the road to the NCAA tournament

The playoffs are upon us and with that it comes the hope for all teams of getting a chance to play in the NCAA tournament.  The road to the Frozen Four in Washington, D.C. will begin with selection sunday on March 23.  All the conference tournaments will be done and everyone will be anxiously awaiting the announcement of the field of 16.  The four regional tournaments will take place in Minneapolis (West Regional), Grand Rapids (Mid-West Regional), Bridgeport (Eastern Regional), and Manchester (Northeast Regional).  There are a couple of ways of getting into that 16 team tournament.  The first way to get in is to win your conference’s playoff tournament, ensuring an automatic bid into the NCAA’s.  There are 6 automatic bids handed out leaving 10 spots open.  The remaining 10 spots are filled based on your team’s performance throughout the whole season.  I’m not going to pretend I know how this works, but it is all based on the Pairwise Rankings.  (You can find the rankings here and an explanation of the Pairwise formula here)  Basically it takes into account your record against teams in the top 25 of the Pairwise, record against common opponents, head to head record, among other things.  It’s extremely complicated for someone trying to figure it out but apparently it’s worked into a nice, neat little formula that spits out a number.  So that is how the rankings come about.

Now if you look at those rankings you will find Boston University at #1.  I think it’s safe to say that they will be the number one seed in the NCAA tournament no matter what happens in the conference tournaments.  Right now we are situated in a tie for 5th, which would mean a number 2 seed at one of the regionals.  This is exciting for Husky fans who have not been a part of the NCAA tournament since 1994.  Hockey East at the moment has 4 teams that would qualify for the tournament if it started today, BU, UVM, UNH, and us.  Hockey East has been regarded this year as the toughest division in college hockey and it’s tough to argue with that, when the defending national champion finishes the league in 6th place it has to be a strong conference.  Now the next two weeks will be very interesting as if there are upsets and teams who are not in the top 14 or so in the Pairwise win a conference tournament, that means they are in and someone on that bubble in the 13, 14, 15 spot in the Pairwise is then knocked out.  Should make for an interesting few weeks before selection sunday.

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2 Responses to “the road to the NCAA tournament”

  1. I understand that there is a formula, but I have a hard time understanding how Vermont can be tied with NU in the PWR. There was a good article on uscho.com a couple of weeks ago, I believe it was titiled “Big Wins and Big Losses” or something to that effect. The article talked about how NU would be ranked higher in the PWR if they had beaten top 25 teams, but lose to the Merrimacks and Providence’s of the world. In essence, it rewards teams for beating teams that they shouldn’t necessarily beat, as well as rewarding teams for losing to bad teams (one’s they should beat) by not penalizing them in the PWR. I think they should take this more into consideration. This is probably why Vermont is tied with NU since they may have beaten top 25 teams and sufferred losses to teams that they should have beat.

    What is your feeling about KRACH?

  2. Hey Brad. Im a huge fan of yours.I read your blog all the time. Congrats on the regular season. I have had a this question in my mind for so long. A few of your team mates have been recruited by NHL or AHL teams. And my question to you is have you been scouted or signed to a team. I know its hard for goalies to go to the NHL because of the competition but you have been on fire this season. What are your hopes and plans for after Northeastern. Also if you could play for any NHL team what team would it be. Keep up the good work. Good luck this weekend man!

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