA tourney), and see if they get a chance to take one of the big boys down a peg.

          PS: Honest question: If travel to regional sites is such a burden (and I don’t doubt that it is), why hasn’t Denver or CC hosted a regional since the 2008 FF/West regional? Is Pepsi Center too big for a regional site? Is the World Arena considered a campus site, and thus disqualified?

          • There’s 10,000 people there too. Do you really think that the Pepsi Center could put 10,000 fans in there for a regional, even without the presence of a local team like Denver, CC, or Air Force? Heck, the Avalanche can’t even do that this season.

          • They had over 17,000 for all three games in 2007 Regional, with Air Force as “local” draw. Crowds included a lot from UND but most were locals, like myself, that purchased tickets well in advance. So yes, they would put over 10,000 fans anyway. You do realize your statement is kind of unrealistic, since DU, CC, or AF would be sent to Pepsi Center if they qualified. In any case, there would always be an NCHC team sent to Denver anyway.

          • 17,000 for 3 games? That’s about 6300 per game, which I guess would probably be better than most regional NCAA games at this point but still not as good as a typical one in St Paul.

          • Only way Pepsi Center would hold Regional is if got FF the next year. 2007 held Regional, 2008 FF. World Arena not a campus site, they held Regional in 2008. Don’t know why neither has put in bid again to host, don’t know how hard it would be to schedule around with concerts and all the other sports that play there. Are you now convinced how good WMU is, or do you still want me to get back to you when they beat some good teams? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

          • It doesn’t matter if World Arena is actually “on campus”. It can’t host a regional anymore because it’s CC’s home arena.

          • Totally 100% wrong. World Arena has been officially the “home” ice of CC since it opened in 1998. Old Broadmoor arena was demolished in 1994, CC played at AF Cadet Arena until World Arena was opened in 1998. There is nothing prohibiting the World Arena from hosting a Regional.

          • Well that was a lovely trip down memory lane but you basically agreed w/ me that it is currently CC’s home arena and has been since 1998.

            This would mean that they are not allowed to host a regional as it is not deemed a “neutral site” per NCAA guidelines.

          • Here is another trip down memory lane. WORLD ARENA HOSTED A REGIONAL IN 2008. Like I said, you are 100% wrong,

          • Boy you are pissy as usual. Always good for a laugh lol. The Ralph also hosted a regional in 2006 but both of these were before the NCAA stated they wanted regionals moved away from campuses to “neutral sites”.

            Either way, have a drink or something and calm down bud.

          • Every time you are factually wrong, you tell people to calm down. Maybe you should actually just not spout what you think, and take the time to investigate. World Arena is not on campus, far from it. Maybe you should have a drink, would might help you gain a little knowledge. Way too easy to prove you wrong, not even a challenge any more.

          • It doesn’t matter if World Arena isn’t physically on campus. It’s home ice for the Tigers. You have provided no facts to back up your claim besides “derp 2008 derp” which I provided a reason for. I only ever need to tell you to calm down because you are the most sensitive commentor on here when someone questions your “facts”. Have a good one, cheers!

          • My two cents…MPLS and DU, you are both partially correct, if that’s possible. There is no current strict prohibition on holding regionals at a team’s home arena (I thought there was). Notre Dame was allowed to host at their home arena in 2015, but that was only allowed because no neutral sites bid for the Midwest Regional that year (according to a 2015 article in the Duluth News Tribune). So, in essence, it seems theoretically possible to hold a regional at the World Arena, but it’s highly, highly unlikely unless the NCAA goes back to using home arenas/awarding top seeds…

          • Well, I’m not convinced yet, but I’m not far from it. If you’re talking about WMU’s non-conference schedule, they swept Ferris, W/T with Bowling Green, W/T with Air Force, then beat Michigan State & Michigan Tech at GLI, and they have yet to play Arizona State which WMU *should* beat. Looks to me like they cleaned up against mostly WCHA and AHA teams, but then again, so did everyone else so there’s takes some of the shine off. That said, they *won* those games (or at least didn’t lose them), and I can’t argue with winning. As for their NCHC schedule, so far it looks like they’re one game over .500 which wouldn’t be much cause for excitement, but they seem to have arrived at that record mostly by splitting series, which tells me they’re quite competitive but maybe a bit inconsistent. If they can keep that pace up (consistently inconsistent?), they should at the very least end up high enough in the PWR to avoid getting bumped by the WCHA/AHA autobid teams. Once in the tournament, anything can happen.

