Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. College Sports

Another look at how the NCAA Tournament field could set up come March

See also

Another week, and another look at a potential tournament field. It’s an exercise which uses your brain, and we call it Bracketology. Bracketology: The prognostication behind how the NCAA sets up its annual Division I hockey tournament.

There are four host sites this year as always (sixteen teams) and four institutions that must be placed close to home if they qualify. The West Regional will be played in St. Paul, MN (Minnesota is the host). The East Regional will be played in Bridgeport, CT (Yale). The Midwest Regional will be played in Cincinnati, OH (Miami-Ohio). The Northeast Regional will be in Worcester, MA (Holy Cross).

The objective is to avoid intra-conference games with the way the tournament is seeded, and there are ten at-large teams along with the six conference champions who will take part in the tournament. Let’s give you the top sixteen in the latest Pairwise rankings, in sequential order: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union, Ferris State, Cornell, UMass-Lowell, Michigan, St. Cloud State, Northeastern, Providence, Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and finally, Notre Dame. There’s one problem here. Mercyhurst, still a conference leader in Atlantic Hockey, is not in the top sixteen. We must replace Notre Dame with Mercyhurst. So, that leaves: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union, Ferris State, Cornell, UMass-Lowell, Michigan, St. Cloud State, Northeastern, Providence, Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Mercyhurst.

Let’s assign the seeds:
1 Seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union
2 Seeds: Ferris State, Cornell, UMass-Lowell, Michigan
3 Seeds: St. Cloud State, Northeastern, Providence, Minnesota-Duluth
4 Seeds: Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Mercyhurst

The one band, as you see above did not fluctuate from last week.

Let’s place the #1 seeds in their regionals. #1 Minnesota goes to the West Regional in St. Paul. #2 Boston College goes to the Northeast Regional in Worcester. #3 Quinnipiac goes to the East Regional in Bridgeport while #4 Union goes to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Onto the two seeds: #5 Ferris State heads to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati while #6 Cornell heads to the East Regional in Bridgeport. #7 UMass-Lowell heads to the Northeast Regional in Worcester while #8 Michigan heads to the West Regional in St. Paul.

Now, we are moving on to the 3rd group. First, put #9 St. Cloud State in the West Regional in St. Paul. You can put #10 Northeastern in the Northeast Regional in Worcester. Finally, put #11 Providence in the East Regional in Bridgeport and #12 Minnesota-Duluth in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Finally, we have the #4 seeds. Put #16 Mercyhurst in the West Regional in St. Paul. #15 North Dakota heads to the Northeast Regional in Worcester. #14 New Hampshire gets thrown in the East Regional in Bridgeport while #13 Wisconsin goes to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

This is how our default bracket, as laid out above, looks:

West Regional
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Mercyhurst
#8 Michigan vs. #9 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional
#4 Union vs. #13 Wisconsin
#5 Ferris State vs. #12 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional
#2 Boston College vs. #15 North Dakota
#7 UMass-Lowell vs. #10 Northeastern

East Regional
#3 Quinnipiac vs. #14 New Hampshire
#6 Cornell vs. #11 Providence

We have one matchup that we must get rid of, and it’s the bottom matchup in the Northeast. UMass-Lowell and Northeastern reside in Hockey East, and according to the manual, there should be no intra-conference first round matchups. Based on the way the default bracket looks, we have a travel issue for the teams affected by our change. Let’s swap #12 Minnesota-Duluth with #10 Northeastern. You get this:

West Regional
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Mercyhurst
#8 Michigan vs. #9 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional
#4 Union vs. #13 Wisconsin
#5 Ferris State vs. #12 Northeastern

Northeast Regional
#2 Boston College vs. #15 North Dakota
#7 UMass-Lowell vs. #10 Minnesota-Duluth

East Regional
#3 Quinnipiac vs. #14 New Hampshire
#6 Cornell vs. #11 Providence

No inter-conference games now. My next worry is attendance. What if we were to move #15 North Dakota to St. Paul and replace #16 Mercyhurst? Let’s do it. You now get:

West Regional
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 North Dakota
#8 Michigan vs. #9 St. Cloud State

Midwest Regional
#4 Union vs. #13 Wisconsin
#5 Ferris State vs. #12 Northeastern

Northeast Regional
#2 Boston College vs. #15 Mercyhurst
#7 UMass-Lowell vs. #10 Minnesota-Duluth

East Regional
#3 Quinnipiac vs. #14 New Hampshire
#6 Cornell vs. #11 Providence

I like it. See you next week.

Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's National College Hockey Examiner as well as the Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here and here, joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the rink!

Advertisement

Sports

  • David Price rumors
    Should the bottom-dwelling Tampa Bay Rays trade or keep pitching ace David Price?
    Video
    MLB Rumors
  • Maria Kirilenko slideshow
    Feast your eyes on the former fiance of Alex Ovechkin: The newly-single Maria Kirilenko
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has Alzheimer's disease, will step down
    NFL News
  • Sam responds to Dungy
    Michael Sam has the perfect response to Tony Dungy's controversial comments
    NFL News
  • Bella wardrobe malfunction
    Sexy diva Nikki Bella suffers wardrobe malfunction during WWE show
    Fight Sports
  • LeBron gives cupcakes
    LeBron James sends cupcakes to neighbors after press overtakes neighborhood
    Food & Drink