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NCAA Men's Hockey Bracketology: February 17, 2016

Featuring BC still as a #1 seed!

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

BC had a slightly disappointing slip-up on Saturday night in the form of a 5-5 tie at Merrimack, which bumped the Eagles down to 2nd place in the Hockey East standings. But in the big picture, they're still in great shape, remaining at #4 in the Pairwise - a #1 seed. According to, BC has a 56% chance of landing a #1 seed.

PlayoffStatus can also help us figure out where the bubble fight is. While things can always change, the current 11 & 12th place teams, BU and Harvard, are considered to have an 88% chance of making the tournament. At #13 is UMass Lowell, at a less sure but still solid 71%.

After that is when it becomes anyone's guess. The current last team in on Pairwise, Penn State, has a 21% chance. St. Lawrence, Minnesota, RPI, Michigan Tech and Miami all have comparable chances of making it in depending on how they do down the stretch. Minnesota State and Bowling Green aren't likely to make it in on Pairwise but are right up there battling with Michigan Tech for the WCHA autobid.

Let's take a look at the field as of now and how I think the matchups would look.

First we pick the field.

Six conference champions, based on highest rated team in each conference (in reality, these spots will be awarded to the conference tournament champ, so be on the lookout for upsets):

#1, Quinnipiac, ECAC
#2, St. Cloud State, NCHC
#4, Boston College, Hockey East
#6, Michigan, B1G
#18, Michigan Tech, WCHA
#25, Robert Morris, AHC

And then the next ten highest ranked teams in the PWR at large

#3, North Dakota, NCHC
#5, Providence, Hockey East
#7, Notre Dame, Hockey East
#8, Denver, NCHC
#9, Nebraska Omaha, NCHC
#10, Yale, ECAC
#11, BU, Hockey East
#12, Harvard, ECAC
#13, Lowell, Hockey East
#14, Penn State, B1G

Right now, none of the four regional hosts would be in the field, so we don't need to automatically assign anyone to the host regional.

Assigning #1 seeds on the basis of geography...

#1 Quinnipiac goes to Worcester
#2 St Cloud State goes to St. Paul
#3 North Dakota goes to Cincinnati
#4 BC goes to Albany

Then setting the field based on bracket integrity alone, without regard to in conference matchups or attendance...

#1] Quinnipiac vs. #16] Robert Morris
#8] Denver vs. #9] Omaha

#4] BC vs. #13] Lowell
#5] Providence vs. #12] Harvard

#2] St. Cloud vs. #15] Michigan Tech
#7] Notre Dame vs. #10] Yale

#3] North Dakota vs. #14] Penn State
#6] Michigan vs. #11] BU

We've got two immediate issues with in conference matchups. Denver vs. Omaha in Worcester, and BC vs. Lowell in Albany. We'll swap BU to Worcester and send Omaha out to Cincinnati to fix that, which seems like the most logical move. BU is an attendance draw in Worcester. The other attendance-positive move would be to swap in Providence, but that would be a big leap from #8 to #5 in terms of bracket integrity.

For the BC/Lowell matchup, the only real choice is to swap Lowell and Penn State, since Michigan Tech and Bobby Mo are autobids. And it makes sense, since Penn State's closest regional is Albany, which is just barely closer to campus than Cincinnati. It's also closer to their Northeastern regional alumni base. They'd probably draw pretty well there.

So that would leave us with

#1] Quinnipiac vs. #16] Robert Morris
#8] Denver vs. #11] BU

#4] BC vs. #14] Penn State
#5] Providence vs. #12] Harvard

#2] St. Cloud State vs. #15] Michigan Tech
#7] Notre Dame vs. #10] Yale

#3] North Dakota Fightin' Hawkssss vs. #13] Lowell
#6] Michigan vs. #9] Omaha

These brackets work out quite well. Worcester should be in good shape with BU and Quinnipiac. Albany gets basically a dream bracket - four teams within driving distance, three of them with fan bases. St. Paul gets the one Minnesota team. Cincinnati gets the best case scenario attendance team for them, Michigan, plus the #1 seed with fans that travel anywhere in NoDak.

I see no tweaks that need to be made here.

This would be a really tough bracket for BC. The jury is out on Penn State somewhat but they're having a very impressive season and they will be a fascinating team to keep an eye on down the stretch. Statistically, they're excellent. Then of course we know how good both Providence and Harvard are.

My Frozen Four picks out of this bracket...
Notre Dame

Yup... I went there.