Here is the criteria and necessary information to understand how teams are selected and seeded for the NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey tournament:
Here are the facts:
• Sixteen teams are selected to participate in the national tournament.
• There are four regional sites (East – Albany, N.Y., March 28-29); Northeast – Worcester, Mass. (March 27-28); Midwest – Allentown, Pa.(March 28-29); West – Loveland, Colo. (March 27-28).
• A host institution that is invited to the tournament plays in the regional for which it is the host and cannot be moved. The host institutions this year: None in Albany (ECAC Hockey is hosting), Holy Cross in Worcester, Penn State in Allentown and Denver in Loveland.
• Seedings will not be switched. To avoid undesirable first-round matchups, including intra-conference games (see below), teams will be moved among regionals, not reseeded.
Here are the NCAA’s guidelines on the matter, from the 2019 pre-championship manual:
IN SETTING UP THE TOURNAMENT, THE COMMITTEE BEGINS WITH A LIST OF PRIORITIES TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL TOURNAMENT ON ALL FRONTS, INCLUDING COMPETITIVE EQUITY, FINANCIAL SUCCESS AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF A PLAYOFF-TYPE ATMOSPHERE AT EACH REGIONAL SITE. FOR THIS MODEL, THE FOLLOWING IS A BASIC SET OF PRIORITIES:
1. ONCE THE SIX AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS AND 10 AT-LARGE TEAMS ARE SELECTED, THE NEXT STEP IS TO DEVELOP FOUR GROUPS FROM THE COMMITTEE’S RANKINGS OF 1-16. THE TOP FOUR TEAMS ARE NO. 1 SEEDS AND WILL BE PLACED IN THE BRACKET SO THAT IF ALL FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE TO THE MEN’S FROZEN FOUR, THE NO. 1 SEED WILL PLAY THE NO. 4 SEED AND THE NO. 2 SEED WILL PLAY THE NO. 3 SEED IN THE SEMIFINALS. THE NEXT FOUR ARE TARGETED AS NO. 2 SEEDS. THE NEXT FOUR ARE NO. 3 SEEDS AND THE LAST FOUR ARE NO. 4 SEEDS.
2. STEP TWO IS TO PLACE THE HOME TEAMS. HOST INSTITUTIONS THAT QUALIFY WILL BE PLACED AT HOME.
3. STEP THREE IS TO FILL IN THE BRACKET SO THAT FIRST-ROUND CONFERENCE MATCHUPS ARE AVOIDED, UNLESS IT CORRUPTS THE INTEGRITY OF THE BRACKET. IF FIVE OR MORE TEAMS FROM ONE CONFERENCE ARE SELECTED TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP, THEN THE INTEGRITY OF THE BRACKET WILL BE PROTECTED (I.E., MAINTAINING THE PAIRING PROCESS ACCORDING TO SEED WILL TAKE PRIORITY OVER AVOIDANCE OF FIRST-ROUND CONFERENCE MATCHUPS). TO COMPLETE EACH REGIONAL, THE COMMITTEE ASSIGNS ONE TEAM FROM EACH OF THE REMAINING SEEDED GROUPS SO THERE IS A NO. 1, NO. 2, NO. 3 AND NO. 4 SEED AT EACH REGIONAL SITE.