With two weekends left, here’s how the NCAA tournament brackets could look

Could Minnesota be on track for a first-round NCAA tournament game against North Dakota in Fargo? (photo: Jim Rosvold)

We’re at that time of the year where one thing is on everyone’s minds.

Will my team make the NCAA tournament? Where does it sit in the PairWise Rankings?

Those of you 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.

We’ll be bringing you a new look 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; 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 2017 pre-championship manual:

In setting up the tournament, the committee begins with a list of priorities to ensure a successful tournament on all fronts, including competitive equity, financial success and the likelihood of a playoff-type atmosphere at each regional site. For this model, the following is a basic set of priorities:

1. Once the six automatic qualifiers and 10 at-large teams are selected, the next step is to develop four groups from the committee’s rankings of 1-16. The top four teams are No. 1 seeds and will be placed in the bracket so that if all four teams advance to the Men’s Frozen Four, the No. 1 seed will play the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The next four are targeted as No. 2 seeds. The next four are No. 3 seeds and the last four are No. 4 seeds.

2. Step two is to place the home teams. Host institutions that qualify will be placed at home.

3. Step three is to fill in the bracket so that first-round conference matchups are avoided, unless it corrupts the integrity of the bracket. If five or more teams from one conference are selected to the championship, then the integrity of the bracket will be protected (i.e., maintaining the pairing process according to seed will take priority over avoidance of first-round conference matchups). To complete each regional, the committee assigns one team from each of the remaining seeded groups so there is a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed at each regional site.

Given these facts, here is the top 16 of the current PairWise Rankings, and the conference leaders or number one seeds in their tournament through all games of March 5:

1 Denver
2 Minnesota Duluth
3 Harvard
4 Western Michigan
5 Minnesota
6 UMass Lowell
7 Boston University
8 Union
9 Penn State
10 Cornell
11t Providence
11t North Dakota
13t Wisconsin
13t Notre Dame
15 Vermont
16 Air Force
26 Canisius
27 Bemidji State

Current conference leaders based on winning percentage or as the No. 1 seed in its respective tournament:

Atlantic Hockey: Canisius
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Harvard
Hockey East: UMass Lowell
NCHC: Denver
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.

• For conferences where the regular season has concluded, I have taken the highest remaining seed in that conference’s tournament as the assumed conference tournament champion.

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 or top remaining seeds in the conference tournaments that are not currently in the top 16. The only teams that are not are Bemidji State and Canisius.

From there, we can start looking at the ties and bubbles in a more detailed fashion.

The ties and bubbles consist of Providence/North Dakota and Wisconsin/Notre Dame this week.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

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

1 Denver
2 Minnesota Duluth
3 Harvard
4 Western Michigan
5 Minnesota
6 UMass Lowell
7 Boston University
8 Union
9 Penn State
10 Cornell
11 Providence
12 North Dakota
13 Wisconsin
14 Notre Dame
15 Canisius
16 Bemidji State

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Harvard, Western Michigan

No. 2 seeds: Minnesota, UMass Lowell, Boston University, Union

No. 3 seeds: Penn State, Cornell, Providence, North Dakota

No. 4 seeds: Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Canisius, Bemidji State

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

No. 1 Denver is placed in the West Regional in Fargo
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth is placed in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.
No. 3 Harvard 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 Union is placed in No. 1 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Boston University is placed in No. 2 Minnesota Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 6 UMass Lowell is placed in No. 3 Harvard’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Minnesota 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.

As a host school, North Dakota is placed first.

No. 12 North Dakota is placed in No. 8 Union’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 9 Penn State is placed in No. 7 Boston University’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Cornell is placed in No. 6 UMass Lowell’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 11 Providence is placed in No. 5 Minnesota’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 Bemidji State is sent to No. 1 Denver’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Canisius is sent to No. 2 Minnesota Duluth’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 14 Notre Dame is sent to No. 3 Harvard’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Wisconsin is sent to No. 4 Western Michigan’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Western Michigan
11 Providence vs. 5 Minnesota

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Notre Dame vs. 3 Harvard
10 Cornell vs. 6 UMass Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Canisius vs. 2 Minnesota Duluth
9 Penn State vs. 7 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Bemidji State vs. 1 Denver
12 North Dakota vs. 8 Union

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

Time to look at maximizing attendance.

