Hard as it may be to believe, we are just two weeks away from the NCAA hockey tournament. The end is going to come quickly. As conference tournaments heat up in earnest, there are a few things we know with relative certainty.
- BC is definitely clinched in to the tournament and will be, at the bare minimum, a #2 seed (probably #6 overall as the floor). There are theoretically some far-fetched, near-zero-probability scenarios that could see BC fall as far as #9, but those are extremely unlikely.
- Assuming both teams win in the quarterfinals, one of BC or Providence will likely get a 1 seed depending on who advances further in the Hockey East tournament. BC and Providence can't actually meet in the HEA tournament until the final.
- Unless some really bizarre things happen, 5 Hockey East teams are making NCAAs... BC, Providence, BU, Lowell and Notre Dame. Northeastern theoretically could get in as an at large, but it's highly unlikely... they probably need to win the conference tournament. If they go all the way to the final and lose but get lucky with some other things happening, they have an outside shot.
- Barring a major slip up, Quinnipiac, North Dakota and St Cloud will be three of the #1 seeds.
- Whoever wins Atlantic Hockey will be the #16 and final seed.
- The WCHA will probably only put 1 team in the tournament. Michigan Tech is currently on the right side of the Pairwise bubble at #14 but would likely fall out if they don't win the conference title.
- The following 7 non Hockey East teams are basically clinched in as well as those 5 from HEA... Quinnipiac, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Denver, Yale, Michigan, Harvard.
1] North Dakota
3] St. Cloud
5] Boston College
9] Boston University
10] Notre Dame
11] Harvard... 95% chance of making the field according to CHN
12] UMass Lowell
14] Michigan Tech... 57%
15] Nebraska Omaha... 14%
16] Robert Morris [projected AHC champ]... 39%
Penn State... 43%
By rule, the one seeds are assigned geographically in order of ranking. As such...
North Dakota, #1, is assigned to the St. Paul regional.
#2 Quinnipiac is assigned to the Worcester regional.
#3 St. Cloud is assigned to the Cincinnati regional.
#4 Providence is assigned to the Albany regional.
First, we fill out a bracket based on perfect bracket integrity [1 v 16, 2 v 15 etc] without regard to in conference matchups or attendance.
8] Michigan vs. 9] BU
4] Providence vs. 13] Minnesota Duluth
5] BC vs. 12] Lowell
2] Quinnipiac vs. 15] Nebraska Omaha
7] Yale vs. 10] Notre Dame
3] St. Cloud State vs. 14] Michigan Tech
6] Denver vs. 11] Harvard
The first thing we have to do if possible is eliminate any in conference matchups. The only one this bracket presents us with is BC vs. Lowell. Now, there are currently 3 Hockey East teams as 3 seeds, so the ONLY 3 seed BC could match up against is Harvard. So for now we swap Lowell out to Cincinnati and bring Harvard to Albany.
Let's take a stab at it for this week, one regional at a time.
8] Michigan vs 10] Notre Dame
1] North Dakota 4] Robert Morris
2] Denver 3] Lowell
1] Providence 4] Minnesota Duluth
2] BC 3] Harvard
1] Quinnipiac 4] Nebraska Omaha
2] Yale 3] BU
1] St Cloud State 4] Michigan Tech
2] Michigan 3] Notre Dame