          • Agreed, it was a very competitive game to be at and made me want more at the gli. Techs defense played amazing and I was surprised they didn’t score on the 2 minute 5 on 3. Hope you finish strong and take the wcha tourney, which is definitely doable. Thanks for the luck.

      • I know you were early but I posted on the NCHC Recaps on 11/22 after the first DU-WMU game. Even after one game I could see the huge improvement of the Broncos. No longer the physical plodding team, much more team speed. The only thing I thought they needed improvement was getting someone to step up and score goals. They gave DU two harder games than BU did.

    • Why would they put a regional in Cincinnati in the first place. Unless OSU or Miami somehow get in, that one is doomed to have pathetic attendance.

    • That’s because of regionalizing the brackets. NCHC plus Minnesota? It’s ridiculous to bring Minnesota into Fargo. Just makes no sense.

    • That’s because of regionalizing the brackets. NCHC plus Minnesota? It’s ridiculous to bring Minnesota into Fargo. Just makes no sense.

  3. Western predicted at start of year as 7th in their own division, now are 4th in pairwise. Crazy what happens when you let them play.

  4. Western predicted at start of year as 7th in their own division, now are 4th in pairwise. Crazy what happens when you let them play.

  5. These brackets look pretty fair. I have no argument. DU is out east….so all is right in the world…lol. Next few weeks will be critical.

  6. These brackets look pretty fair. I have no argument. DU is out east….so all is right in the world…lol. Next few weeks will be critical.

  7. There has to be a better way to place these opening round games…..the top seeded teams should get rewarded somehow.

    As it stands now, the top two ranked teams right now basically get screwed. UMD travels to play in North Dakota’s backyard, Denver forced way out East. As a UMD fan I would have no gripe going to North Dakota as a #5 or above. But as the #1 seed, that’s the reward? Need to figure out a way to give the top seeds home ice. Reward the local fans with a home NCAA game for teams that have had an excellent regular season. I’m sick and tired of watching the opening rounds on tv (or not watching my team, given ESPN’s horrific coverage) of my team playing in an empty arena, playing on the home ice of BU or BC, or potentially this year in North Dakota.

    This system is not working, unless you’re UND, Minnesota, BC or BU (and if you’re one of those schools, it’s works perfectly). The fact of the matter is – is that some school’s fan bases are not as large as UND, Minnesota, etc. It’s part of what college hockey is about. It will never be NCAA BB tournament, quit trying to make it that.

    • I agree it is not “working”. NC$$ will never go for top seeds getting home ice. Too many schools have less than 3,000 capacity. Can you imagine Union (2225), Princeton (2092) or Harvard (2850) being one of the top 4 seeds. Not talking about their ability to get top seed, only how NC$$ would have a fit. The “reward” for being a top 4 seed is supposed to be the closest Regional. Of course, that is total BS as far the NC$$ is concerned, they use the “attendance” or “they have to fly anyway”, for any teams not named those you mentioned in your post. Truthfully, I have no problem playing at Fargo since you have to beat the best anyway and it would cost me a hell of a lot less than Providence. Every fan can get tickets from their school, as I do every year, so nobody would get shut out going to any site.

      • Except for UND fans in the Fargo regional…..Season ticket holders take probably 90% of tickets, other schools get 9%, and then 15000 people fight for the remaining 200 tickets.

        • Will take your word on the allocation in Fargo. I do know that if DU ends up getting sent there, as a season ticket holder I can get tickets from DU with no problem.

    • I would think AMSOIL would be big enough to host some year. Or UMD could be a host at the X if necessary. Otherwise it’s closest regional, so Fargo it is, or Cincinnati if tDogs drop below DU.

