Selection, then good placement key for CC

By BRIAN GOMEZ - THE GAZETTE Updated: March 19, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: March 19, 2006
Tom Jacobs, the NCAA director of championships, calls the USCHO.com PairWise rankings a “valuable tool” for determining which 16 college hockey teams make the NCAA Tournament. It’s definitely valuable for Colorado College coach Scott Owens, who anticipates his team will be included in the NCAA Tournament field that’s announced at 9 a.m. today on ESPN2. But it’s not completely accurate. The Tigers (24-15-2) have a national-best four bonus points in the Pair-Wise rankings for a home win over Maine, a road win over Boston University and neutral-site wins against Michigan and Michigan State at the Great Lakes Invitational. Those teams are ranked in the top 15. USCHO.com gave CC credit for neutral-site wins against Michigan and Michigan State because the games were played at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, although the NCAA Tournament selection committee views the games as road wins. Four bonus points from one home win and three road wins carry more weight than four bonus points from one home win, one road win and two neutral-site wins, and that might be enough to lift CC from a No. 3 seed to a No. 2 seed. “I’m not sure that will single-handedly do it,” said Owens, whose players will meet privately to watch the selection show over breakfast. “There’s a small chance we could be the last team in that second band.” The PairWise rankings have CC tied for 12th place. The Tigers are projected to be 10th with bonus points, which are awarded for wins against nonconference teams in the top 15 of the Ratings Percentage Index. Wisconsin and Minnesota are considered locks to be No. 1 seeds. The other two No. 1 seeds probably will be taken by Boston University, and Michigan State. CC would have to pass several teams, possibly Cornell and Michigan, to become a No. 2 seed. Jacobs said the “line of delineation” separating teams often is small. “It’s a very thoughtful (selection) process,” said former CC and current New Hampshire athletic director Marty Scarano, who chairs the sixmember selection committee that includes Air Force coach Frank Serratore. “There’s a lot of give and take in the discussion. We look at all nuances.” Serratore predicts CC will be a No. 3 seed because it lost a best-of-three, first-round Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff series to St. Cloud State. Asked if CC could be a No. 2 seed, Serratore said, “They could, possibly. They would be the beneficiaries of somebody else’s misfortune.” Several bracket projections indicate CC will be sent to the East Regional in Albany, N.Y., or the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass. The West Regional is in Grand Forks, N.D., and the Midwest Regional is in Green Bay, Wis. North Dakota must stay in Grand Forks and Boston University must play in Worcester as the host schools. That makes it less likely that CC, which is 1-6-1 against Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, would go to Grand Forks since the selection committee tries to avoid first-round, intraconference matchups. “I’d like to go east,” Owens said. “I’d like to go somewhere where there are no WCHA teams, just for freshness.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or brian.gomez@gazette.com THE FIELD The 16 teams for this year’s NCAA Hockey Tournament were announced at 9 a.m. today on ESPN2. CC plays Cornell on Saturday.
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