NCAA Hockey Bracketology: Week 1 (12/10/12)

Elsa

I already know what you're thinking. Why is this guy projecting the NCAA tournament on December 10th? To be honest with you, I don't have a good answer. We're going to run this thing anyway.

As always, here are the rules.

Sixteen teams make the tournament. Each conference must have one representative. Each conference tournament champion receives an automatic bid.

With five auto bids (conference champions) in the tournament, that means that 11 at-large births are handed out. Those 11 bids go to the top 11 teams in the PWR which mimics the NCAA selection criteria. For the purpose of bracketology, we award the conference auto-bid to the team with the top PWR.

Host schools for regionals this season are New Hampshire in Manchester (Northeast), Michigan in Grand Rapids (West), Brown in Providence (East), and Bowling Green in Toldedo (Midwest). Host schools (if they're in the field) must be placed in the regional they host.

In week one, Wisconsin isn't even on the tournament radar. They've shown some upside recently, but they've got a lot of work to do to put themselves in position for an at-large bid.

If the season ended today three WCHA teams would be in the NCAA tournament (North Dakota, Minnesota, & Denver). Additionally, Nebraska-Omaha, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, and Colorado College are on the tournament bubble.

Step 1: Pick the tournament teams

1. Boston College (Hockey East Champ)
2. New Hampshire
3. Dartmouth (ECAC Champ)
4. Notre Dame (CCHA Champ)
5. Boston University
6. Quinnipiac
7. Western Michigan
8. Yale
9. Cornell
10. Miami
11. North Dakota (WCHA Champ)
12. Minnesota
13. Niagara (Atlantic Hockey Champ)
14. Union
15. Denver
16. Colgate

Bubble teams (In order): Nebraska-Omaha, Ohio State, St. Cloud, Minnesota-State, Colorado College

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 Seeds: Boston College, UNH, Dartmouth, Notre Dame
No. 2 Seeds: Boston U, Quinnipiac, Western Mich, Yale
No. 3 Seeds: Cornell, Miami, North Dakota, Minnesota
No. 4 Seeds: Niagara, Union, Denver, Colgate

Step 3: Place host schools in Regionals

At this point we only have one host school in the tournament, New Hampshire. The Wildcats are placed in Northeast Regional in Manchester.

Step 4: Place No. 1 seeds in Regionals, starting with the top seed

No. 1 Boston College is placed in the East Regional in Providence
No. 3 Dartmouth is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo
No. 4 Notre Dame is placed in the West Regional in Grand Rapids

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. 5 Boston U is placed in the West Regional in Grand Rapids
No. 6 Quinnipiac is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo
No. 7 Western Michigan is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester
No. 8 Yale is placed in the East Regional in Providence

Number 3 Seeds:

No. 9 Cornell is placed in the East Regional in Providence
No. 10 Miami is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester
No. 11 North Dakota is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toldeo
No. 12 Minnesota is placed in the West Regional in Grand Rapids

Number 4 Seeds:

No. 13 Niagara is placed in the West Regional in Grand Rapids
No. 14 Union is placed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo
No. 15 Denver is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester
No. 16 Colgate is placed in the East Regional in Providence

Our bracket as we have it set up:

EAST REGIONAL (Providence, RI):
1. Boston College vs 16. Colgate
8. Yale vs 9. Cornell

NORTHEAST REGIONAL (Manchester, NH):
2. New Hampshire vs 16. Denver
7. Western Michigan vs 10. Miami

MIDWEST REGIONAL (Toledo, OH):
3. Dartmouth vs 14. Union
6. Quinnipiac vs 11. North Dakota

WEST REGIONAL (Grand Rapids, MI):
4. Notre Dame vs 13. Niagara
5. Boston University vs 12. Minnesota

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference match ups. Currently we have three. No. 7 Western Michigan vs No. 10 Miami, No. 8 Yale vs No. 9 Cornell, and No. 3 Dartmouth vs No. 14. Union. Remember that teams may only be moved among the band that they are in.

The first switch is an easy one. We'll simply flip Cornell and Miami since they're both No. 2 seeds. The other change we'll make is flipping Niagara and Union.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

EAST REGIONAL (Providence, RI):
1. Boston College vs 16. Colgate
8. Yale vs 10. Miami

NORTHEAST REGIONAL (Manchester, NH):
2. New Hampshire vs 16. Denver
7. Western Michigan vs 9. Cornell

MIDWEST REGIONAL (Toledo, OH):
3. Dartmouth vs 13. Niagara
6. Quinnipiac vs 11. North Dakota

WEST REGIONAL (Grand Rapids, MI):
4. Notre Dame vs 14. Union
5. Boston University vs 12. Minnesota

Now that we've avoided all intra-conference match ups, is there anything that we can change right now to make the tournament better for attendance?

The one move that is really intriguing is moving the Boston University/Minnesota match up to Manchester, and flipping it with the Western Michigan/Cornell match up. Both BU and Western Michigan now have games within an hour of their campus, and it doesn't affect bracket integrity one bit.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

EAST REGIONAL (Providence, RI):
1. Boston College vs 16. Colgate
8. Yale vs 10. Miami

NORTHEAST REGIONAL (Manchester, NH):
2. New Hampshire vs 16. Denver
5. Boston University vs 12. Minnesota

MIDWEST REGIONAL (Toledo, OH):
3. Dartmouth vs 13. Niagara
6. Quinnipiac vs 11. North Dakota

WEST REGIONAL (Grand Rapids, MI):
4. Notre Dame vs 14. Union
7. Western Michigan vs 9. Cornell

Are there any other changes that we'd like to make? Not really, that's about as good as we're going to get in week number one.

Week by week Wisconsin Hockey tournament tracker:

Week 1: Not under tournament consideration

For more Wisconsin hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter (@AndyJohnsonB5Q)

You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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