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Cornell is headed to the Northeast Regional after switching places with Air Force in the only move from complete bracket integrity (photo: John DiGiacomo).

From a bracketologist’s standpoint, this year’s NCAA tournament field was a little more difficult than usual to predict. But that’s only because seeding the tournament bordered on being too simple.

The NCAA tournament field that was announced by the men’s ice hockey committee on Sunday might be the closest to maintaining “bracket integrity” since the tournament field expanded to 16 teams in 2003.

Those two words have become a bit of a catch phrase this time of year as many hope that the 16 teams in the NCAA field align perfectly — with the top seed playing the lowest, No. 2 playing No. 15, and so on.

And on Sunday, that was what the committee sought to do.

There was just one diversion — the 11th seed Cornell and 12th seed Air Force were swapped. The reason, according to committee chair Tom McGinnis, associate athletic director at Minnesota, was to place two eastern teams in both the Providence and Manchester regionals.

“We made the one switch with Cornell and Air Force just to get a second east coast team in the Manchester regional because then we had two [eastern teams] in Manchester and two in Providence,” said McGinnis. “Other than that, we started looking at other options, you began getting into a two- or three-team switch and you’re bumping into two teams from the same conference playing each other.

“There wasn’t any move that felt like it would draw a crowd that would affect the atmosphere in one of the venues.”

The move that threw off bracketologists the most was placing the top overall seed, Denver, in Cincinnati. Most believed that this was done to keep the Pioneers from having to advance to the Frozen Four by playing regional host North Dakota in Fargo. According to McGinnes, that wasn’t the case.

“It worked out that the field was seeded 1 through 16 and then we kind of looked at placing the pods. Obviously, North Dakota had to play in Fargo as the host institution,” McGinnis said. “So I don’t know that it was as much of not placing Denver in Fargo as it was putting the group from a seed perspective that naturally had North Dakota in it, putting all of them [in Fargo].

“The only thing we wanted to do for Denver was making sure they were playing the No. 16 seed, and certainly did that with them lining up against Michigan Tech.”

What the committee did bypass was its own directive that the top seed needs to play at the closest regional to its campus. Cincinnati is approximately 300 miles farther from Denver than Fargo.

But both trips require plane rides, so maintaining the bracket integrity was considered more important than adding a few hundred miles to Denver’s trip.

“This year, in most cases, we kind of kept the seeds where they belonged,” said McGinnis. “They lined up from a bracket integrity standpoint.”

If there was any problems created on Saturday it was the fact that four of the six committee member’s schools were in the field.

McGinnis, Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson, Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin and North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison all had to recuse themselves when the final placements of teams was made. Backups representing each conference were inserted, something that was put in place when a similar situation arose two years ago.

“We’ve gotten to the point now where we have to work on having backups in place,” said McGinnis. “Each league identifies a backup so that if someone can’t participate in the call, someone else steps in each year.”

  • bob

    reading this makes me seriously wonder how moy ever got it right in the past – the article above contradicts what he has been saying all along about attendance – funny thing is attendance always sucks and should be the foremost consideration (in addition to slicing ticket prices in half)- who ever finalizes this should completely removed from the process forevermore

    • William Wallace

      I watch on TV – alot cheaper. I love the fact that the NCAA doesn’t get any of my $$$..|..

      • bob

        better than the cable companies getting my money

  • bob

    reading this makes me seriously wonder how moy ever got it right in the past – the article above contradicts what he has been saying all along about attendance – funny thing is attendance always sucks and should be the foremost consideration (in addition to slicing ticket prices in half)- who ever finalizes this should completely removed from the process forevermore

    • William Wallace

      I watch on TV – alot cheaper. I love the fact that the NCAA doesn’t get any of my $$$..|..

      • bob

        better than the cable companies getting my money

  • Gary Jorgenson

    Michigan Tech is 22-5-7 since putting Angus Redmond in the net October 28th. Nationally Tech has the 5th ranked defense and PK, 2nd best goalie in the nation. Denver can’t afford to look past the Huskies! We just get no respect from the USCHO hockey snobs.

    • gimruis

      Its true. In a one-and-done game scenario, you can’t afford to over look anyone, even as the top seed playing the bottom seed. St Cloud did that last year and their season ended 17 seconds into OT against Ferris State. Best season in school history, over. I wouldn’t call the teams that Tech has been playing most of this season as “quality” either. Certainly not even close to what Denver plays, that’s for sure.

      • JakeB

        Absolutely, there is not one team can be overlooked. Very competitive with potentially great
        matchups across the board.

      • Gary Jorgenson

        While our schedule may not have been as difficult Coach Mel Pearson seeks out interleague play more than another other coach. NCHC, Big Ten, we also played Notre Dame all on their home ice. That makes a team, it builds character a d we got stuck with UAA and Alaska Fairbanks. The NCHC should take them and water down you power ratings. Look at where Air Force is seeded, lesser conference? Maybe but like I said this elitist snob crap has to go. MTU has proven we will play any team any time.

