The beauty of college hockey is that, unlike college basketball, the suspense of Selection Sunday is non-existent. The field of 16 was set as of last night, and it was a matter of who played who and where they will play. Much of the bracket played out as expected, but there were a few shakeups that are worth mentioning. First, here’s the bracket.
Northeast Region (Worcester, Mass.)
1. Boston College vs. 4. Alaska
2. North Dakota vs. 3. Yale
East Region (Albany, N.Y.)
1. Denver vs. 4. RIT
2. Cornell vs. 3. New Hampshire
Midwest Region (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
1. Miami vs. 4. Alabama-Huntsville
2. Bemidji State vs. 3. Michigan
West Region (St. Paul, Minn.)
1. Wisconsin vs. 4. Vermont
2. St. Cloud State vs. 3. Northern Michigan
So, the number-one seeds landed where expected. Denver had to fly no matter what, so they were placed in the only region left, the East region, after the other top seeds were placed in regions close to home.
The number four seeds were placed in the logical regions according to the final Pairwise rankings. So, for instance, No. 16 Alabama-Huntsville will play No. 1 Miami, No. 2 Denver will play number 15. RIT, etc.
It’s the second and third-seeded teams that make the bracket a little funky. Michigan was the No. 12 team, and therefore should have gone to Worcester to play No. 5 North Dakota. However, they’re in Fort Wayne, swapping with Yale. Then, Northern Michigan swapped with New Hampshire, and there’s the bracket. One has to think the major reason breaking up the bracket integrity is attendance and travel. Yale fits better in Worcester than St. Paul, and New Hampshire has an easier drive and will get more of its fans to Albany than St. Paul. It’s a sensible bracket considering the attendance and travel factors.
Be sure to check back here on Friday as we’ll have predictions on which four teams will make it to the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit.