Bracket ABCs: The Final Analysis
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
Saturday night, the field came into shape pretty easily.
In recent years, since the advent of the 16-team field, the committee has gone straight by the Pairwise to select the field, without any consideration for individual comparisons. They just take the list wholesale.
In fact, they do this for seeding, too, in a strict 1-16, 2-15, etc... serpentine order, paying very little attention these days to things like "maximizing revenue."
This makes it all very easy to figure out, and taking credit for correctly predicting who will make the tournament is about as useful as taking credit for correctly predicting who will be in the NHL playoffs based upon the final standings.
It's a foregone conclusion. And that became especially true when St. Cloud State and Bentley lost on Saturday, eliminating potential bracket busters. (You can see what some of the possible problem issues were by seeing our previous articles.)
After using the Pairwise to put the teams in 1-16 order, the only issue for the committee to ultimately decide was how to resolve the resulting 7 vs. 10 intra-conference matchup between North Dakota and Colorado College. The committee had two options: flip teams 9-10, or flip teams 10-11.
We guessed it would flip 10-11, moving CC to Worcester, and putting Boston College in Grand Forks.
But the committee went the other way, keeping BC in Worcester, and moving CC to Green Bay against Cornell, while flipping No. 9 Michigan to face No. 7 North Dakota.
The committee also had an option is resolving the tie at 12-14 between New Hampshire, Maine and Nebraska-Omaha. In the olden days, the committee would've looked at individual comparisons between the three, instead of just order the three by RPI. But the committee doesn't bother to do that anymore. If there is a tie in comparison wins, the committee just goes by the RPI. That's not exactly the way it was originally supposed to work, but the committee has ignored that for years. The difference here would've been switching Maine and New Hampshire.
In the end, with Wisconsin defeating Minnesota for the WCHA consolation, that gave the Badgers the No. 1 overall seed and ended any potential question about what regional they would wind up in. No question it was to be Green Bay at that point, which avoided a potential uproar.
You can see what the seeds were below after factoring in a projected "RPI bonus" for good wins (the "bonus" is secret, but has been estimated within reasons).
3. Boston University
4. Michigan State
7. North Dakota
10. Colorado College
11. Boston College
13. New Hampshire
15. Holy Cross
16. Bemidji State
The last teams out are Dartmouth, Denver and Northern Michigan.
Poor Holy Cross has to go play Minnesota in Grand Forks, N.D., even though the Northeast Regional is in its backyard in Worcester, Mass. That's because BU is the host there, not Holy Cross, something that will not be the case in the future.
Otherwise, this was simple as pie. Everything lined up.