The bracket has been announced for this year’s women’s ice hockey tournament.
Here is how the field looks this year:
1 Northeastern vs. 8 Robert Morris
4 Colgate vs. 5 Minnesota Duluth
3 Ohio State 6 Boston College
2 Wisconsin 7 Providence
This year’s tournament will look a little different with the entire tournament taking place at Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa. from March 15 through March 20. The four quarterfinals will be played March 15 and 16, while the semifinals will be played March 18 and the championship game will be played March 20.
The lead story here is Minnesota’s 13-year tournament streak ending, which is simply stunning. The idea that Boston College or Providence(!) is a better team than Minnesota is laughable, but fine, people are entitled to their opinions.
But there was enough data to at least rank teams within their conference. Whatever ranking you want to use—RPI, Pairwise, KRACH—Minnesota comes out far ahead of Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota also swept Minnesota Duluth, in Duluth, which the committee was supposed to take into account.
It’s truly a baffling decision to see this bracket which seems to heavily favor the east, with the exception of Minnesota Duluth being seemingly heavily over-ranked. Perhaps the only way to make sense of it is to look at it through the lens of who was on the deciding tournament committee: a group of five that heavily favors the east, with the lone exception being a representative from UMD.
We always knew this was a possibility when circumstances forced them to go with a system like this. There’s a reason they went with straight hard numbers rather than this system before, and hopefully they’ll never have to do this again.