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NCAA women's hockey bracketology: Are the Bulldogs and Gophers destined for a regional rematch?

The final prediction of the 2023 NCAA tournament bracket prior to the NCAA section show at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Minnesota Duluth plays Minnesota in NCAA Division I Regional Final for a trip to Frozen Four
Minnesota Duluth forward Gabbie Hughes (17) fights for control of the puck against Minnesota forward Audrey Wethington (4) and Minnesota defenseman Emily Brown (2) on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis during the NCAA women’s hockey regional final.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

It’s time for a final bracketology prior to Selection Sunday.

The 2023 11-team NCAA women’s ice hockey tournament field will be announced at 11 a.m. on Sunday, with the first round and quarterfinals taking place at teams’ home rinks March 9-12. The national semifinals and championship are scheduled for March 17-19 in Duluth.

Here is the final prediction by News Tribune college hockey reporter Matt Wellens of what the 2023 tournament bracket will look like it.

This week’s bracket

Ohio State Regional
1. Ohio State
8. Quinnipiac vs. 10. Penn State (CHA)

Yale Regional
4. Yale vs. 5. Northeastern


Minnesota Regional
2. Minnesota (WCHA)
7. Minnesota Duluth vs. 9. Clarkson

Colgate Regional
3. Colgate (ECAC)
6. Wisconsin vs. 11. Long Island (NEWHA)

Last at-large team in: Clarkson
Last at-large team out: Vermont

The process

The NCAA women’s ice hockey tournament features 11 teams. The five conference postseason champions from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, ECAC, Hockey East, College Hockey America and New England Women’s Hockey Alliance receive automatic bids (the postseason champions are noted in the bracket). The selection committee then uses the Pairwise rankings to select the six at-large teams, and seed the 11-team field.

The top four seeds will host the first round and quarterfinal games. The top four seeds will be placed on the bracket so that if they all advance, No. 1 will play No. 4 and No. 2 will play No. 3 in the Frozen Four. The top five seeds get byes into the quarterfinals, with the No. 4 seed “automatically” hosting the No. 5 seed, per the NCAA’s seedings and pairings guidelines .

First-round conference matchups are to be avoided, though if one league has four or more teams seeded between 6-11, then intraconference matchups are permitted to maintain bracket integrity.

Teams are not required to be kept close to home, however, the NCAA lists “competitive equity”, “financial success” and a “playoff-type atmosphere” as keys to a successful tournament.



This should be an easy bracket for the committee to put together. It has one league matchup to break up between the ECAC’s Quinnipiac and Clarkson in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game, and the best way to do that while preserving a fair bracket based on the final Pairwise rankings is to flip No. 9 Clarkson with No. 10 Penn State.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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A 25-year veteran of the NCAA, Mark Bedics has worked over 100 NCAA championship events, including the men's and women's NCAA Frozen Four.
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