March 19, 2006 PRINT Bookmark and Share

2006 NCAA Bracket — One View

by Mike Machnik/CHN Senior Writer

Without looking at other sources, I try to do this once a year to see how close I come to the final bracket.

First, take the 16 teams, break ties and put #1 seeds in closest regionals. Also split by bands of four, within which teams may be moved but not outside their band.

1 Wisconsin (Midwest - Green Bay)
2 Minnesota (West - Grand Forks)
3 Boston University (Northeast - Worcester)
4 Michigan State (East - Albany)

5 Harvard
6 Miami
7 North Dakota
8 Cornell

9 Michigan
10 Colorado College
11 Boston College
12 Nebraska-Omaha

13 Maine
14 New Hampshire
15 Holy Cross
16 Bemidji State

There were only two ties to be broken:

* 6-7-8, Miami-North Dakota-Cornell. The individual comparisons look as follows:
Miami vs North Dakota: Miami wins, 2-1.
Miami vs Cornell: Cornell wins, 2-1.
North Dakota vs Cornell: North Dakota wins, 2-1.

This is a transitive comparison, so the tie is broken with RPI, giving us the order as shown above.

In that tie, all three teams remain No. 2 seeds, but the next tie is more interesting because it crosses bands. One team is going to be made a No. 3 seed, but the other two will become No. 4 seeds.

* 12-13-14 Maine-UNH-UNO. In the individual comparisons, we have:
Maine vs UNH: Tie, 3-3.
Maine vs UNO: UNO wins, 2-1.
UNH vs UNO: Tie, 2-2.

Note that this is NOT a transitive comparison. Give the nod to UNO for 12th. UNO goes 1-0-1, UNH 0-0-2, Maine 0-1-1.

This makes UNO a 3 seed and UNH & Maine 4 seeds.

Now break the 13-14 tie between UNH & Maine. They tied in the comparison, 3-3:

RPI goes to Maine, .5428 to .5405.
TUC goes to UNH, .5682 to .4688.
Common Opp goes to Maine, .7143 to .6296.
H2H goes to UNH, 2-1.

Use RPI to break the tie. Maine is #13, UNH 14. Both are from Hockey East, so in terms of avoiding intraleague matchups in the first round, it doesn't matter which is 13 and which is 14.

Now, try to place teams and preserve bracket integrity, and see what we get. North Dakota has to be placed in the West first, as it is the host, just like BU is the host in the Northeast.

Midwest - Green Bay, Wis.
1 Wisconsin vs 16 Bemidji State
8 Cornell vs 9 Michigan

West - Grand Forks, N.D.
2 Minnesota vs 15 Holy Cross
(*)7 North Dakota vs 10 Colorado College

Northeast - Worcester, Mass.
(*)3 BU vs 14 UNH
6 Miami vs 11 BC

East - Albany, N.Y.
4 Michigan State vs 13 Maine
5 Harvard vs 12 UNO

The stars represent problems, because of intraleague matchups in the first round, so we have to address those.

First, the BU vs UNH issue. We can solve this by flipping #14 UNH and #15 Holy Cross. UNH goes to Grand Forks, while HC "stays" in Worcester. An advantage of this is that travel costs are not affected — one Eastern team is going West either way. A disadvantage is that UNH would help attendance more in Worcester, but the intraleague matchup trumps that.

The other issue is the WCHA matchup between North Dakota and CC. We can solve this by flipping #10 CC with #9 Michigan, or with #11 BC. Here there is an impact on both travel and attendance depending on what we do.

If we flip CC with Michigan, either way, both travel and the attendance effect seems minimal.

But if we flip CC with BC, we send BC West, and affect attendance in Worcester.

So let's flip CC and Michigan, and along with the UNH/HC flip, we wind up with this:

Midwest - Green Bay, Wis.
1 Wisconsin vs 16 Bemidji State
8 Cornell vs 10 Colorado College

West - Grand Forks, N.D.
2 Minnesota vs 14 UNH
(*)7 North Dakota vs 9 Michigan

Northeast - Worcester, Mass.
(*)3 BU vs 15 Holy Cross
6 Miami vs 11 BC

East - Albany, N.Y.
4 Michigan State vs 13 Maine
5 Harvard vs 12 UNO

It's not perfect. Minnesota gets the double whammy of having to face UNH in the first round rather than Holy Cross, and then possibly facing host North Dakota in the regional final.

But it does strike a balance among preserving bracket integrity, helping attendance at all four sites and minimizing travel.

As always, we'll see what the committee actually decides, come 11:00 a.m. Sunday...

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