    • Denver_hockey

      Jim Montgomery has a great way of not letting his guys look past any team. They should be ready to play.

      • Husky1992

        I am sure he has watched Tech’s game find and has developed a strategy. The “Beef” Angus Redmobd will have to play the best game of his life.

  • Gary Jorgenson

    Michigan Tech is 22-5-7 since putting Angus Redmond in the net October 28th. Nationally Tech has the 5th ranked defense and PK, 2nd best goalie in the nation. Denver can’t afford to look past the Huskies! We just get no respect from the USCHO hockey snobs.

    • gimruis

      Its true. In a one-and-done game scenario, you can’t afford to over look anyone, even as the top seed playing the bottom seed. St Cloud did that last year and their season ended 17 seconds into OT against Ferris State. Best season in school history, over. I wouldn’t call the teams that Tech has been playing most of this season as “quality” either. Certainly not even close to what Denver plays, that’s for sure.

      • JakeB

        Absolutely, there is not one team can be overlooked. Very competitive with potentially great
        matchups across the board.

      • Gary Jorgenson

        While our schedule may not have been as difficult Coach Mel Pearson seeks out interleague play more than another other coach. NCHC, Big Ten, we also played Notre Dame all on their home ice. That makes a team, it builds character a d we got stuck with UAA and Alaska Fairbanks. The NCHC should take them and water down you power ratings. Look at where Air Force is seeded, lesser conference? Maybe but like I said this elitist snob crap has to go. MTU has proven we will play any team any time.

    • Denver_hockey

      Jim Montgomery has a great way of not letting his guys look past any team. They should be ready to play.

      • Husky1992

        I am sure he has watched Tech’s game find and has developed a strategy. The “Beef” Angus Redmobd will have to play the best game of his life.

  • Sioux4ever

    Tech is 27th in the pairwise rank….without the autobid, they don’t qualify for the tournament. how can you expect more respect when that is your “total season” ranking?. you are where you are. to change the respect factor, beat DU….then maybe things change for ya

    • *fart noizez^

    • Gary Jorgenson

      Tech played and won their way into the tournament. You should be happy your got home ice advantage. Tech is happy to play in any regional. That’s hockey. You will lose to UMD anyway.

  • Sioux4ever

    Tech is 27th in the pairwise rank….without the autobid, they don’t qualify for the tournament. how can you expect more respect when that is your “total season” ranking?. you are where you are. to change the respect factor, beat DU….then maybe things change for ya

    • *fart noizez^

    • Gary Jorgenson

      Tech played and won their way into the tournament. You should be happy your got home ice advantage. Tech is happy to play in any regional. That’s hockey. You will lose to UMD anyway.

  • Snubbed

  • Snubbed

  • UofMGoldenCh0kers

    Uhhhhh……where is Colorado College….2nd strongest SOS….hello tournament committee what the dillio

    • Denver_hockey

      They always have a strong SOS because they don’t get to play against themselves!

      • UofMGoldenCh0kers

        Yes — that should have gotten them into the tournament. They play in the NCHC — no excuses on why weren’t included

        • kathleen.butler.91@mail.ru

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        • higgins-1989@mail.ru

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  • UofMGoldenCh0kers

    Uhhhhh……where is Colorado College….2nd strongest SOS….hello tournament committee what the dillio

    • Denver_hockey

      They always have a strong SOS because they don’t get to play against themselves!

      • UofMGoldenCh0kers

        Yes — that should have gotten them into the tournament. They play in the NCHC — no excuses on why weren’t included

        • kathleen.butler.91@mail.ru

          I was paid 104000 dollars past year by doing a web-based work moreover I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours during the day. I applied work opportunity I found out on the internet and also I am delighted that I was capable to make such good money. It’s genuinely newbie-friendly and therefore I’m so grateful that I discovered out about it. Find out more about exactly what I do… I was without work for half a year when my former Fellow worker finally recommended me to get into freelancing at home… That was really after I received $5000 in my initial 30 days when I seriously believed I really could do this for a living! At the moment I am delightful than ever… I work from home and I am my own boss now like I always wanted… I see so many unsatisfied people around me, working the same old boring job that is sucking the daily life out of them day by day… Each time I see somebody similar to that I say START FREELANCING MAN! This is where I started >>>> www­.­cat­.­org­.­uk/snip/78276

        • higgins-1989@mail.ru

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  • Fred Arbanus

    Moy has egg on his face. Not even close.

  • Fred Arbanus

    Moy has egg on his face. Not even close.

  • WellPorter

    Wow, a lot of angry fans here. I look at the teams and I see some really intriguing match ups. Sure I want my team to do well, but also hoping to watch great hockey. Peace.

  • WellPorter

    Wow, a lot of angry fans here. I look at the teams and I see some really intriguing match ups. Sure I want my team to do well, but also hoping to watch great hockey. Peace.