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Schlossman: UND men's hockey likely to get sent to St. Paul, Cincy for regionals

GRAND FORKS -- Two things are guaranteed about the NCAA men's hockey tournament.When the bracket is revealed at 10 a.m. Sunday morning on ESPNU, the University of North Dakota will be in the 16-team field for the 14th consecutive season.The secon...

GRAND FORKS -- Two things are guaranteed about the NCAA men’s hockey tournament.
When the bracket is revealed at 10 a.m. Sunday morning on ESPNU, the University of North Dakota will be in the 16-team field for the 14th consecutive season.
The second guarantee is that UND will be one of four No. 1 seeds.
The rest will be determined this weekend.
Which regional will UND get sent to?
It appears almost certain that UND will be in St. Paul or Cincinnati. It’s hard to envision a scenario where the Fighting Hawks are sent out East.
If the University of Minnesota does not make the NCAA - the Gophers need to win the Big Ten tournament to get in - the odds are that the higher overall seed between UND and St. Cloud State will play at the Xcel Energy Center. The other will probably be on to Cincinnati.
If Minnesota does win the Big Ten, then overall seeding will determine UND’s spot.
The NCAA generally tries to match seeds in the first round: No. 1 vs. No. 16, No. 2 vs. No. 15, No. 3 vs. No. 14 and No. 4 vs. No. 13. Sometimes, it will fudge a seed a spot or two for different reasons.
If the Gophers wind up being seeded No. 13 or 14 and UND remains at the No. 1 spot, the NCAA will send UND to Cincinnati. However, if UND drops to No. 2 and the Gophers are No. 15, the matchup will happen in Xcel Energy Center.
Who is already a lock to be in NCAAs?
Twelve teams are virtual locks.
They are UND, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, Providence, Boston College, Denver, Michigan, Boston University, UMass-Lowell, Yale, Harvard and Notre Dame. The Atlantic Hockey and Western Collegiate Hockey Association champs will take up two, which leaves two at-large spots up for grabs.
Teams that can still make the NCAAs without winning their conference playoff title are Northeastern, Michigan Tech, Minnesota Duluth and Cornell.
Minnesota Duluth likely needs to win one game (or tie the third-place game) to get into the NCAAs. If the Bulldogs lose both, they will likely be out.

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