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NCAA Hockey Bracketology: March 1st

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Matt Dewkett

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

4. Miami

5. Nebraska-Omaha

6. Boston University [Hockey East]

7. Michigan Tech

8. Denver

9. Providence

10. Boston College

11. Minnesota

12. Quinnipiac [ECAC Autobid]

13. Yale

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:

Northeast Regional
Verizon Center
Manchester, NH

1. Miami

2. Boston University

3. Quinnipiac

4. Yale

West Regional
Scheels Arena
Fargo, ND

1. North Dakota

2. Denver

3. Minnesota

4. Robert Morris

Midwest Regional
Compton Arena
South Bend, Ind.

1. Minnesota State

2. Michigan Tech

3. Providence

4. Michigan

East Regional
Dunkin Donuts Center
Providence, RI

1. Minnesota Duluth

2. Omaha

3. Boston College

4. Bowling Green

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.