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NCAA Hockey Bracketology: January 18, 2017

On the outside looking in

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Quinnipiac vs Boston College Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Following this weekend’s sweep at the hands of Boston University, BC has dropped one spot below the current NCAA cut line, sitting at #15 in the Pairwise rankings.

The good news? BC is very much within striking distance of the next 4-5 teams ahead of them in the rankings, and the group of teams that could realistically move up ahead of them is small. With a stretch coming up of UMass, UConn, Notre Dame and UNH prior to the Beanpot, BC can put themselves in a decent position if they go 3-1 during this stretch.

The bad news is that like 2015, BC is going to be vulnerable if there are a whole bunch of conference tournament upsets. But that’s a problem for March: for now, they’re in a position where if they go back to taking care of business against the lower tier teams and sprinkle in a couple of PWR-boosting wins over good teams, they will be OK.

For now, we’re faced with a Bracketology that has BC on the outside looking in, which would be a first in 8 years, since the 2009 season.

Check last week’s post for an explanation on the bracket process.

Here is your current field:

1 - Penn State
2 - Denver
3 - Duluth
4 - BU

5 - Lowell
6 - Union
7 - North Dakota
8 - Minnesota

9 - Western Michigan
10 - Vermont
11 - Cornell
12 - Harvard

13 - Ohio St.
14 - St. Lawrence
Autobid - Robert Morris
Autobid - Bemidji State

Setting the bracket first based on bracket integrity, with the caveat that North Dakota most play in Fargo:

1] Penn State vs. 16] Bemidji
8] Minnesota vs. 9] Western Michigan

2] Denver vs. 15] Robert Morris
7] North Dakota vs. 10] Vermont

3] Duluth vs. 14] St. Lawrence
6] Union vs. 11] Cornell***

4] BU vs. 13] Ohio State
5] Lowell vs. 12] Harvard

We have to fix the in-conference matchup in Cincinnati which we can do by swapping Cornell and Vermont.

Our next step is to address attendance, and we have some work to do. You can’t have that Providence regional as it is right now - that would be a disaster. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good fixes that aren’t crazy radical.

The best bet is to probably take the Union vs. Vermont matchup and swap it to Providence.

Manchester will be fine with BU, Lowell and Harvard there. Fargo is probably already sold out.

Next up is fixing up Cincinnati. You’ve moved Western Michigan there, which helps. You could also put Ohio State there by swapping them with St. Lawrence.

That leaves us with:

1) Penn State vs. 16) Bemidji
6) Union vs. 10) Vermont

4) BU vs. 14) St. Lawrence
5) Lowell vs. 12) Harvard

2) Denver vs. 15) RMU
7) North Dakota vs. 11) Cornell

3) Duluth vs. 13) Ohio State
8) Minnesota vs. 9) Western Michigan

Providence is probably still a little weak here, but there’s not much you can do. This would probably be your bracket if the season ended today - setting up a Group of Death for some good eastern teams in Manchester.