I see one swap that will send an East team East and a West team West: Union and Minnesota.

By doing this, we’ve come closer to bracket integrity in the second and third bands as well.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Western Michigan
11 Providence vs. 8 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Notre Dame vs. 3 Harvard
10 Cornell vs. 6 UMass Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Canisius vs. 2 Minnesota Duluth
9 Penn State vs. 7 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Bemidji State vs. 1 Denver
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Minnesota

Is there anything else that we can do here? I don’t think so.

So it’s quite simple this week.

There’s a lot in flux right now as five of six tournaments will be underway this weekend. There’s a lot at stake for some teams, most noticeably those on the bubble.

Teams like Air Force, St. Cloud State and Boston College have to make it out of this round or else it might be over for them. Sink or swim time as they say, and we’ll know more once it thins out a bit after the weekend.

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 (Providence):
13 Wisconsin vs. 4 Western Michigan
11 Providence vs. 8 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Notre Dame vs. 3 Harvard
10 Cornell vs. 6 UMass Lowell

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
15 Canisius vs. 2 Minnesota Duluth
9 Penn State vs. 7 Boston University

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Bemidji State vs. 1 Denver
12 North Dakota vs. 5 Minnesota

Conference breakdowns

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

Movement

In: North Dakota
Out: Ohio State

Last week’s brackets

East Regional (Providence):
13 Wisconsin vs. 3 Harvard
12 Providence vs. 8 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
15 Bemidji State vs. 4 Minnesota
10 Cornell vs. 7 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
14 Ohio State vs. 2 Minnesota Duluth
11 Notre Dame vs. 5 Western Michigan

West Regional (Fargo):
16 Canisius vs. 1 Denver
9 Penn State vs. 6 UMass Lowell

304 COMMENTS

  1. I like it. I like it a lot! By the way Jason, people were a bit hard on you last week with all the attendance related moves but I think 99.9% of everyone who gives a d*amn about college hockey has the utmost respect for you.

  2. I like it. I like it a lot! By the way Jason, people were a bit hard on you last week with all the attendance related moves but I think 99.9% of everyone who gives a d*amn about college hockey has the utmost respect for you.

  3. North Dakota and Minnesota together “Gee, what a surprise” And the winner gets the #1 team in the nation?

    • I’m sure that’s not what was intended. Even if Minnesota was intentionally moved because of attendance – to a tournament that’s been sold out for months…

      Gophers fans will have to pay out the nose for scalped tickets, so I guess we have that going for us.

        • Not necessarily. Supply and demand….if UMD or MN are in that regional, easy to get to from each location….prices may still be inflated.

          • Easy to get to…doesn’t mean they will go. At least from the gophers… I could definitely see many more UMD fans going

        • Ha! Hey man. Just figured out who you are. The Sioux will win, go to Frozen Faceoff. Then you and I can watch them lose to Denver and UMD. :)

    • Too soon. Not safe unless they’re 12 or better in the PWR after next weekend.

      But yes, wait for it. Wisco will sound in soon enough. haha.

        • Are you kidding me? The University Of North Dakota Angry Birds have played the strongest strength of schedule in the history of any sport, let alone college hockey. They have the traveled the entire NACHO conference platter in search of competition, they played the greatest team the Netherlands has to offer in the Dutchmen from Union, they played the pride of the Canisius — wherever that is, they battled the Spartan warlords from Michigan State, the pesky Goofers of Minnesota. Why no foreigner, legendary solider, rodent, or whatever Cansius is was too much for them to take on. However, the committee always loves North Dakota because they get many quality shots on goal and their fans travel so well, so they will always be in the tournament. In fact, there is a bi-law that says so. #NCAAFACT

    • Too soon. Not safe unless they’re 12 or better in the PWR after next weekend.

