As reported by USCHO, “the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee on Wednesday approved expanding the national women’s hockey brackets for the NCAA tournament.” (Thanks to the follower who sent me the link.) The committee doesn’t know whether to implement this in 2022 or 2023 or what the brackets will look like.
The committee could have given the women a nice easy 12 team bracket, but that would give the women a tournament of 29.27% of teams (12/41), a full couple percentage points higher than the men’s 26.66, repeating of course, percent (16/60). Instead we get a bizarro 11 team bracket, which is still 26.83%, a full .17% higher than the men. If you take anything from this, it’s that men’s hockey is terrible and inferior.
So how do you do an 11 team bracket? You give 5 teams byes and have the remaining six face off in a play in round. Three winners then gives you a normal 8 team bracket from then on. This actually kind of makes sense with 5 conferences in women’s hockey. The byes go to the conference champions and the at-large bids have a play-in round. A smart committee might have mentioned that, even though further steps may be necessary since the CHA and NEWHA are so far behind the other three conferences.
What does that look like? Well here it is with the current conference leaders getting byes and the next-best teams via PairWise getting at-large bids.