Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hockey Tourney Time

The Princeton men’s hockey team entered Saturday’s ECAC Hockey consolation game against St. Lawrence needing only a tie to solidify its positioning for the NCAA tournament. The Tigers got exactly that and finished the pre-NCAA tournament season ranked 12th in the pairwise rankings, which is the raking system used by the NCAA selection committee in choosing the 16 competitors for the NCAA tournament.

All of the games have been played and we now know the 16 teams that will play in the NCAA tournament and based on a few things we do know, there can be some projections made as to what the brackets will look like when the NCAA selection show airs at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.

We know that if a regional host makes the tournament, that team has to play at its home site. We know that the committee will do all that it can to avoid an intraconference matchup in the first round. And we know that the tournament is seeded in bands. There are four one-seeds, four twos, and so on. The committee will not make a three-seed a four to make the bracket work.

So what does this mean? TigerBlog tried its hand at field hockey bracketology, but here TigerBlog will just report what a few other bracketologists have already come up with.

First, the 16 teams that are in:

1 seeds: Boston University, Notre Dame, Denver, Michigan
2 seeds: Yale, Northeastern, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota
3 seeds: Vermont, New Hampshire, Cornell, Princeton
4 seeds: Miami, Air Force, Ohio State, Bemidji State

We can place Yale in the Bridgeport Regional since the Bulldogs are a host. The same goes for New Hampshire in Manchester. The other two sites are Grand Rapids, Mich., and Minneapolis. Princeton is bound for one of those two sites since it cannot face Yale in the first round, and UNH is already the three seed in Manchester.

Here is’s projection:

Manchester (Saturday-Sunday)
1. Boston University (1) vs. 4. Ohio State (15)
2. North Dakota (8) vs. 3. New Hampshire (10)

Bridgeport (Friday-Saturday)
1. Denver (4) vs. 4. Miami (13)
2. Yale (5) vs. 3. Vermont (9)

Grand Rapids (Saturday-Sunday)
1. Notre Dame (2) vs. 4. Bemidji State (16)
2. Minnesota-Duluth (7) vs. 3. Cornell (11)

Minneapolis (Friday-Saturday)
1. Michigan (3) vs. 4. Air Force (14)
2. Northeastern (6) vs. 3. Princeton (12) also has a bracket projection that is very similar. The exception is that USCHO puts the Princeton-Northeastern game in Grand Rapids and the Cornell-Minnesota-Duluth game in Minneapolis. The match-ups are all the same though.

We will find out for sure tomorrow morning when the field is announced.

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