      But yes, wait for it. Wisco will sound in soon enough. haha.

        • Are you kidding me? The University Of North Dakota Angry Birds have played the strongest strength of schedule in the history of any sport, let alone college hockey. They have the traveled the entire NACHO conference platter in search of competition, they played the greatest team the Netherlands has to offer in the Dutchmen from Union, they played the pride of the Canisius — wherever that is, they battled the Spartan warlords from Michigan State, the pesky Goofers of Minnesota. Why no foreigner, legendary solider, rodent, or whatever Cansius is was too much for them to take on. However, the committee always loves North Dakota because they get many quality shots on goal and their fans travel so well, so they will always be in the tournament. In fact, there is a bi-law that says so. #NCAAFACT

      • No question this would be a fun regional. I think UND is getting too much credit this year (which is understandable I suppose), and BSU is not getting enough. DU really has nothing to worry about regardless of which regional they end up going to. The only way DU loses, to anyone, is if they simply fail to show up. The only teams that can challenge DU are UMD and BU…imo.

          • You could be right Vinnie, I have not seen either team play so my comments could be ill-conceived. I am basing my predictions based on my experience and observation. DU plays much like UND did last year in that, even in close games, DU never seems to be threatened. Mostly, though, I look for teams that have the 3 critical pieces to win a NC. 1. Goaltending 2. Goal scorers. This does not have to be a star player, but a player who knows how to put the puck in the net. Troy Terry fills this roll for DU (though I also consider him a star player). 3. Average or better defensive corps. Solid defensemen are needed to win consistently over a season. Average or better play will get you through a tournament. These are the things I look at. Coaching is also important, but I place it below the three items above.

          • I’m not debating how good DU is, I see it. I’m only saying that UMD may not be the only team that matches up well with them. UML is currently on their 2nd 7 game win streak of the year, beating BU and sweeping BC in the process. PC has won 13 of their last 15.

          • Don’t think Sparky said UMD was only team to match up with DU. I read into it that he thought UMD and BU would be best to tackle them, not only team. Bad thing when you start to mention teams specifically, fans from other teams (UML) take offense.

          • Vinnie, anything can happen in a one-and-done NT. I’m just saying DU has all the pieces to win the NT. I admitted that I have not seen UML and PC play….this is why I said my logic might be ill-conceived. Let me put it this way……

            After Xmas (last year) I thought UND had a 95% chance of winning the NC. UND just had too much for any team to handle. Great GT’ing, excellent defensive corps, and the CBS line that nobody could handle. Very few teams, in all the years I have been watching CH, possessed the level of talent that UND had last year. Hence, I knew UND had a great chance of winning the NC….without knowing much about the Eastern teams.

            DU is in a similar position this year. Honestly, I think UND’s team from last year was more talented, but DU’s team this year is very close. So, w/out knowing much about the Eastern teams this year, I think DU has a great chance of winning the NC. DU, like ’16 UND, just has too many pieces to fail. I did not mention their D corps (above), but DU also has 3 very good defensemen on their roster…this is all you need to get through the NT.

            This is just my opinion Vinnie, it is not worth more than anyone else’s on here..:)

          • I get all of that, I totally understand that anything can happen in a one and done tournament and that DU is stacked….and I’m just offering a little local knowledge from an eastern perspective.

          • On another note, do they serve up beer there at Tsongas? I’m thinking UND and UML need to schedule some games. I need a trip out east.

          • A: Yes they do! Ask for Tom at the Harpoon stand right behind sec. 106., and Yes they do need to schedule UND. I’ll buy you one!

          • I’m surprised UND doesn’t have more HE schools on their schedule. I guess we played Vermont last season, but there isn’t anything, as of yet, going forward.

          • I’m sure we’ll get there or you’ll get here. Bazin is scheduling NCHC teams. Had 4 games last year, 6 games this year. Thinking 6 more next year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see UND and DU on the schedule. So, far it’s been UMD, CC, and Omaha.

