This year’s path to the NCAA Tournament was much quieter than many years—though we narrowly avoided the final tournament spot being decided via lawsuit, had Minnesota State not won Take 2 of the WCHA championship overtime.
But for the most part, there was a very clear line between the good teams and the bad teams this year, and that line seemed to run directly through Akron, Ohio. With so many strong teams in the west and so few in the east, it made it difficult for teams to make late-season runs to get into the postseason picture.
There was of course the usual swings in seeding among the final games. But how much does that really matter? Is a #1 seed any more likely to win anything than a #2 seed? Not if history is any indication. It’s a wide open field, and we’re well past the point of anyone winning being a surprise.
Here’s how the field looks this year. All times listed are EST.
East Regional(Albany, New York, March 24&26)
#1(3rd) Western Michigan vs. #4(14th) Northeastern
#2(6th) Minnesota vs. #3(11th) Massachusetts
West Regional(Loveland, Colorado, March 24&26)
#1(4th) Denver vs. #4(13th) UMass Lowell
#2(5th) Minnesota Duluth vs. #3(12th) Michigan Tech
Midwest Regional(Allentown, PA, March 25&27)
#1(1st) Michigan vs. #4(20th) American International
#2(8th) Quinnipiac vs. #3(10th) St. Cloud State
Northeast Regional(Worcester, MA, March 25&27)
#1(2nd) Minnesota State vs. #4(15th) Harvard
#2(7th) North Dakota vs. #3(9th) Notre Dame