The NCAA hockey selection committee has one of the easiest jobs in the world.
It gets together, looks at the PairWise Rankings -- which a computer somewhere spits out -- and matched teams up.
No. 1 vs. No. 16
No. 2 vs. No. 15 and so on.
Look at the pairings. Five of the eight are exactly what they should be if the highest seeded team plays the lowest seeded team, the second highest seed plays the second lowest, etc.
Start at the top, the first four matchups go in the expected order:
No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 16 Canisius
No. 2 Gophers vs. No. 15 Yale
No. 3 UMass-Lowell vs. No. 14 Wisconsin
No. 4 Notre Dame vs. No. 13 St. Cloud State
and ascending order, but just a little:
No. 5 Miami vs. No. 11 Minnesota State Mankato (should be No. 12 Union)
No. 6 Boston College vs. No. 12 Union (should be No. 11 Minnesota State)
No. 7 New Hampshire vs. No. 9 Denver (should be No. 10 Niagara)
No. 8 North Dakota vs. No. 10 Niagara (should be No. 9 Denver)
So the only four teams flipped were:
Minnesota State and Union. ... Now the Mavericks are in Toledo, Ohio, instead of Providence, R.I., and vise versa for Union. Makes sense geographically.
And Denver and Niagara. .... That avoids a North Dakota vs. Denver matchup in the first round. The committee tries not to schedule opponents from the same conference in that first round.
* Automatic NCAA bids went to the winners of the postseason tournaments in five Division I conferences:
Atlantic Hockey: Canisius
CCHA: Notre Dame
Hockey East: UMass-Lowell
NCAA TOURNAMENT TIDBITS
* Getting the last of the 11 at-large bids was Yale, after Michigan lost 3-1 to Notre Dame in the CCHA title game on Saturday. ... St. Cloud State was the 10th at-large team to get a bid, so the Huskies were close to the bubble, too. ... The first team left out of the tournament was Western Michigan, No. 16 in the PairWise Rankings.
* The Gophers are one of four No. 1 regional seeds. North Dakota is the No. 2 seed in the same region, the Midwest. ... None of the other four WCHA are seeded that high. ... Wisconsin, the Broadmoor Trophy champion, and St. Cloud State, the WCHA regular-season co-champion, are both No. 4 seeds in their region. ... Minnesota State and Denver are both No. 3 seeds in their region.
* In 2005, four WCHA teams were in the Frozen Four in Columbus, Ohio. ... This year as many as three could be in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 11 and 13.
* Results from 2005: Semifinals, Denver 6, Colorado College 2; North Dakota 4, Gophers 2. ... Championship, Denver 4, North Dakota 1. ... Pioneers freshman goalie Peter Mannino made 44 saves in the title game and was named the Frozen Four MVP.
*.Hmm, I wonder which WCHA team this year has a freshman goalie who is having a sensational season? Adam Wilcox of the Gophers is one, Stephon Williams of Minnesota State Mankato is another.
* Yale coach Keith Allain has coached the U.S. team in three World Junior Championships, in 2001, '02 and '11. Forwards Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau of the Gophers played for him on the 2011-12 team which won four games, one in overtime, and lost one to take third place in Buffalo, N.Y. ... Maybe Gophers coach Don Lucia can get some tips from Allain. Lucia will coach the 2012-13 team. The World Juniors are in Malmo, Sweden next year.
* On the NCAA hockey selection show on ESPNU, analyst Barry Melrose picked a Union defenseman and Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpel as players to watch in the tournament. ... He picked the Badgers to win the Frozen Four, too. ... Dave Starman picked Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox and St. Cloud State forward Drew LeBlanc as his players to watch. ... He picked UMass-Lowell to win the national title.
* While the WCHA has six teams in the NCAA field, the most any other conference has is three. ... Hockey East and the ECAC have three apiece, Atlantic Hockey and the CCHA have two each.
* North Dakota is appearing in its 11th consecutive NCAA tournament, that's the longest current streak. ... This is the first NCAA tournament for Canisius. ... The Golden Griffins, the No. 16 seed, played the Gophers tough in an early season game before losing 1-0.
* Yale has four players on its roster from New Jersey; three from Alberta, Michigan and New York; two from Illinois and one from eight other states or provinces and one from Norway. The lone Minnesotan on the roster is sophomore defenseman Tommy Fallen from Plymouth. He played for Armstrong High School. He leads the Bulldogs' blue-liners in scoring (7-15-22) and is the fourth-leading scorer overall. Of his seven goals, four have come on the power play. ... He was Yale's rookie of the year last season.
* Nicholas Weberg, a sophomore forward from Oslo, Norway, also has Minnesota connections. He played for Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault in high school. In 24 games for Yale, he is 4-7-11.
FROZEN FOUR PAIRINGS
These are the pairings in the national semifinals -- and what WCHA could be playing:
East (No WCHA teams, No. 1 seed Quinnipiac is in this region, so too is defending NCAA champion Boston College) vs. Midwest (St. Cloud State, Minnesota State Mankato)
West (Gophers, North Dakota) vs. Northeast (Wisconsin, Denver)