          • Per Brad Schlossman, our tentative non-conference schedule for next year is the beginning of the season tournament in Alaska, 2 against Wisco, 2 against Goof U, 2 against Union, home and home against Bemidji, and 2 against St. Lawrence. Obviously they could change some things, but hopefully they get something in the near future.

          • Wow, no HEA at all. I know Bazin schedule CC because of his history with them. Not too sure about UMD and Omaha though.

          • DU would be logical. We always play the Boston teams and one HEA/ECAC team on our OOC schedule. I can’t remember if we played Providence last year at home. If we did, that might open up slot for another eastern home-and-home commitment.

          • Denver played both, which he obviously knew. With your logic he could have named Canisius, and the other 14 teams that make the tourney. Realize that you think UML can beat any team in the country, don’t blame you a bit. Since the “known” factor is that BU and UMD actually played DU, his opinion is very logical.

        • BU? With all that talent, they can’t get their crap together and will have all they can handle to get past NU this weekend in Hockey East quarterfinals. There’s no “i” in team except at BU.

          • Absolutely. Quinn recruits but doesn’t coach. Every kid going to BU that will play in the NHL will take at least a year going back and forth between AHL etc. It’s amazing to see so much talent playing such uninspired Hockey.

          • I remember many anointed them as the national champ at the beginning of the season with all this talent. Sometimes teams like this are more apt to disappoint then win titles. Do they have the talent to win? Absolutely. Do they have the ability, sure. Will they? I wouldn’t bet my life.

        • Not even sure that BU should be in the conversation and frankly I thought that UMD was the best team in the country 6 weeks ago but DU is clearly the best team in the nation right now. Agree that they win if they show up and avoid some crazy goalie just not giving up anything one night (which is totally possible). Also agree that UND is getting too much credit but they have talent so if they get hot and the goaltending is solid anything is possible.

        • One caveat that might factor in, referees. If they let the boys play, usually the better team has the advantage. Sometimes refs, that aren’t used to either team, try to put their “stamp” on the game. Have seen this way too often.

    • Why Yikes! We both saw this coming. The Fargo Regional will be what most CH fans wanted. You might have to give me some tips on good eateries.

      • Sickie’s Garage or JL Beers for great burgers. Toasted Frog down town has good food. Grand Junction makes pretty good grilled subs. Drekker Brewing in downtown Fargo and Junkyard Brewing in Moorhead have great beer.

        • Thanks a ton, UMGC. I printed your reply and will use it in case things don’t dramatically change in the next 2 weeks.

          • I’m sure there are plenty of other great places, but those are usually my go to places if I’m in Fargo for work. I’ll ask some people from our Fargo office if they have any other places to recommend.

          • That would be great. My wife and I go with another couple that are also long-time season ticket holders, that sit in back of us at games. We usually try to have one dinner at a real nice place, can even be a little pricey. If you could get me the name of a nice place, I would appreciate it.

      • Lol, you are not familiar with my wonderful home state. We are far less concerned about places to eat…..it’s more about great places to drink. I haven’t been in Fargo for some time, but I am sure there are some decent places to eat.

    • I don’t want to get sent to Fargo if UND makes the tournament, but that west regional would be FUN to go to.

      • No question this would be a fun regional. I think UND is getting too much credit this year (which is understandable I suppose), and BSU is not getting enough. DU really has nothing to worry about regardless of which regional they end up going to. The only way DU loses, to anyone, is if they simply fail to show up. The only teams that can challenge DU are UMD and BU…imo.

          • You could be right Vinnie, I have not seen either team play so my comments could be ill-conceived. I am basing my predictions based on my experience and observation. DU plays much like UND did last year in that, even in close games, DU never seems to be threatened. Mostly, though, I look for teams that have the 3 critical pieces to win a NC. 1. Goaltending 2. Goal scorers. This does not have to be a star player, but a player who knows how to put the puck in the net. Troy Terry fills this roll for DU (though I also consider him a star player). 3. Average or better defensive corps. Solid defensemen are needed to win consistently over a season. Average or better play will get you through a tournament. These are the things I look at. Coaching is also important, but I place it below the three items above.

