Ice Hockey: Bracketology

With the regular season winding down, a pair of wins over Lake Superior State would have given the No. 10-ranked Michigan ice hockey team a significant bump in the all-important PairWise Rankings. The Wolverines had to settle for a split, and, as a result, are back on the NCAA bubble. Where is Michigan in this weeks Bracketology.

We'll start with the automatic bids. The winner of each conference tournament is locked into the NCAA Tournament, but, for now, we'll use the team with the conference's top win percentage. Notre Dame has already clinched the CCHA Regular season title.

Auto-Bids
Atlantic Hockey: Sacred Heart (.615)
CCHA: Notre Dame
CHA: Niagara (.500)
ECACHL: St. Lawrence (.750)
Hockey East: New Hampshire (.739)
WCHA: Minnesota (.708)

With the automatic bids in place, it's time to rank the teams using the PairWise Rankings and adding in teams who hold automatic bids.

PairWise Rankings
1. Minnesota **Auto-Bid**
2. New Hampshire **Auto-Bid**
3. Notre Dame **Auto-Bid**
4. St. Cloud State
5. Clarkson
6. Boston
7. Maine
8. Miami
9. Boston College
10. MICHIGAN
11. Denver
12. North Dakota
13. Michigan State
14. St. Lawrence **Auto-Bid**
15. Niagara **Auto-Bid**
16. Sacred Heart **Auto-Bid**

Now it's time to place the seeds. Because New Hampshire is a host, they stay in their own regional as the No. 1 seed. Minnesota goes to Grand Rapids as the No. 1 overall seed. Notre Dame goes to Denver and St. Cloud State goes out to New York. Adding the remainder of the teams in the typical 16-team bracket, we get the following regions.

Midwest Regional
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Sacred Heart
#8 Miami vs. #9 Boston College

Northeast Regional
#2 New Hampshire vs. #15 Niagara
#7Maine vs. #10 Michigan

West Regional
#3 Notre Dame vs. #14 St. Lawrence
#6 Boston vs. #11 Denver

East Regional
#4 St. Cloud State vs. #13 Michigan State
#5 Clarkson vs. #12 North Dakota

With no match up problems, these brackets would stick.

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