Sunday, March 18, 2012

Final NCAA Tournament Field of 16 Set

The field is set for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Tournament. The top four seeds for this spring include Boston College, Michigan, Union and North Dakota.

Here's a look at the pairings (numbers refer to overall tournament seeds, not national rankings):

March 23-24

NCAA East Regional (Bridgeport, Conn.)No. 15 Michigan State vs. No. 3 Union
No. 12 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. No. 5 Miami

NCAA Midwest Regional (Green Bay, Wisc.)No. 13 Cornell vs. No. 2 Michigan
No. 11 Denver vs. No. 6 Ferris State

March 24-25

NCAA Northeast Regional (Worcester, Mass.)No. 16 Air Force vs. No. 1 Boston College
No. 10 Maine vs. No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth

NCAA West Regional (St. Paul, Minn.)No. 14 Western Michigan vs. No. 4 North Dakota
No. 9 Boston University vs. No. 8 Minnesota

All told, this year's participants include one team from Atlantic Hockey (Air Force), five teams from the CCHA (Ferris State, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, WMU), two teams from the ECAC (Cornell, Union), four teams from Hockey East (BC, BU, Maine, Mass-Lowell), and four teams from the WCHA (Denver, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota).

The last five national champions, from 2007 to 2011, include Michigan State, BC, BU, BC and Minnesota-Duluth, all of whom are in this year's tournament. The last Division I school to claim back-to-back national championships, Denver, is also in the 2012 field, and won NCAA titles in both 2004 and 2005.

The four regional winners advance to the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. on April 5-7.

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