          • I’m not debating how good DU is, I see it. I’m only saying that UMD may not be the only team that matches up well with them. UML is currently on their 2nd 7 game win streak of the year, beating BU and sweeping BC in the process. PC has won 13 of their last 15.

          • Don’t think Sparky said UMD was only team to match up with DU. I read into it that he thought UMD and BU would be best to tackle them, not only team. Bad thing when you start to mention teams specifically, fans from other teams (UML) take offense.

          • Vinnie, anything can happen in a one-and-done NT. I’m just saying DU has all the pieces to win the NT. I admitted that I have not seen UML and PC play….this is why I said my logic might be ill-conceived. Let me put it this way……

            After Xmas (last year) I thought UND had a 95% chance of winning the NC. UND just had too much for any team to handle. Great GT’ing, excellent defensive corps, and the CBS line that nobody could handle. Very few teams, in all the years I have been watching CH, possessed the level of talent that UND had last year. Hence, I knew UND had a great chance of winning the NC….without knowing much about the Eastern teams.

            DU is in a similar position this year. Honestly, I think UND’s team from last year was more talented, but DU’s team this year is very close. So, w/out knowing much about the Eastern teams this year, I think DU has a great chance of winning the NC. DU, like ’16 UND, just has too many pieces to fail. I did not mention their D corps (above), but DU also has 3 very good defensemen on their roster…this is all you need to get through the NT.

            This is just my opinion Vinnie, it is not worth more than anyone else’s on here..:)

          • I get all of that, I totally understand that anything can happen in a one and done tournament and that DU is stacked….and I’m just offering a little local knowledge from an eastern perspective.

          • On another note, do they serve up beer there at Tsongas? I’m thinking UND and UML need to schedule some games. I need a trip out east.

          • A: Yes they do! Ask for Tom at the Harpoon stand right behind sec. 106., and Yes they do need to schedule UND. I’ll buy you one!

          • I’m surprised UND doesn’t have more HE schools on their schedule. I guess we played Vermont last season, but there isn’t anything, as of yet, going forward.

          • I’m sure we’ll get there or you’ll get here. Bazin is scheduling NCHC teams. Had 4 games last year, 6 games this year. Thinking 6 more next year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see UND and DU on the schedule. So, far it’s been UMD, CC, and Omaha.

          • Per Brad Schlossman, our tentative non-conference schedule for next year is the beginning of the season tournament in Alaska, 2 against Wisco, 2 against Goof U, 2 against Union, home and home against Bemidji, and 2 against St. Lawrence. Obviously they could change some things, but hopefully they get something in the near future.

          • Wow, no HEA at all. I know Bazin schedule CC because of his history with them. Not too sure about UMD and Omaha though.

          • DU would be logical. We always play the Boston teams and one HEA/ECAC team on our OOC schedule. I can’t remember if we played Providence last year at home. If we did, that might open up slot for another eastern home-and-home commitment.

          • Providence is frightened to come to Denver…Not sure they’ve been in Denver for 20 years. Hope they are coming next year.

          • Denver played both, which he obviously knew. With your logic he could have named Canisius, and the other 14 teams that make the tourney. Realize that you think UML can beat any team in the country, don’t blame you a bit. Since the “known” factor is that BU and UMD actually played DU, his opinion is very logical.

        • BU? With all that talent, they can’t get their crap together and will have all they can handle to get past NU this weekend in Hockey East quarterfinals. There’s no “i” in team except at BU.

          • Absolutely. Quinn recruits but doesn’t coach. Every kid going to BU that will play in the NHL will take at least a year going back and forth between AHL etc. It’s amazing to see so much talent playing such uninspired Hockey.

          • I remember many anointed them as the national champ at the beginning of the season with all this talent. Sometimes teams like this are more apt to disappoint then win titles. Do they have the talent to win? Absolutely. Do they have the ability, sure. Will they? I wouldn’t bet my life.

