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First look at Bracketology for the 2014 season

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Another yearly Examiner tradition begins this week as we bring you ever closer to the NCAA Tournament. It’s an exercise which uses your brain for something besides a puddle of matter, 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, St. Cloud State, Providence, Northeastern, UMass-Lowell, Michigan, Cornell, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, and finally, Clarkson. There’s one problem here.

Mercyhurst, the conference leader (and assumed champion in this scenario) in Atlantic Hockey isn’t in the top sixteen. So, Clarkson is eliminated. That leaves: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union, Ferris State, St. Cloud State, Providence, Northeastern, UMass-Lowell, Michigan, Cornell, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, and Mercyhurst.

Let’s assign seeds to the teams:

1 Seeds: Minnesota, Boston College, Quinnipiac, Union
2 Seeds: Ferris State, St. Cloud State, Providence, Northeastern
3 Seeds: UMass-Lowell, Michigan, Cornell, Notre Dame
4 Seeds: Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, Mercyhurst

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.

Let’s go into the #2 seeds now. #5 Ferris State goes to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati. #6 St. Cloud State goes to the East Regional in Bridgeport. #7 Providence goes to the Northeast Regional in Worcester while #8 Northeastern goes to the West Regional in St. Paul.

Now, to the #3 seeds we go. #9 UMass-Lowell goes to the West Regional in St. Paul. #10 Michigan goes to the Northeast Regional in Worcester. #11 Cornell goes to the East Regional in Bridgeport leaving #12 Notre Dame to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Finally, we get to the #4 seeds. #16 Mercyhurst goes to the West Regional in St. Paul. #15 Colgate goes to the Northeast Regional in Worcester. #14 Minnesota-Duluth goes to the East Regional in Bridgeport, leaving #13 Wisconsin in Cincinnati at the Midwest Regional.

Here’s how our bracket sets up:

West Regional
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Mercyhurst
#8 Northeastern vs. #9 UMass-Lowell

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

Northeast Regional
#2 Boston College vs. #15 Colgate
#7 Providence vs. #10 Michigan

East Regional
#3 Quinnipiac vs. #14 Minnesota-Duluth
#6 St. Cloud State vs. #11 Cornell

We have one intra-conference game in the West regional that we must avoid in Northeastern vs. UMass-Lowell. They both reside in Hockey East. The swap I’m projecting involves Cornell, because we can only swap teams within their group (Example: You can swap a #3 seed with another #3 seed but you cannot swap a #3 with a #4.)

With the switch made, you get this:

West Regional
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Mercyhurst
#8 Northeastern vs. #9 Cornell

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

Northeast Regional
#2 Boston College vs. #15 Colgate
#7 Providence vs. #10 Michigan

East Regional
#3 Quinnipiac vs. #14 Minnesota-Duluth
#6 St. Cloud State vs. #11 UMass-Lowell

No intra-conference games. Can there be anything done to boost attendance? Hmm. Not seeing anything, so that’s the bracket we’ll go with this 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!

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