Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Affiliated Sites | All Access E-Edition | Home RSS
 
 
 

3/18/12 — Final NCAA hockey tournament bracketology

March 18, 2012 - Matt Wellens

The field of 16 appears to be set for the 2012 NCAA Division I hockey tournament, and the Northern Michigan University hockey team is not a part of that field.

Northern needed a number of things to happen specifically on Saturday night, and while it got wins by Western Michigan and Union, losses by Colgate to Cornell and RIT to Air Force kept Michigan State in the field and Northern out.

Let’s be honest here, as big of a bummer as that is for NMU fans, that’s the way it should be.

Michigan State beat NMU during the regular season 2-1-1. The Spartans finished higher in the CCHA standings than NMU playing almost an identical league schedule.

In the end, the system worked with Michigan State being the last team in and Northern Michigan being the last team out.

For a further analysis of how NMU missed the NCAA tournament, check out my column Monday on MiningJournal.net

Now, here is my final bracketology for 2012 with the official announcement coming at noon on Sunday on ESPNU.

I’ll start with the USCHO.com PairWise top 15, plus the lone automatic qualifier not in the top 15 — Atlantic Hockey champion Air Force.

I’ve broken all ties in the PairWise via the RPI, but know that the committee could break a tie via comparisons, or maybe head-to-head. This part of the process is not specified, however, the general understanding is that the committee uses RPI.

For instance, Michigan State (.5354), Merrimack (.5300) and Northern Michigan (.5307) are all actually tied for 15th in the PairWise, but the Spartans hold the superior RPI, so they get the last spot.

So here are the 16 teams in the field this year:

1. Boston College

2. Michigan

3. Union

4. North Dakota

5. Miami

6. Ferris State

7. Minnesota-Duluth

8. Minnesota

9. Boston University

10. Maine

11. Denver

12. UMass-Lowell

13. Cornell

14. Western Michigan

15. Michigan State

16. Air Force

I’ll start now by placing the No. 1 seeds as close to home as possible, if it’s possible. The higher overall seeds get priority.

So Boston College will be in the Northeast in Worcester, Michigan is in the Midwest in Green Bay, Union gets Bridgeport in the East and North Dakota returns to St. Paul for the West Regional.

Now I will place teams based on bracket integrity, so 1v16, 8v9, etc.

The one exception is with the 8v9 matchup this year. Because Minnesota is the host of the West Regional, it gets to play in St. Paul.

So with that in mind, here’s my initial bracket.

Northeast Regional (Worcester, Mass.) — 1. Boston College vs. 16 Air Force; 7. Minnesota-Duluth vs. 10. Maine.

West Regional (St. Paul, Minn.) — 4. North Dakota vs. 13. Cornell; 8. Minnesota vs. 9 Boston University

Midwest Regional (Green Bay, Wis.) — 2. Michigan vs. 15. Michigan State; 6. Ferris State vs. 11. Denver.

East Regional (Bridgeport, Conn.) — 3. Union vs. 14. Western Michigan; 5. Miami vs. 12. UMass-Lowell.

There’s one glaring error with this bracket and that is the intraconference CCHA matchup between Michigan and Michigan State in Green Bay. I’m going to do a simple flip of Air Force and Michigan State to remedy that, and while it may not “protect” the No. 1 overall seed, I don’t see a ton of difference between BC having to play No. 15 or No. 16.

I’ve valued bracket integrity the most since I started doing this weekly in January, and I’m going to stick to bracket integrity on the final day.

I do have some attendance concerns in Bridgeport, but the only way to fix that is to blow up bracket integrity. The NCAA might do it, but I won’t.

There will also be attendance issues in Green Bay, but the only way to fix that will be to allow the No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers into the field, and I know the NCAA won’t do that.

Matt’s final bracket:

Northeast Regional (Worcester, Mass.) — 1. Boston College vs. 15. Michigan State; 7. Minnesota-Duluth vs. 10. Maine.

West Regional (St. Paul, Minn.) — 4. North Dakota vs. 13. Cornell; 8. Minnesota vs. 9. Boston University

Midwest Regional (Green Bay, Wis.) — 2. Michigan vs. 16. Air Force; 6. Ferris State vs. 11. Denver.

East Regional (Bridgeport, Conn.) — 3. Union vs. 14. Western Michigan; 5. Miami vs. 12. UMass-Lowell.

Below are some other brackets that have been posted by media. They all differ from mine, especially the one put together by College Hockey News’ Adam Wodon.

He’s probably right. I’m probably wrong.

Adam Wodon, College Hockey News

Jayson Moy, USCHO

Scott McLaughlin, College Hockey News

 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web