    • Not sure why it is “working” for UND? They have hosted one regional two years ago and then another this year (and I am about 50/50 if they even make the field of 16 at this point). The system used to be a home series for the first round and that wasn’t working because again you are giving those team that are pretty consistent year after year (like BC, DU, UND, BU, MN sometimes) a HUGE advantage. The whole point of the NCAA tourney is that it should be hard. You should have to play tough teams each game to get the national championship. Plus if I were you and a UMD fan, I would’t care who or when your team plays – the stay healthy and they are playing for the championship this year as they are an outstanding team.

  8. There has to be a better way to place these opening round games…..the top seeded teams should get rewarded somehow.

    As it stands now, the top two ranked teams right now basically get screwed. UMD travels to play in North Dakota’s backyard, Denver forced way out East. As a UMD fan I would have no gripe going to North Dakota as a #5 or above. But as the #1 seed, that’s the reward? Need to figure out a way to give the top seeds home ice. Reward the local fans with a home NCAA game for teams that have had an excellent regular season. I’m sick and tired of watching the opening rounds on tv (or not watching my team, given ESPN’s horrific coverage) of my team playing in an empty arena, playing on the home ice of BU or BC, or potentially this year in North Dakota.

    This system is not working, unless you’re UND, Minnesota, BC or BU (and if you’re one of those schools, it’s works perfectly). The fact of the matter is – is that some school’s fan bases are not as large as UND, Minnesota, etc. It’s part of what college hockey is about. It will never be NCAA BB tournament, quit trying to make it that.

    • I agree it is not “working”. NC$$ will never go for top seeds getting home ice. Too many schools have less than 3,000 capacity. Can you imagine Union (2225), Princeton (2092) or Harvard (2850) being one of the top 4 seeds. Not talking about their ability to get top seed, only how NC$$ would have a fit. The “reward” for being a top 4 seed is supposed to be the closest Regional. Of course, that is total BS as far the NC$$ is concerned, they use the “attendance” or “they have to fly anyway”, for any teams not named those you mentioned in your post. Truthfully, I have no problem playing at Fargo since you have to beat the best anyway and it would cost me a hell of a lot less than Providence. Every fan can get tickets from their school, as I do every year, so nobody would get shut out going to any site.

      • Except for UND fans in the Fargo regional…..Season ticket holders take probably 90% of tickets, other schools get 9%, and then 15000 people fight for the remaining 200 tickets.

        • Will take your word on the allocation in Fargo. I do know that if DU ends up getting sent there, as a season ticket holder I can get tickets from DU with no problem.

    • I would think AMSOIL would be big enough to host some year. Or UMD could be a host at the X if necessary. Otherwise it’s closest regional, so Fargo it is, or Cincinnati if tDogs drop below DU.

    • Not sure why it is “working” for UND? They have hosted one regional two years ago and then another this year (and I am about 50/50 if they even make the field of 16 at this point). The system used to be a home series for the first round and that wasn’t working because again you are giving those team that are pretty consistent year after year (like BC, DU, UND, BU, MN sometimes) a HUGE advantage. The whole point of the NCAA tourney is that it should be hard. You should have to play tough teams each game to get the national championship. Plus if I were you and a UMD fan, I would’t care who or when your team plays – the stay healthy and they are playing for the championship this year as they are an outstanding team.

  9. Funny how BC & BU always stay in the east even thou they are not host schools and VT always get shipped out west, enough already its bad enough they get to play the HE final 4 in their home town every year.

    • UVM’s last 3 appearances:
      2009 NCAA Tournament: Bridgeport as a 3 seed
      2010 NCAA Tournament: St. Paul as a 4 seed
      2014 NCAA Tournament: Bridgeport as a 3 seed

      Seems to me Vermont is being treated just fine.

      Contrast to BU:
      2009 and 2015 Tournament: Manchester as a 1 seed (This is fine; a 1 seed should get to stay near where they are!)
      2007 NCAA Tournament: Grand Rapids as a 2 seed
      2012 NCAA Tournament: St. Paul as a 3 seed
      2016 NCAA Tournament: St. Paul as a 3 seed

      Who’s getting preferential treatment again?

  10. Funny how BC & BU always stay in the east even thou they are not host schools and VT always get shipped out west, enough already its bad enough they get to play the HE final 4 in their home town every year.

