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NCAA Bracketology: Quarterfinal Quell

We have less and less possibilities. By this time in two weeks we will know our tournament field.

Kirk Irwin Photography/OSU Athletics

Welcome to the first playoff edition of The Ice Garden’s Bracketology column this year. In this column I will be discussing 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 - on the site you can edit past and future results to see where the rankings would end up.

Home Ice Favorites

These three teams can host even with a loss in the ir conference tournaments. Obviously all of them wan to win but they are in the best spots for themselves.

Minnesota

The Gophers are going to host games in Minneapolis. Unless things blow up completely they will host a Quarterfinal game against a team that has played in a first round game.

Ohio State

How a weekend changes things. Last week the Buckeyes were in serious trouble due to the blunder against Bemidji. Life in the WCHA gives you opportunities to make up for these blunders as Wisconsin came to town and Ohio State took them to the woodshed. Now they could host with a loss to Minnesota in the title game or even a loss to Wisconsin in the semifinal.

Northeastern

The Huskies will likely be home as well. A win over Merrimack will all but guarantee at least the 4th seed. A loss leaves some plausible scenarios of chaos in the ever chaotic ECAC. If NU wins HEA as they are favored to do so then they are pretty safe as a 2nd or 3rd seed.

Home Ice Contenders

These four teams win their tournaments and they can host, but it wouldn’t be guaranteed.

Wisconsin

On the flip side of Ohio State Wisconsin is in major trouble. There are now real paths that have the Badgers on the road even if they were to win the WCHA tournament. Whats worse is if the ECAC and HEA get upset winners they could be out of the tournament even with a Quarterfinal sweep. Assuming a little less chaos they will still need to win the WCHA to have any chance of hosting.

Harvard

Pretty simple path for the Crimson win the ECAC host in the NCAA tournament. They have some paths that don’t involve winning but they would need help from their ECAC foes.

Yale

Yale is in the same boat as Harvard. They are co-favorites with the Crimson but are well positioned for a tournament run without an ECAC win.

Colgate

Colgate can win the ECAC and host but they have a tough path that will take them through three teams that have made waves at different times this season.

At-Large Contenders

Here we will talk about the schools that pose a credible threat to dance even without winning their conference tournaments.

Clarkson

Clarkson did not have a good weekend as they dropped both their games. They will still be a tournament team if there are no upsets. They will need to sweep Quinnipiac and then reaching the title game if there are any upsets.

Quinnipiac

Beating Yale was huge, losing to Brown the next day was catastrophic. They are pretty safely in the tournament even with an upset champion unless they get swept by Clarkson and the Golden Knights reach the title game or win it.

Minnesota Duluth

Duluth need to win the WCHA and hope Harvard wins the ECAC if they want to host but they will be playing in the tournament unless all the conferences get messy.

Auto Bid Hopefuls

While everyone that makes a conference tournament can win it these our our most likely bid thieves out there.

Connecticut

After multiple comebacks on their senior night to hold onto a tie, UConn got blown out at Northeastern on their Senior Day. They will be just on the outside looking into the tournament if they can’t find a way to win the HEA tournament.

Vermont

Their tie against Boston College didn’t help their case any but they haven’t been in at large territory for awhile. Like UConn they will be just on the outside looking win unless they take a trophy next weekend

Boston College

While the Eagles fell short of a top two seed in HEA they did secure home ice and a visit from Maine, these may not be Brittany Ott’s Black Bears but BC is right to be wary as they are a loss away from elimination for the season.

St. Lawrence

Not exactly a ringing endorsement against Colgate but we will leave the Saints here pending their matchup this weekend.

My Bracket Prediction

1 Ohio State hosting 8. Minnesota-Duluth v 9. Quinnipiac

2 Minnesota hosting 7. Wisconsin v. 10. Clarkson

3 Northeastern hosting 6. Yale v. 11. CHA

4 Colgate v 5. Harvard

This bracket sees Northeastern, Ohio State and Colgate win their conferences. In Hockey East NU is the best team if they are playing on all cylinders. Ohio State just handled Wisconsin and won their season series over Minnesota 3-1 which is why I am giving them an edge to win the WCHA, unless they pull their goalie randomly. Colgate has their offense firing right now, if they play like they did last weekend they should win the tournament but they are prone to a dud performance.

Chalk Bracket

This bracket is if all higher seeds win in each conference tournament game. It never fully goes this way but often can be pretty close.

1 Minnesota hosting 8. Minnesota-Duluth v 9. Quinnipiac

2 Ohio State hosting 7. Wisconsin v. 10. Clarkson

3 Northeastern hosting 6. Colgate v. 11. CHA

4 Harvard v 5. Yale

This bracket gives us no first round matchups between conference foes. The committee has specifically said they would not switch out the 4 and 5 seeds to avoid a matchup like that. The second round would be a very WCHA heavy affair it seems.

As Is Current Bracket

1 Minnesota hosting 8. Minnesota-Duluth v 9. Quinnipiac

2 Ohio State hosting 7. Colgate v. 10. Clarkson

3 Northeastern hosting 6. Harvard v. 11. CHA

4 Yale v 5. Wisconsin

The number of ECAC teams in the 6-11 ring makes it impossible to avoid at least one matchup between conference foes. This bracket would give us some fun matchups and give us pure bracket integrity.