Ice Hockey: Bracketology

With the remaining conference tournaments scheduled to start this weekend, it's almost Selection Sunday time for the NCAA Division 1 Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. Where is Michigan in the latest bracket projection? Will they end up in Grand Rapids? Is Michigan still on the NCAA bubble?

Michigan is scheduled to start tournament play with a best of three series with the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Friday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner, where do the Wolverines sit in the PairWise Rankings heading around the final corner.

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

Next we place teams in the traditional 16-team bracket.

#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Sacred Heart
#8 Boston vs. #9 BC

#4 St. Cloud State vs. #13 St. Lawrence
#5 Clarkson vs. #12 Denver

#3 New Hampshire vs. #14 Michigan State
#6 North Dakota vs. #11 Maine

#2 Notre Dame vs. #15 Niagara
#7 Miami vs. #10 Michigan

Now it's time to adjust the bracket to avoid match ups between conference opponents in the opening round. It's easy to adjust the bracket this week because the only match up problem comes in the 7-8-9-10 seeds. The easy fix is swapping No. 7 Miami and No. 8 Boston.

#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Sacred Heart
#8 Miami vs. #9 BC

#4 St. Cloud State vs. #13 St. Lawrence
#5 Clarkson vs. #12 Denver

#3 New Hampshire vs. #14 Michigan State
#6 North Dakota vs. #11 Maine

#2 Notre Dame vs. #15 Niagara
#7 Boston vs. #10 Michigan

Placing the teams is where it gets tricky. St. Cloud State goes to the West Regional because they are in the same band as Denver, the host for the West Regional. Minnesota should stay as close to home as possible, but it doesn't make sense to put them in Grand Rapids and send Notre Dame to Rochester. Notre Dame is the same bracket band as Michigan and Notre Dame and Michigan would be a good attendance draw in Grand Rapids. As a result, we'll send Minnesota to Rochester. New Hampshire hosts the Northeast Regional. That gives us…

East Regional (Rochester, N.Y.)
#1 Minnesota vs. #16 Sacred Heart
#8 Miami vs. #9 BC

Midwest Regional (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
#2 Notre Dame vs. #15 Niagara
#7 Boston vs. #10 Michigan

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.)
#3 New Hampshire vs. #14 Michigan State
#6 North Dakota vs. #11 Maine

West Regional (Denver, Colo.)
#4 St. Cloud State vs. #13 St. Lawrence
#5 Clarkson vs. #12 Denver

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