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DU gets a No. 1 seed but shipped East, while CC just misses NCAA men’s hockey tournament bid

The University of Denver’s path is set for a shot at two NCAA championships in three years. Colorado College will have to wait another year to return to college hockey’s biggest postseason party.

After winning the NCHC tournament Saturday, DU earned the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament when the field of 16 was announced Sunday. The Pioneers (27-9-3) will be the top seed in the Springfield (Mass.) Region and face the University of Massachusetts in the opening round.

This is nothing new for the Pioneers, but the Minutemen are the host team for the Springfield Region, so they get a home game despite being the fourth-best team in that corner of the bracket. There is an obvious flip — keep No. 2 overall seed Boston University home and send DU to Sioux Falls, S.D., but instead two of the top three teams in the tournament end up at a disadvantage.

“There’s several bracketing principles that our committee is working with,” NCAA selection committee chair Jeff Schulman said on ESPNU after the reveal. “One of those is we’re committed to keeping schools that are hosting a regional at their host site. UMass is the is the host of the Springfield region, so we had to keep UMass there. As as a four seed, we’re not able to match them up with BU, because that’s an intra-conference matchup, which is something else that we do our best to avoid.”

The Pioneers will face the winner of Maine and Cornell in the second round if they advance. Cornell knocked DU out of the 2023 tournament with a 2-0 upset in the first round a year ago. The Big Red winning the ECAC tournament this weekend also played a significant role in knocking CC out of this tournament.

Colorado College was the first team left out, despite improving to 21-13-3 in coach Kris Mayotte’s third year and finishing fourth in the NCHC during the regular season. It also won five games this season against two of the best teams in the country — one against DU and a four-game season sweep of North Dakota, which earned a No. 2 seed in the Maryland Heights Region.

Colorado College finished No. 15 in the NCAA Pairwise rankings, but two teams from outside the top 15 (Michigan Tech and RIT) earned automatic bids as conference champions. The Tigers needed Quinnipiac to win the ECAC, but Cornell prevailed and moved up to No. 12 in the rankings.

The last team in, at No. 14, is UMass. Colorado College went 9-9-1 against the other teams in the top-15 of the rankings this season, while UMass went 1-8-2, including an 8-1 loss to No. 1 Boston College this weekend.

The Eagles have been ranked No. 1 for much of the season, are the top overall seed a significant favorite to win its first title since 2012.

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