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The 2010-2011 NCAA Hockey Tournament Bracket

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By now, I'm sure you've all seen the bracket for this year's NCAA tournament. The match-ups look like this:

East Regional

1 Yale

4 Air Force

2 Minnesota-Duluth

3 Union

Northeast Regional

1 Miami

4 New Hampshire

2 Merrimack

3 Notre Dame

Not-Really-The-Midwest Regional

1 North Dakota

4 RPI

2 Denver

3 Western Michigan

West Regional

1 Boston College

4 Colorado College

2 Michigan

3 Nebraska-Omaha

My instant bracket analysis: These are all basically 50/50 toss-ups because one-and-done is a ridiculous method for hockey playoffs. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the NCAA's regular season schedule format is one hundred times than their professional counterparts, and their postseason system is one hundred times worse.

For what it's worth, the NCAA didn't do anything too screwy with their selections. CHN's Mike Machnik was perfect in his prediction the night before it was announced, and probably deserves some kind of medal for saving people the torture of sitting through ESPN's bumbling selection show.

Yale is the top overall seed, but perhaps has a tougher than expected draw. Air Force beat the Bulldogs earlier this season, and Yale split a pair of games with Union. On first glance, I'm sure a lot of UMD fans felt like they got a pretty easy draw because Eastern teams like Yale and Union get vastly underrated by fans out west, but a Yale/UMD game should be a pretty exciting offensive shootout.

One disappointing aspect is that bracket has some potential rematches of games we already saw last weekend between Miami and Notre Dame and between North Dakota and Denver. I doubt anyone will complain if we get another game like the Final Five championship, but I'd rather see this tournament generate match-ups we don't normally get to see, even if it means one conference might get multiple teams into the Frozen Four.

And finally, Nebraska-Omaha's inclusion in the St. Louis bracket will probably keep that regional from being the complete failure and embarrassment that it deserves to be. It's still a 7-hour trek from Omaha to St. Louis, but UNO fans aren't afraid to travel, especially for a tournament game against a former conference foe that they've never been fond of. Michigan fans, for what it's worth, are encouraged not to travel. Michigan and UNO split earlier this season, but this one kind of has a feel similar to the year a hungry UNO team blitzed an apathetic Michigan team at the Joe in the CCHA tourney.

It's hard to see either team, or anyone else for that matter, getting in the way of a pretty dominant Boston College team though. Then again, even great teams have average days, and one average day, or even so much as one bad bounce is all it takes for a team like that to be knocked off when the tournament format relies so much on variance and chance.