NCAA Tournament Projection (2/13)

Where is No. 1 Michigan in the PairWise Rankings after sweeping then No. 1 Miami? Are the Wolverines now the top seed in the NCAA Tournament? Where would the Maize and Blue be going to play in the postseason if it were to start today? Who would Michigan draw in the first round? Who else would be in the Wolverines regional?

Michigan's three-point weekend in Oxford, Ohio was sure to cause some sort of shake up in the PairWise Rankings. How did the new PairWise rankings impact the projected NCAA ice hockey tournament field? Did the Wolverines surpass Miami to take hold of the top seed in the NCAA tournament? Where would the Wolverines skate in the NCAA tournament if it started today?

PairWise Rankings
1. Michigan
2. Miami
3. New Hampshire
4. Colorado College
5. Denver
6. North Dakota
7. Michigan State
8t. Boston College
8t. Minnesota State
8t. Minnesota-Duluth
11t. Notre Dame
11t. Wisconsin
11t. Clarkson
14t. Quinnipiac
14t. Providence
16. Princeton

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: Army/Sacred Heart (.545)
CCHA: Michigan (.818)
CHA: Bemidji State (.625)
ECAC: Clarkson (.750)
Hockey East: New Hampshire (.737)
WCHA: Colorado College (.727)

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. New Hampshire **AutoBid**
4. Colorado College **AutoBid**
5. Denver
6. North Dakota
7. Michigan State
8. Boston College
9. Minnesota State
10. Minnesota-Duluth
11. Notre Dame
12. Wisconsin
13. Clarkson **AutoBid**
14. Quinnipiac
15. Bemidji State **AutoBid**
16. Army/Sacred Heart **AutoBid**

Teams By Conference
WCHA: 6
CCHA: 4
HE: 2
ECAC: 2
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, New Hampshire, Colorado College
No. 2 Seeds: Denver, North Dakota, Michigan State, Boston College
No. 3 Seeds: Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth, Notre Dame, Wisconsin
No. 4 Seeds: Clarkson, Quinnipiac, Bemidji State, Army/Sacred Heart

We place the No. 1 seeds first. Colorado College is the host for the West Regional so we'll place them in the West first. Michigan goes to the Midwest, Miami to the East and New Hampshire to the Northeast Regional.

Now we fill in the bracket using the typical bracket formula. Boston College goes to the Midwest as the No. 8 seed. Michigan State goes to the East as the No. 7 seed. North Dakota goes to the Northeast as the No. 6 seed. Denver goes to the West as the No. 5 seed.

Wisconsin is the first team placed in the No. 3 seeds because the Badgers are the host for the Midwest Regional. We'll put them in the Midwest as a result. We'll put Minnesota State in the East Regional to complete that swap. No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth goes to the Northeast. No. 11 Notre Dame goes to the West.

Placing the No. 4's is then easy. Atlantic Hockey's rep will go to the Midwest. Bemidji State goes to the East. Quinnipiac goes to the Northeast. Clarkson goes to the West.

We now have the following bracket…

Midwest Regional
#1 Michigan vs. #16 Army/Sacred Heart
#8 Boston College vs. #12 Wisconsin

East Regional
#2 Miami vs. #15 Bemidji State
#7 Michigan State vs. #9 Minnesota State

Northeast Regional
#3 New Hampshire vs. #14 Quinnipiac
#6 North Dakota vs. #10 Minnesota-Duluth

West Regional
#4 Colorado College vs. #13 Clarkson
#5 Denver vs. #11 Notre Dame

We have one problem with this bracket. If possible, we'd like to avoid the North Dakota vs. Minnesota-Duluth match up in the first round. Unfortunately with five teams in the WCHA in the 2-3 bands, we'll have to go the unorthodox way of fixing this problem. If we swap Wisconsin, the last three seed, to the first four seed we can bring Clarkson into the mix to help avoid the conference match up.

Midwest Regional
#1 Michigan vs. #13 Wisconsin
#8 Boston College vs. #9 Minnesota State

East Regional
#2 Miami vs. #16 Sacred Heart/Army
#7 Michigan State vs. #10 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional
#3 New Hampshire vs. #15 Bemidji State
#6 North Dakota vs. #11 Notre Dame

West Regional
#4 Colorado College vs. #14 Quinnipiac
#5 Denver vs. #12 Clarkson

Our only new concern is whether or not the committee would place the No. 1 overall seed (Michigan) into the Midwest bracket to play Wisconsin in Madison in the first round. I don't think the committee would do that, so we're going to swap the highest and lowest No. 1 seeds.

Solve that problem, and fix a few attendance issues, and this is our final bracket.

Midwest Regional
#3 New Hampshire vs. #13 Wisconsin
#6 North Dakota vs. #11 Notre Dame

East Regional
#2 Miami vs. #16 Sacred Heart/Army
#7 Michigan State vs. #10 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional
#1 Michigan vs. #15 Bemidji State
#8 Boston College vs. #9 Minnesota State

West Regional
#4 Colorado College vs. #14 Quinnipiac
#5 Denver vs. #12 Clarkson


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