The calendar officially flipped over to March today, meaning we're into the business end of the season. There's no more dismissing the Pairwise Rankings--if you're not familiar with the Pairwise, read about it here--because it's early. Every game from here on out has critical importance on the final make-up of the field and the seeding of the tournament.
Here's how the field would look as of today, with autobids going to the team currently leading their conference, based on winning percentage.
1. North Dakota [NCHC Autobid]
2. Minnesota State [WCHA Autobid]
3. Minnesota Duluth
6. Boston University [Hockey East]
7. Michigan Tech
10. Boston College
12. Quinnipiac [ECAC Autobid]
14. Bowling Green
15. Michigan[Big Ten Autobid]
16. Robert Morris
Michigan replaces St. Cloud State in the field from last week's Bracketology. The Wolverines are just barely inside the bubble for an at-large, but also took over first place in the Big Ten, making them favorites for the B1G's autobid.
That field gives us brackets that look like this:
North Dakota solved the biggest problem from last week's bracket twice by sweeping St. Cloud State, which both put North Dakota in the first overall spot in the Pairwise Rankings and knocked St. Cloud State outside the tournament bubble.
In this week's bracket, a straight 1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15 works out without any sort of intra-conference conflicts and would make a reasonable amount of sense with the four regional sites. I moved the match-ups around a little bit, switching the 3 seeds around and was able to cut down on some travel by keeping Boston University and Boston College in the east, while keeping Minnesota in the west.