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Bracketology: First look

Time to take a look at the PairWise and see what will be coming our way a week from Sunday.

Welcome to the first edition of The Ice Garden’s Bracketology column!

Here I’ll look at the NCAA bracket based on the PWR rankings, both as they currently stand and how they will likely shape up. You can follow along from home using the PWR Calculator BCI’s Grant Salzano created from scratch. There, you can edit past and future results to see where the rankings would end up.

As a recap, the bracket is made up of eight teams. Four are autobids - the winner of the postseason tournament for the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, and ECAC. The remaining four spots are picked by the Committee. The top four teams are then seeded as one through four according to the PairWise The final four teams are seeded in such a way that limits travel, per the NCAA manual.

The quarterfinals are at the high seed’s home rink on March 13 or 14. The four winners will advance to the Frozen Four which will be in Boston March 20-22.

The bracket selection show will be March 8 at 9 p.m.

Home Ice Locks

Two teams have locked a home game for the NCAA based on the PairWise. They have a big enough lead over 5th that no matter what happens in the conference tournaments they can’t drop out of the top four seeds.

Cornell

The Big Red had to travel last year and got by an injury depleted Northeastern team, this year they will be home and could take the top overall seed with a win in the ECAC tournament

Wisconsin

The current two seed but can get the one seed with a WCHA win and a Cornell loss at any point.

Home Ice Contenders

These teams are currently on the bubble for the last home ice spots. While a few other teams could sneak in these three teams will most likely round out the top four.

Minnesota

The Gophers are in a strange place, in they might have to travel. A loss to Ohio State and a Princeton victory in the ECAC tournament would force Minnesota to go to Madison for the NCAA tournament.

Northeastern

The Huskies don’t have as clean a path to locking up home ice as last year but with the easier slate in Hockey East they should be either the three or four seed.

Princeton

The Tigers are likely on the road but have the cleanest path to stealing a seeded position.

At-Large Contenders

Here are the main teams contending for the last spots. Only two of them will make it if any of them get to keep playing.

Clarkson

Clarkson should be in and with their recent history it would be a shame if they missed out. This year they are leaning heavily on Kaz favorite Elizabeth Giguère leading their injury laden roster.

Ohio State

Ohio State should also be a participant in the tournament but need to not fizzle like they have a little bit at the end of the season.

Boston University

The Terriers are outside hopefuls but will likely need to win Hockey East if they want to go dancing

Minnesota Duluth

The Bulldogs will need a lot of help for an at large bid and as such will almost certainly need to win the WCHA.

Bracket Prediction

Mine

1. Cornell v 7. Clarkson
2. Wisconsin v 8. CHA
3. Northeastern v 5. Princeton
4. Minnesota v 6. Ohio State

If Chalk

1. Cornell v 8. CHA
2. Wisconsin v 7. Clarkson
3. Northeastern v 5. Princeton
4. Minnesota v 6. Ohio State

As Is Current Bracket

1. Cornell v 8. CHA
2. Wisconsin v 7. Clarkson
3. Minnesota v 6. Princeton
4. Northeastern v 5. Ohio State

This bracket has three flights and a possible fourth depending on the CHA champion. There is no way it will stand. The committee will certainly flip Princeton and Ohio State. The question is with how tight Cornell and Wisconsin are will they send the CHA champion to Madison to save a flight if that team isn’t Syracuse? At this point you have to say no but any slip at all by Cornell will change this.

Likely Bracket

1. Cornell v 8 CHA
2. Wisconsin v 7. Clarkson
3. Minnesota v 5. Ohio State
4. Northeastern v 6. Princeton