2013 Frozen Four: NCAA Hockey Bracketology: March 23, 2013

Justin K. Aller

Updates after Saturday night's action.

The WCHA championship game just went final with Wisconsin coming all the way back from a disastrous early season start to win the conference's auto-bid. There's now just one college hockey game left to be played -- the CCHA title between Notre Dame and Michigan -- before the bracket is revealed tomorrow night.

Let's look at where we stand:

Quinnipiac has earned the tournament's no. 1 overall seed. With Union winning the ECAC title, Brown is eliminated from tournament contention, paving the way for the Bobcats to play in the East Regional in Providence. Had Brown won the ECAC title, the Bears would have been placed in the East Regional as the 4 seed (as regional host), which would have bumped QU out of Providence. The Bobcats will play the Atlantic Hockey champs, Canisius, in the first round.

Minnesota is locked into the #2 overall seed and will be placed in the West Regional. The Gophers first round opponent will be determined after tomorrow afternoon's CCHA title game. If Michigan upsets Notre Dame tomorrow to extend their NCAA Tournament streak to 23 (!) years, the Gophers will be "rewarded" with a first round date with future Big Ten opponent Michigan in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If Notre Dame wins the CCHA, Yale becomes the final at-large team in the field and will be shipped west to face Minnesota.

With the River Hawks first ever Hockey East title, UMass Lowell has earned the tournament's #3 overall seed and will play in the Northeast Regional in Manchester. The National Tournament's fourth 1 seed will come down to either Notre Dame or Miami out of the CCHA. If the Irish win the CCHA title, they'll wind up as the final 1 seed in Toledo. If the Wolverines win the CCHA, Miami will earn the Midwest Regional's 1 seed.

Here are the two scenarios left.

If Notre Dame wins the CCHA ...

East Regional (Providence, Rhode Island)
1 Quinnipiac vs. 16 Canisius
8 North Dakota vs. 10 Niagara

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio)
4 Notre Dame vs. 13 St. Cloud State
5 Miami vs. 12 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 UMass-Lowell vs. 14 Wisconsin
7 New Hampshire vs. 9 Denver

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
2 Minnesota vs. 15 Yale
6 Boston College vs. 11 Minnesota State

If Michigan wins the CCHA ...

East Regional (Providence, Rhode Island)
1 Quinnipiac vs. 16 Canisius
8 Notre Dame vs. 9 Denver

Midwest Regional (Toledo, Ohio)
4 Miami vs. 13 St. Cloud State
5 Boston College vs. 12 Union

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 UMass-Lowell vs. 14 Wisconsin
7 New Hampshire vs. 11 Minnesota State

West Regional (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
2 Minnesota vs. 15 Michigan
6 North Dakota vs. 10 Niagara

It will be interesting to see if the committee sticks with bracket integrity over attendance concerns. In the first bracket, a BC for North Dakota swap would keep the Eagles in the East and North Dakota out "west." In the second, a BC for Notre Dame swap would put the Eagles in Providence and Notre Dame in Toledo. I think the committee will favor bracket integrity over attendance concerns but we'll just have to find out tomorrow night.

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