    • UVM’s last 3 appearances:
      2009 NCAA Tournament: Bridgeport as a 3 seed
      2010 NCAA Tournament: St. Paul as a 4 seed
      2014 NCAA Tournament: Bridgeport as a 3 seed

      Seems to me Vermont is being treated just fine.

      Contrast to BU:
      2009 and 2015 Tournament: Manchester as a 1 seed (This is fine; a 1 seed should get to stay near where they are!)
      2007 NCAA Tournament: Grand Rapids as a 2 seed
      2012 NCAA Tournament: St. Paul as a 3 seed
      2016 NCAA Tournament: St. Paul as a 3 seed

      Who’s getting preferential treatment again?

  11. Wisconsin?! Gimme a break. And there’s St Cloud still sitting there at 16 with a record under .500. If they finish above .500 I think they’ll get in. They’ve played Duluth 5 times already for cryin’ out loud.

    • As far as Wisconsin is concerned… in the last three weeks they split with Minnesota, swept Ohio State and Michigan State;granted Michigan State is having a horrible season and Michigan State took them to OT in one of the games…that being said in splitting with Minnesota the Badgers took them to OT in the game they lost and at the time they won 3 of 4 from Minnesota and Ohio State, both Ohio State and Minny were ranked in the top 10. Don’t worry if you are a Wisconsin hater though, Minny and Ohio State each get another another shot at Wisconsin before the post season starts.

  12. Wisconsin?! Gimme a break. And there’s St Cloud still sitting there at 16 with a record under .500. If they finish above .500 I think they’ll get in. They’ve played Duluth 5 times already for cryin’ out loud.

    • As far as Wisconsin is concerned… in the last three weeks they split with Minnesota, swept Ohio State and Michigan State;granted Michigan State is having a horrible season and Michigan State took them to OT in one of the games…that being said in splitting with Minnesota the Badgers took them to OT in the game they lost and at the time they won 3 of 4 from Minnesota and Ohio State, both Ohio State and Minny were ranked in the top 10. Don’t worry if you are a Wisconsin hater though, Minny and Ohio State each get another another shot at Wisconsin before the post season starts.

  13. Jayson is not the committee. He simply predicts ( i.e. guesses ) what said committee will do. Unbunch your undies, ladies. It is all in good fun.

  14. Jayson is not the committee. He simply predicts ( i.e. guesses ) what said committee will do. Unbunch your undies, ladies. It is all in good fun.

  15. I find it interesting that you think Penn State is closer to Cincinnati. They’re roughly equidistant (Providence is 10 miles closer by shortest driving route), and there are certainly more PSU fans from places East not West of State College. Given, the moves you made still make sense for the other teams involved but an interesting perception.

  16. I find it interesting that you think Penn State is closer to Cincinnati. They’re roughly equidistant (Providence is 10 miles closer by shortest driving route), and there are certainly more PSU fans from places East not West of State College. Given, the moves you made still make sense for the other teams involved but an interesting perception.

  17. OK, but unless you are talking about Wisconsin’s women’s team, the Badgers do not have the best record in the B1G and no AQ for them. Move St. Lawrence in and slide them into Manchester to face the Terriers.

    • I thought this too, but I think Jayson is technically correct. although it wasn’t explained very clearly.

      The B1G tiebreakers are a bit unclear, but total points are tied, H2H record is tied, and the 3rd tiebreaker is “fewest losses.” If this refers only to conference games, this is also tied, but if it’s overall record, then Minnesota wins the tiebreaker. Going to the 4th tiebreaker, neither team has played PSU, so record against OSU becomes the tiebreaker. Wisco is 2-0, Minnesota is 1-1, so Wisconsin wins the tiebreaker, making them the 1 seed/AQ…Clear as mud, right?

  18. OK, but unless you are talking about Wisconsin’s women’s team, the Badgers do not have the best record in the B1G and no AQ for them. Move St. Lawrence in and slide them into Manchester to face the Terriers.

    • I thought this too, but I think Jayson is technically correct. although it wasn’t explained very clearly.

      The B1G tiebreakers are a bit unclear, but total points are tied, H2H record is tied, and the 3rd tiebreaker is “fewest losses.” If this refers only to conference games, this is also tied, but if it’s overall record, then Minnesota wins the tiebreaker. Going to the 4th tiebreaker, neither team has played PSU, so record against OSU becomes the tiebreaker. Wisco is 2-0, Minnesota is 1-1, so Wisconsin wins the tiebreaker, making them the 1 seed/AQ…Clear as mud, right?