        • Not even sure that BU should be in the conversation and frankly I thought that UMD was the best team in the country 6 weeks ago but DU is clearly the best team in the nation right now. Agree that they win if they show up and avoid some crazy goalie just not giving up anything one night (which is totally possible). Also agree that UND is getting too much credit but they have talent so if they get hot and the goaltending is solid anything is possible.

          • BU is in the conversation based on their talent alone. I know they haven’t played very well as a team this year but with that skill, they could put up 6 goals on anybody in the country.

          • Nobody’s putting up 6 against DU at this point. DU isn’t my team so I don’t really care but they are so hard to get chances against. I just think that DU is by far the best team right now and it will take a special night from a goalie or a team to play out of their mind to beat them. Obviously that can happen but right now if I were a DU fan, I wouldn’t care where we get sent or who we play, they have to be the favorite at this point.

          • I don’t want to go too far east for personal travel reasons, and I still don’t want to be sent to Fargo if UND is in. DU has just played horrible against UND in North Dakota in recent memory. Even though they were 1-0-1 at the Ralph THIS year, I was not exactly thrilled with how they played.

          • I don’t know… have you seen DU’s penalty kill? It’s average at best; I think they could give up six.

        • One caveat that might factor in, referees. If they let the boys play, usually the better team has the advantage. Sometimes refs, that aren’t used to either team, try to put their “stamp” on the game. Have seen this way too often.

    • Why Yikes! We both saw this coming. The Fargo Regional will be what most CH fans wanted. You might have to give me some tips on good eateries.

      • Sickie’s Garage or JL Beers for great burgers. Toasted Frog down town has good food. Grand Junction makes pretty good grilled subs. Drekker Brewing in downtown Fargo and Junkyard Brewing in Moorhead have great beer.

        • Thanks a ton, UMGC. I printed your reply and will use it in case things don’t dramatically change in the next 2 weeks.

          • I’m sure there are plenty of other great places, but those are usually my go to places if I’m in Fargo for work. I’ll ask some people from our Fargo office if they have any other places to recommend.

          • That would be great. My wife and I go with another couple that are also long-time season ticket holders, that sit in back of us at games. We usually try to have one dinner at a real nice place, can even be a little pricey. If you could get me the name of a nice place, I would appreciate it.

      • How are you gonna get there if DU is sent to Fargo? Curious for my own travel plans. Flights out of DIA to Fargo are pretty expensive right now and only gonna go up.

        • Looks at flights from Denver to Sioux Falls or Bismarck or even Jamestown and then get a rental. If DU makes it, first round for you guys will be on me at the OB downtown in Fargo.

          • The word “rental” scares me. I’m going by myself and (barely) under 25 so they might hit me with a huge “young drivers fee.”

          • yeah that sucks. so you may just have to bite the bullet and fly right into Fargo. But Fargo has Uber and taxis so you can get around town as needed once you are here.

          • How much is the drive from JMS? Looks like I can get a roundtrip flight for $720, for wife and I.

      • Lol, you are not familiar with my wonderful home state. We are far less concerned about places to eat…..it’s more about great places to drink. I haven’t been in Fargo for some time, but I am sure there are some decent places to eat.

  4. When the choice is made to move Minnesota to the West Regional for better attendance, would the committee take into account that the West Regional was sold out a few days after tickets went on sale?

    I completely see the point there, but in reality it may actually be a negative for attendance as I’m sure Gopher fans would travel well.

    Thoughts? Anyone seen something like this before?

    • “Attendance” is the only viable justification of breaking up true 1-16, 2-15, etc bracket integrity, coinciding with avoiding intra-conference 1st round match-ups. Personally, I think the committee will do whatever the hell the committee wants to do, and they love UND-Minn in the same regional. Alas, it is hard to sell the same ticket twice in Fargo, so the East would be the beneficiary here, theoretically speaking.

    • When you see “attendance” you might as well think “travel costs.” It’s cheaper to put MN and Union on buses than to fly each across the country. As far as fans driving to Providence vs. flying from MN, it’s probably a wash – but you know that the NC$$ will do anything it can to have a MN/ND matchup.

