The INCH 4×4 represents how we think the NCAA Tournament field will look WHEN THE BRACKET IS ANNOUNCED Sunday, March 24 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
We’ve touted the INCH 4×4 as all of the NCAA Tournament speculation with none of the math. Like we’ve said a million times before, the PairWise rankings are relevant on just one day—the day in March the selection committee sits down and actually plots the field. Focusing on the week-in, week-out fluctuations is an exercise in futility. Besides, in some highly unscientific research Joe Gladziszewski and I did a while back—I think we looked at previous tourney fields one afternoon we were bored—the computer rankings tend to line up with winning percentage the vast majority of the time. In most cases, it doesn’t matter who you beat, just as long as you beat ’em.
One thing that bothers me about this first projection is there’s only two ECAC Hockey representative in the field (Quinnipiac and Yale). Ultimately, I think you’ll see a third team work its way into the mix—one of Colgate, Dartmouth, and Union. Nothing based in hard data, but a hunch.
1. Boston College
2. New Hampshire
Sure, BC has gone into a bit of a spin in the last month, but does anyone really believe the Eagles won’t end up as a No. 1 seed? A first-round match with Jekyll-and-Hyde DU would be intriguing.
2. St. Cloud State
3. UMass Lowell
4. Notre Dame
Quinnipiac as a No. 1 seed either here or in Manchvegas seems like a mortal lock. You gotta think a western team ends up here as a No. 2 seed; we tabbed St. Cloud. State Notre Dame is our last team in.
2. North Dakota
Ah, the allure of a Minnesota-North Dakota rematch. That said, the Gophs are our top overall seed; our hunch is NoDak won’t be the lowest No. 2 seed. Perhaps the Angry Hakstols and Yale flip with the 2-3 seeds in Grand Rapids?
GRAND RAPIDS REGIONAL
1. Western Michigan
3. Minnesota State
4. Boston University
Whenever we do one of these things, it seems there’s always one wide-open regional. If this were, in fact, a regional, would you be surprised if any of the four teams advanced to the Frozen?
Last two in: Boston University, Notre Dame
First two out: Dartmouth, Union
Stock rising: St. Cloud State
Stock falling: Notre Dame
INCHWriters.com projected auto-bids: Atlantic Hockey-Niagara; CCHA-Western Michigan; ECAC Hockey-Yale; Hockey East-Boston College; WCHA-Minnesota