NCAA Tournament Projection (1/22)

Michigan is now No. 1 in both the human polls and the PairWise Rankings. How did the most recent weekend that saw the Maize and Blue climb to the tournament's No. 1 seed impact the rest of the field. Where are the Michigan State Spartans this week as the two teams prepare to do battle for the first time of the season.

How did Michigan's decisive sweep of Notre Dame affect the PairWise Rankings? Was it enough to catapult Michigan to the top of the rankings in both the human polls and the current PairWise Rankings? Where are the Wolverines projected in the newest GBW tournament projection?

PairWise Rankings
1. Michigan
2. Miami
3t. Colorado College
3t. Denver
5t. North Dakota
5t. New Hampshire
7. Michigan State
8t. Clarkson
8t. Boston College
10t. Notre Dame
10t. Northeastern
12. Massachusetts-Lowell
13. Quinnipiac
14. Massachusetts
15. St. Cloud State
16t. Wisconsin
16t. Minnesota
16t. Minnesota-Duluth

With the top 16 teams now selected, it's time we trim the field. Only 16 teams are eligible for the NCAA Tournament, and we must include the tournament champions for each of the six conference. For the sake of the projection, we'll give the automatic bid to the team with the highest win percentage in each conference.

Conference AutoBids
Atlantic Hockey: RIT (.555)
CCHA: Michigan (.934)
CHA: Bemidji State (.666)
ECAC: Clarkson (.666)
Hockey East: New Hampshire (.643)
WCHA: Colorado College (.833)

Adding teams who earn an automatic bids, and using the RPI as a tiebreaker among teams who are tied in the PairWise Rankings, we come up with the following field.

Tournament Seeding
1. Michigan **AutoBid**
2. Miami
3. Colorado College **AutoBid**
4. Denver
5. North Dakota
6. New Hampshire **AutoBid**
7. Michigan State
8. Clarkson **AutoBid**
9. Boston College
10. Notre Dame
11. Northeastern
12. Massachusetts-Lowell
13. Quinnipiac
14. Massachusetts
15. RIT **AutoBid**
16. Bemidji State **AutoBid**

Teams By Conference
HE: 5
AH: 1
CHA: 1

Next we place the team into four bands. The NCAA uses these bands to determine seeds and would prefer to swap teams from within the same bands if needed to avoid a rematch of teams from within the same conference in the first round of the tournament.

No. 1 Seeds: Michigan, Miami, Colorado College, Denver
No. 2 Seeds: North Dakota, New Hampshire, Michigan State, Clarkson
No. 3 Seeds: Boston College, Notre Dame, Northeastern, Massachusetts-Lowell
No. 4 Seeds: Quinnipiac, Massachusetts, RIT, Bemidji State

Our next step is placing each of the No. 1 seeds. Even though Michigan is the No. 1 seed, we're going to place Colorado College first because they are a host and must be placed in the West Regional.

We place the rest of the seeds in the order in which they are ranked. Michigan goes to the Midwest Regional. Miami could go to either the East or Northeast. Because Denver is the last No. 4 seed, neither is going to help attendance. Miami is closest to the East Regional, so we'll run with it. Denver goes to the Northeast Regional.

Now we place the remainder of the field. Using the typical tournament model, we come up with the following bracket.

West Regional
#3 Colorado College vs. #14 Massachusetts
#6 New Hampshire vs. #11 Northeastern

Midwest Regional
#1 Michigan vs. #16 Bemidji State
#8 Clarkson vs. #9 Boston College

East Regional
#4 Denver vs. #13 Quinnipiac
#5 North Dakota vs. #12 Massachusetts-Lowell

Northeast Regional
#2 Miami vs. #15 RIT
#7 New Hampshire vs. #10 Notre Dame

We have one problem in the bracket, but since Hockey East has five teams in the bracket, we're going to let the bracket sit. Be sure to check in for next weeks version of the NCAA tournament bracket after Michigan's critical two-game set with Michigan State this weekend.

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