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Minnesota State will be the No. 1 overall seed for the 2015 NCAA tournament (photo: Jim Rosvold).

It’s time for the final Bracketology of the season. Here, I will predict how I think the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Committee will think and what the bracket will look like when it is announced (noon EDT Sunday, ESPN).

First, here is my predicted bracket and then I’ll explain how I got there afterwards:

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 Rochester Institute of Technology vs. 1 Minnesota State
10 Minnesota vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Harvard vs. 5 Denver

Here is the top 16 of the final PairWise Rankings (PWR), and the other autobids that are not in the top 16:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Miami
5 Denver
6 Minnesota-Duluth
7 Michigan Tech
8 Omaha
9 Harvard
10 Minnesota
11 Boston College
12 St. Cloud State
13 Yale
14t Quinnipiac
14t Providence
16 Bowling Green
38 RIT

Autobids:

Atlantic Hockey: RIT
Big Ten: Minnesota
ECAC Hockey: Harvard
Hockey East: Boston University
NCHC: Miami
WCHA: Minnesota State

Step one

From the committee’s report, choose the 16 teams in the tournament.

We break ties in the PWR by looking at the individual comparisons among the tied teams, and add in any highest seeds left that are not currently in the top 16. The only team that is not is RIT.

From there, we can start looking at the ties and bubbles in a more detailed fashion.

The ties and bubbles consist of Quinnipiac and Providence at 14.

We break all of our ties based upon the RPI.

Therefore, the 16 teams in the tournament, in rank order, are:

1 Minnesota State
2 North Dakota
3 Boston University
4 Miami
5 Denver
6 Minnesota-Duluth
7 Michigan Tech
8 Omaha
9 Harvard
10 Minnesota
11 Boston College
12 St. Cloud State
13 Yale
14 Quinnipiac
15 Providence
16 RIT

Step two

Now it’s time to assign the seeds.

No. 1 seeds: Minnesota State, North Dakota, Boston University, Miami

No. 2 seeds: Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech, Omaha

No. 3 seeds: Harvard, Minnesota, Boston College, St. Cloud State

No. 4 seeds: Yale, Quinnipiac, Providence, RIT

Step three

Place the No. 1 seeds in regionals.

North Dakota, as a host institution, is placed first.

No. 2 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in Fargo.
No. 1 Minnesota State is placed in the Midwest Regional in South Bend.
No. 3 Boston University is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester.
No. 4 Miami is placed in the East Regional in Providence.

Step four

Now we place the other 12 teams so as to avoid intra-conference first-round matchups if possible.

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding (unless you are a host school, in which case you must be assigned to your home regional).

If this is the case, as it was last year, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships would be played by No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5.

So therefore:

No. 2 seeds

No. 8 Omaha is placed in No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 7 Michigan Tech is placed in No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 5 Denver is placed in No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 3 seeds

Our bracketing system has one regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9 and 16; another with 2, 7, 10 and 15; another with 3, 6, 11 and 14; and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.

No. 9 Harvard is placed in No. 8 Omaha’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 10 Minnesota is placed in No. 7 Michigan Tech’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 11 Boston College is placed in No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 12 St. Cloud State is placed in No. 5 Denver’s regional, the East Regional.

No. 4 seeds

One more time, taking No. 16 vs. No. 1, No. 15 vs. No. 2, etc.

No. 16 RIT is sent to No. 1 Minnesota State’s regional, the Midwest Regional.
No. 15 Providence is sent to No. 2 North Dakota’s regional, the West Regional.
No. 14 Quinnipiac is sent to No. 3 Boston University’s regional, the Northeast Regional.
No. 13 Yale is sent to No. 4 Miami’s regional, the East Regional.

The brackets as we have set them up:

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
12 St. Cloud State vs. 5 Denver

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Harvard vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
10 Minnesota vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Our first concern is avoiding intraconference matchups. We have one in St. Cloud State vs. Denver.

The NCHC has six teams in the tournament, so by the book, the committee can allow for a first-round matchup between those teams. But we’ve seen in the past that if the committee can avoid that happening, it will.

So we have to swap St. Cloud State. The only matchup that can be done here is for St. Cloud to play Michigan Tech to avoid the NCHC-NCHC matchup.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
10 Minnesota vs. 5 Denver

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
9 Harvard vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Michigan Tech

What work is left to be done? Just moving some things around for travel and attendance.

I will swap Harvard with Minnesota to bring the Eastern team back East.

East Regional (Providence):
13 Yale vs. 4 Miami
9 Harvard vs. 5 Denver

Northeast Regional (Manchester):
14 Quinnipiac vs. 3 Boston University
11 Boston College vs. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

Midwest Regional (South Bend):
16 RIT vs. 1 Minnesota State
10 Minnesota vs. 8 Omaha

West Regional (Fargo):
15 Providence vs. 2 North Dakota
12 St. Cloud State vs. 7 Michigan Tech

Now some big questions arise here.

• Do we move Providence back to Providence? That means switching out Yale. Moving a higher seed away from a closer geography does not seem too fair. I’ve been saying all season long that I can move Providence back East as long as it is a higher seed than another Eastern team. Here, that’s not the case. So I leave Providence in Fargo.

• How about the fact that Boston College and Boston University are in the same regional? I think it’s a non-factor. They didn’t meet in the postseason this year. And it’s bracket integrity. I elect to keep that matchup.

So that’s it, the bracket.

The conference breakdown:

NCHC — 6
ECAC Hockey — 3
Hockey East — 3
WCHA — 2
Big Ten — 1
Atlantic Hockey — 1

We’ll see how the committee does it on Sunday.