      • Yeah, I think you’re right on all fronts there. As a Sioux fan I would love to have them play the Gophs. I do feel bad for Denver, but they can handle it.

    • Attendance reason would be more about getting Union and their fans to Providence to try and avoid the disaster of nobody showing up like the last time they had a regional in Providence.

  5. When the choice is made to move Minnesota to the West Regional for better attendance, would the committee take into account that the West Regional was sold out a few days after tickets went on sale?

    I completely see the point there, but in reality it may actually be a negative for attendance as I’m sure Gopher fans would travel well.

    Thoughts? Anyone seen something like this before?

    • “Attendance” is the only viable justification of breaking up true 1-16, 2-15, etc bracket integrity, coinciding with avoiding intra-conference 1st round match-ups. Personally, I think the committee will do whatever the hell the committee wants to do, and they love UND-Minn in the same regional. Alas, it is hard to sell the same ticket twice in Fargo, so the East would be the beneficiary here, theoretically speaking.

    • When you see “attendance” you might as well think “travel costs.” It’s cheaper to put MN and Union on buses than to fly each across the country. As far as fans driving to Providence vs. flying from MN, it’s probably a wash – but you know that the NC$$ will do anything it can to have a MN/ND matchup.

      • The brackets will change again the next two weeks, but it seems like #1 Denver is getting the shaft more than anyone. They will play either the host school (North Dakota) or the highest #2 seed (Minnesota). Denver would be the favorite, but certainly Minnesota or North Dakota (in Fargo) could beat them in a one game scenario. Lastly Bemidji State (or Minnesota State) is no cupcake in the 1 vs 16 matchup

        • I actually think Moy gets the Denver part wrong this week. I think the NCAA would flip Denver and UMD. Denver plays Canisius in Cinci and UMD plays BSU in Fargo. Everything else is the same. Denver is flying anyway and still playing an autobid school, while the NC$$ gets a no-flight North Star Cup West in Fargo.

          • The committee has almost always put the top seed in the region that is closest to them. I think they will end up in Fargo just about no matter what (as long as UND isn’t a 4 seed).

          • Except this situation is almost identical to 08 when MN was the #1. They got put on a plane to the 2nd closest regional (Denver) because the closest regional (Grand Rapids) was a drive for the #2 seed (Notre Dame.) MN also got paired up with #15 Air Force that year, because Denver was a drive for AF.

          • That did happen. I don’t think it was 2008 cause that’s the year that the Frozen Four was in Denver so probably a few years before that. I do remember because I was at that regional in Denver with Air Force and Minnesota. Back in the good old days when regionals were in Denver… sigh.

          • You’re right, it was 2007. It was the year MN won the Final Five on Wheeler’s diving OT goal. Being sent out to Denver also put them in the same bracket as North Dakota, for a rematch a week later.

          • That’s right… For some reason I remember the Air Force/Minnesota game pretty well. Really thought Air Force was gonna pull the upset for most of the game.

          • Yeah that Air Force game was a great game. I was that the regional. Tons of fun watching UND beat MN the next night.

          • You mean 07 and I guess I don’t remember the PWR seedings for that year and who was 16 but it looks like it would have been Huntsville.

          • Yes, as I mentioned earlier, my memory was off by a year, but the point remains the situations are nearly identical. You are also right that Huntsville was the #16 – not only was the PWR gap between AFA and UAH much greater than this year’s gap between BSU and Canisius, UAH didn’t even have a winning record that season – but they still got to play the #2 seed because of travel. Throw that precedent along with protecting the #1 from having to potentially play a host school, and I think Denver to Cinci is pretty obvious.

          • Guess we will see but to say that something is pretty “obvious” when the guy that pretty much nails the tourney brackets doesn’t agree with you seems to be a bit arrogant.

