by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor (@CHN_AdamWodon)
The games are done, and it’s time to project a possible bracket.
There are options for the Committee here. So any reasonable guess you have could be the right one.
Remember, Committee members change, on a rolling four-year basis. So in any given year, you could have a couple new members. That means philosophies can change. There are general sacrosanct things that stay the same — like, teams in the same conference can’t meet in the first round — but others evolve.
Functionally speaking, that usually only has an effect on the margins. But it can be enough to cause controversies.
Colgate wound up taking the final bid away from Alaska, swapping one feel-good story for another.
Minnesota State’s miracle finish against Northern Michigan got it another NCAA bid, and a 3 seed. The Mavericks would’ve been out with a loss.
A couple things create problems in the bracket.
First, with Colgate and Cornell both in as 4 seeds, it means Quinnipiac can only play Merrimack (14), which is not the “natural” 2-15 matchup. Not that big a deal really.
And then Penn State being a 2 seed, and it must be in Allentown because it’s the host there, means you can’t get the natural 1-8 second-round matchup. That means 2 seeds have to shuffle around. It also means Ohio State (9) can’t matchup in an 8-9 game, because OSU and PSU are in the same conference.
So the first decision will be where do you move Ohio State? Maybe that depends first on where you put the 2 seeds.
The Committee is not moving Quinnipiac out of Bridgeport. So that means either the 3 overall or 4 overall need to be in Allentown.
With Denver at 4, it makes most sense to keep 4-13, 5-12 together as one whole Region. It also makes sense because BU at 5 would be relatively close to home in Manchester. That would help attendance. It also keeps things neat.
That would leave Michigan (3) in Allentown, playing Colgate. Basically you’re just swapping Merrimack (14) and Colgate (15).
Note: Michigan came in 3rd overall by .000002 over Denver. Yeah that’s six decimal places of RPI.
So that leaves Harvard/St. Cloud State. And this is where philosophy comes in.
Having 1 (Minnesota) vs. 7 (Harvard) and 2 (Quinnipiac) vs. 6 (St. Cloud) is a more logical second-round pairing than 1-6, 2-7. The 2-7 part is fine, but 6 and 1 in the same Region is tough.
But if you do it as 1-7 and 2-6, then…
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