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Making changes to the potential NCAA bracket

Inside the NCAA tournament set up process
Inside the NCAA tournament set up process
National Collegiate Athletic Association

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: Boston College, Minnesota, Union, Ferris State, Quinnipiac, UMass-Lowell, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State, Cornell, Michigan, Providence, Northeastern, Vermont, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, and Maine. Because Mercyhurst leads Atlantic Hockey, they’re given a berth into the tournament, displacing Maine. That leaves: Boston College, Minnesota, Union, Ferris State, Quinnipiac, UMass-Lowell, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State, Cornell, Michigan, Providence, Northeastern, Vermont, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate, and Mercyhurst.

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

We begin placing teams in the bracket with the #1 seeds. Because it is a tournament host, we first place #2 Minnesota in the West Regional in St. Paul. #1 Boston College goes to the Northeast Regional in Worcester, #3 Union heads to the East Regional in Bridgeport while #4 Ferris State goes to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Onto the #2 seeds now. #5 Quinnipiac heads to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati. #6 UMass-Lowell heads to the East Regional in Bridgeport. #7 Wisconsin heads to the West Regional in St. Paul. #8 St. Cloud State goes to the Northeast Regional in Worcester.

Next, we send the #3 seeds to their respective regionals. #9 Cornell heads to the Northeast Regional in Worcester. #10 Michigan heads to the West Regional in St. Paul. #11 Providence heads to the East Regional in Bridgeport while finally, #12 Northeastern heads to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

Lastly, we have the #4 seeds. #16 Mercyhurst heads to the Northeast Regional in Worcester. #15 Colgate heads to the West Regional in St. Paul. #14 Minnesota-Duluth heads to the East Regional in Bridgeport while #13 Vermont heads to the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati.

In bracket form, our tournament sets up like this:

Northeast Regional
#1 Boston College vs. #16 Mercyhurst
#8 St. Cloud State vs. #9 Cornell

Midwest Regional
#4 Ferris State vs. #13 Vermont
#5 Quinnipiac vs. #12 Northeastern

West Regional
#2 Minnesota vs. #15 Colgate
#7 Wisconsin vs. #10 Michigan

East Regional
#3 Union vs. #14 Minnesota-Duluth
#6 UMass-Lowell vs. #11 Providence

First, we must rid of two intra-conference matchups from that set up. I see #7-#10 (Wisconsin vs. Michigan) as a no-no and #6-#11 (Providence and UMass-Lowell) is a no as well. So, we move the lower seeded teams (Michigan and Providence). Let’s move #11 Providence into the #9 spot in Worcester while moving #9 Cornell to Bridgeport. Finally, let’s move #10 Michigan from St. Paul to Cincinnati, putting #12 Northeastern in the #10 spot in St. Paul.

Problem solved. Your new bracket:

Northeast Regional
#1 Boston College vs. #16 Mercyhurst
#8 St. Cloud State vs. #9 Providence

Midwest Regional
#4 Ferris State vs. #13 Vermont
#5 Quinnipiac vs. #12 Michigan

West Regional
#2 Minnesota vs. #15 Colgate
#7 Wisconsin vs. #10 Northeastern

East Regional
#3 Union vs. #14 Minnesota-Duluth
#6 UMass-Lowell vs. #11 Cornell

No intra-conference games to worry about. Attendance should also not be a worry. You’ve got my bracket for 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!