NCAA Hockey Bracketology: Week 3 (12/7/11)

Back again for week three of bracketology and like last week, we've got a bit of a mess due to the CCHA. Last week the CCHA had eight teams in the field which created problems and even though they've only got seven in this week, we've still got issues on avoiding intra-conference match ups.

If the season ended today the WCHA would only have three teams in the field which would be one of the poorest efforts that I can ever remember from this league. Minnesota has worked their way into a #1 seed and Duluth is on the cusp. North Dakota has also worked their way back into the picture and is on the bubble.

Wisconsin still has a lot of work to do to put themselves in the conversation.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Ohio State
2. Boston College
3. Merrimack
4. Minnesota
5. Minnesota-Duluth
6. Notre Dame
7. Michigan State
8. Western Michigan
9. Northern Michigan
10. UMass-Lowell
11. Boston University
12. Lake Superior State
13. Colorado College
14. Ferris State
15. Cornell
16. --Atlantic Hockey Champion (Air Force)

Bubble teams (in order): Colgate, Providence, North Dakota, Miami, Michigan

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Ohio State, Boston College, Merrimack, Minnesota
No. 2 seeds: Minnesota Duluth, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Western Michigan
No. 3 seeds: Northern Michigan, UMass-Lowell, Boston University, Lake State
No. 4 seeds: Colorado College, Ferris State, Cornell, Air Force

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

This week we have only one host school that is currently projected to be in the tournament. Minnesota is hosting the West Regional at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in Regionals

Number 1 seeds are placed based on proximity to regional site.

No. 1 Ohio State is placed in the Midwest Regional in Green Bay.
No. 2 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester.
No. 3 Merrimack is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport.
No. 4 Minnesota (host) is placed In the West Regional in St. Paul.

Step 5: Place the other 12 teams avoiding intra-conference match ups if possible. Begin by filling 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.

If this is the case, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships are played by No. 1 v. No. 8, No. 2 v. No. 7, No. 3 v. No. 6 and No. 4 v. No. 5.

Number 2 seeds:

No. 8 Western Michigan is placed in No. 1 Ohio State's Regional, the Midwest.
No. 7 Michigan State is placed in No. 2 BC's Regional, the Northeast.
No. 6 Notre Dame is placed in No. 3 Merrimack's Regional, the East.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 4 Minnesota's Regional, the West.

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Northern Michigan is placed in No. 8 Western Michigan's Regional, the Midwest.
No. 10 UMass-Lowell is placed in No. 7 Michigan State's Regional, the Northeast.
No. 11 Boston University is placed in No. 6 Notre Dame's Regional, the East.
No. 12 Lake State is placed in No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the West.

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 Colorado College is placed in No. 4 Minnesota's Regional, the West.
No. 14 Ferris State is placed in No. 3 Merrimack's Regional, the East.
No. 15 Cornell is placed in No. 2 Boston College's Regional, the Northeast.
No. 16 Air Force is placed in No. 1 Ohio State's Regional, the Midwest.

Our bracket as we have it set up:

Midwest Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
1 Ohio State vs. 16 Air Force
8 Western Michigan vs. 9 Northern Michigan

Northeast Regional (Worcester, Massachusets)
2 Boston College vs. 15 Cornell
7 Michigan State vs.10 UMass-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
3 Merrimack vs. 14 Ferris State
6 Notre Dame vs. 11 Boston University

West Regional (St. Paul, Minnesota)
4 Minnesota vs. 13 Colorado College
5 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 12 Lake Superior State

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference match ups. Right now we have two,Western Michigan/Northern Michigan in the Midwest Regional, and Minnesota and Colorado College in the West Regional.

Since Minnesota is a host and a #1 seed they won't be moved, so we'll have to take CC out of St. Paul. The easiest switch is to send CC out to Bridgeport and flip them with Ferris State.

The Western Michigan/Northern Michigan situation is a bit more tricky with so many CCHA teams in the field. Remember that you can only change teams within their band. Northern can't be flipped with Lowell because that pits them vs Michigan State. They can't be flipped with Boston University since that pits them with Notre Dame. And flipping them with Lake State brings us back to another CCHA intra-conference match up with Western Michigan and Lake State.

There is a provision that allows intra-conference match ups if there are more than five teams from one conference in the tournament. Since we have that right now with seven from the CCHA, we're going to have to leave the Northern Michigan/Western Michigan match up alone.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

Midwest Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
1 Ohio State vs. 16 Air Force
8 Western Michigan vs. 9 Northern Michigan

Northeast Regional (Worcester, Massachusets)
2 Boston College vs. 15 Cornell
7 Michigan State vs.10 UMass-Lowell

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
3 Merrimack vs. 13 Colorado College
6 Notre Dame vs. 11 Boston University

West Regional (St. Paul, Minnesota)
4 Minnesota vs. 14 Ferris State
5 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 12 Lake Superior State

Is there anything that we can change right now to make the tournament better for attendance? Probably not. St. Paul looks great with two Minnesota schools. Bridgeport is decent with Merrimack and BU. Worcester has Lowell and Boston College. And Green Bay isn't great but it has three schools within driving distance.

That's my bracket for week 2.

Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:

Week 1: Not even in the top 26 of the pairwise.
Week 2: Still not on the pairwise radar.
Week 3: No change after a bye week.

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For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Chuck on Twitter (@UWChuckSchwartz)

Chuck can also be reached via e-mail at chuckschwartz@live.com

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