  19. I think outing Denver in Providence penalizes Denver. I say put Western Michigan there. Denver as an overall 2 seed deserves to play a semi-home game and a NCHC venue would be less like a road game.

    • There is no NCHC venue being used for the regionals. The west regional is in Fargo, not a place that any college team plays unless they were in the west regional two years ago.

  20. I think outing Denver in Providence penalizes Denver. I say put Western Michigan there. Denver as an overall 2 seed deserves to play a semi-home game and a NCHC venue would be less like a road game.

    • There is no NCHC venue being used for the regionals. The west regional is in Fargo, not a place that any college team plays unless they were in the west regional two years ago.

  21. Horrible for DU as always. Get to go east as a 1 seed to satisfy the NCAA east crowd bias. Completely lacks any athletic integrity. We get it, it’s the money

  22. Horrible for DU as always. Get to go east as a 1 seed to satisfy the NCAA east crowd bias. Completely lacks any athletic integrity. We get it, it’s the money

  23. Nice screw job for the best teams. Again, Denver gets to go to Providence to satisfy the east coast crowd mania and UMD goes to Fargo. Absolutely zero athletic integrity . We get it, it’s for the NCAA and money, not athletic reward

  24. Nice screw job for the best teams. Again, Denver gets to go to Providence to satisfy the east coast crowd mania and UMD goes to Fargo. Absolutely zero athletic integrity . We get it, it’s for the NCAA and money, not athletic reward

  25. So the schools that athletically should get rewarded, won’t, DU gets to go to Providence to satisfy the NCAA’s money needs there, and UMD gets to go to Fargo. Nice; athletic integrity at its best

    • UMD gets to go to Fargo because they are the #1 overall seed and the committee usually does what it can to put them as close to their campus as possible. In this case that is in Fargo.

  26. So the schools that athletically should get rewarded, won’t, DU gets to go to Providence to satisfy the NCAA’s money needs there, and UMD gets to go to Fargo. Nice; athletic integrity at its best

    • UMD gets to go to Fargo because they are the #1 overall seed and the committee usually does what it can to put them as close to their campus as possible. In this case that is in Fargo.

  27. I don’t see the point of putting Minnesota in Fargo. That regional is already sold you, you aren’t going to sell any more tickets there. Sending Minnesota to Cincinnati gives you the chance of getting some traveling fans down there.

      • Help who? Certainly not the NCAA.

        I don’t think they’ll end up missing though. The win Saturday helped quite a bit IMO.

        • Yeah the games will be “sold out” but there won’t be that many people in the stands if it is UMD, no UND and three other teams from a pretty long distance. So, I guess it will help with the atmosphere in the building more than anything.

          • Not sure what that means. You don’t think it is a better environment when there are actually people in the stands? I have spoken to a number of UND fans that have tix and I would say it is about 50/50 so far for those that will still go if UND doesn’t make the field. I’d like to see the NCAA only pick venues like Scheels Arena to hose the regionals so that you can actually pack in the the fans and have a great environment for the games.

  28. I don’t see the point of putting Minnesota in Fargo. That regional is already sold you, you aren’t going to sell any more tickets there. Sending Minnesota to Cincinnati gives you the chance of getting some traveling fans down there.

      • Help who? Certainly not the NCAA.

        I don’t think they’ll end up missing though. The win Saturday helped quite a bit IMO.

        • Yeah the games will be “sold out” but there won’t be that many people in the stands if it is UMD, no UND and three other teams from a pretty long distance. So, I guess it will help with the atmosphere in the building more than anything.

          • Not sure what that means. You don’t think it is a better environment when there are actually people in the stands? I have spoken to a number of UND fans that have tix and I would say it is about 50/50 so far for those that will still go if UND doesn’t make the field. I’d like to see the NCAA only pick venues like Scheels Arena to hose the regionals so that you can actually pack in the the fans and have a great environment for the games.

          • UND not making the field would not help anything. Not the atmosphere, certainly, or anything else.

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