          • Moy brags that he “correctly picks the field every year,” but considering anyone who can read the pairwise can correctly pick the field every year, it’s not particularly impressive. Protecting the #1 seed from a host school isn’t an explicit rule, just like Providence playing in Providence when they aren’t the host isn’t an explicit rule, but it’s likely to be a factor – something even Moy has commented on in the past. Finally, no, I don’t know the exact pairwise standings in 07, but UAH finished in last place in the worst conference in college hockey, so it’s safe to say they were significantly lower than Air Force, who had a winning record – unlike the current difference between Canisius and BSU who are only 1 spot apart.

          • Yeah it is easy to pick the teams that get in but not so easy to pick where the committee ultimately will put teams after they factor in everything. Look if the PWR don’t change much by the end of next week (which is unlikely) I’d be willing to bet that DU ends up in Fargo almost certainly.

          • It’s not exactly rocket science to figure out the bracket. Sometimes there are a couple 50/50 decision – the past few years it has been pretty straightforward. If Denver’s #1, then they are going to either Fargo or Cincinnati – there’s no chance they’ll be sent out east like Moy has offered in some of his brackets over the past few weeks (Moy has also put them in Cinci without explaining in previous weeks). With UMD sitting at #2, UND still on the bubble, the lack of schools within a driving distance of Cincinnati, and the NC$$’s “a flight is a flight” policy, I’d say it’s a 50/50 toss up which place Denver gets sent when the final pairwise is determined.

          • And you remember the PWR gap between two schools from 2007? Can you show a source for that otherwise is just sounds like you are making it up to help your point.

          • Last thing, “precedent along with protecting the #1 from having to potentially play a host school”? Is that part of the criteria that is used?

          • It was in 2007, and Gophers were fortunate to escape with a win. If I recall correctly, AF had a 2 or 3 goal lead going into 3rd period.

          • And they always put the 16 versus the 1 from what I have seen. I don’t recall them ever having the 1 play the 15, maybe it has happened (if it has someone will chime in).

          • It has happened. If say Providence were #16, and kept in Providence, they would not move UMD or Denver to face them.

        • Getting the shaft would be being sent out to the east or north east regional for a road game as the #1 overall seed. Being sent to Fargo for a road game is a step up from what us DU fans are used to.

      • Yeah, I think you’re right on all fronts there. As a Sioux fan I would love to have them play the Gophs. I do feel bad for Denver, but they can handle it.

    • Attendance reason would be more about getting Union and their fans to Providence to try and avoid the disaster of nobody showing up like the last time they had a regional in Providence.

      • It may help a little, but probably not much. See DU_Fan’s many posts about them always moving Prov to Prov and there is still only 1200 people in the building. Are Union fans going to fill the place to capacity? I’m guessing no.

  6. I honestly think that this is the best bracket we’ve seen in terms of spreading out the talent. Every region has 3 strong teams.

  7. I honestly think that this is the best bracket we’ve seen in terms of spreading out the talent. Every region has 3 strong teams.

  8. Nobody seems to be giving Bemidji a chance at getting there. Don’t count them out yet. They did win the conference, after all.

    • Oh, the bad and scary WCHA. Winning a bad conference doesn’t mean much, especially when they are 27th in the Pairwise. You trying to say they are this year’s version of Holy Cross?

  9. Nobody seems to be giving Bemidji a chance at getting there. Don’t count them out yet. They did win the conference, after all.

    • Oh, the bad and scary WCHA. Winning a bad conference doesn’t mean much, especially when they are 27th in the Pairwise. You trying to say they are this year’s version of Holy Cross?

  10. OMG I would love Union to be in that bracket but we all know things will change this weekend lol. I think we could beat Providence and then play a team that relies on low scoring games. With Union’s offence I think Western Michigan if our best chance to get to the final dance. Obviously need to get by a good team in Providence first. I am making the 6 hour drive from Toronto area to watch Union play Princeton this week in ECAC quarters

  11. OMG I would love Union to be in that bracket but we all know things will change this weekend lol. I think we could beat Providence and then play a team that relies on low scoring games. With Union’s offence I think Western Michigan if our best chance to get to the final dance. Obviously need to get by a good team in Providence first. I am making the 6 hour drive from Toronto area to watch Union play Princeton this week in ECAC quarters

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