March 23, 2008

NCAA Hockey Brackets Revealed: The field of 16 is set for the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, with a field determined by the six conference tournament champions and the PairWise rankings.

posted by TheQatarian to hockey at 07:01 PM - 19 comments

Comments on the bracket: While I understand that the PairWise rankings are supposed to be the final word in the selection process, someone has to explain to me what the hell the sub-.500 Badgers are doing in this tournament. I feel very sorry for Minnesota State-Mankato, who finished fourth in the WCHA (Wisconsin finished sixth), had a better record than Wisconsin, and won the season series with Wisconsin 2-1-1. They really need to put in a rule that says you need to have at least a .500 record to qualify. (As it stands, the criteria is that your RPI has to be higher than .5000.) Aside from that (and the fact that two teams -- Colorado College and Wisconsin -- are hosting as non-top seeds, a rule I've always been a bit bothered by), this is a good bracket. Three WCHA teams in the Midwest is a bit of a curveball, but Denver has always done well in Madison (possibly because Badger fans always chant "Let's Go Red!" when Denver is the team in red, though they won't be this time), and Denver always gives North Dakota fits, too. Colorado College hosts UNH and Michigan St., and I believe the home ice will be enough to get them through. Michigan should slide through their bracket (with Clarkson, St. Cloud and Niagara) with ease, and the Northeast is a's almost the same field as Minnesota's holiday tournament, except with Miami (OH) replacing RIT (who actually beat the Gophers in that tournament). BC won that one, and would be my pick to win this one, but any of the four teams could win it. My official prediction is that Michigan takes home its 10th title.

posted by TheQatarian at 07:18 PM on March 23, 2008

As a Gopher fan, I'm just glad they were able to turn the season around and play some incredible hockey these past few weeks. And I couldn't be happier with the region they got placed in. I think BC is beatable, and I haven't been all that impressed with the 3 games I've seen them play on TV. Here are my picks for the tourney: East Michigan over Niagara, SCSU over Clarkson. Michigan over SCSU West UNH over Notre Dame, CC over Mich. St.. CC over UNH Midwest UND over Princeton, Denver over WI. Denver over UND Northeast Miami over Air Force, MN over BC. MN over Miami DU over MN (again) and Michigan over CC. Michigan is the champion. Go Gophers!

posted by emoeby at 08:22 PM on March 23, 2008

TheQatarian- I live in Mankato and MSU lost to UofM in 1OT and 2OT after beating UM in the first game in 2OT. The year MSU had it in them to beat UofM and it didn't happen. Was a frickin' heartbreaker down here!!

posted by jmd82 at 10:32 PM on March 23, 2008

As an alum of both Minnesota State-Mankato (back when it was Mankato State University) and the U of M, I was pulling for both to make it in. Though they have their work cut out for them....Go Gophers!!!

posted by dviking at 01:11 AM on March 24, 2008

Go Blue! But watch out for North Dakota...

posted by 4ArmShiver at 08:10 AM on March 24, 2008

As a Gopher, I'm quite sad MSU didn't make it either. The UM-MSU series two weekends ago was some of the most fun hockey I had watched in ages. Both goalies simply played well out of their minds, and every shift was marked by intensity. A rematch in the NCAAs would have been phenomenal. Despite the Pairwise, I'd definitely argue MSU deserved the spot more than the Badgers -- and they probably would have had it if it wasn't for a guy named Alex Kangas.

posted by PublicUrinal at 09:24 AM on March 24, 2008

emoeby, I can't disagree violently with your picks, but I think that Hockey East will come out better than you opine. I see BC beating Minnesota, largely due to the "home" factor, and UNH managing to hold on over Colorado College. UNH's home rink is the same (olympic) size as the rink in Colorado Springs, so any advantage Colorado College might have from this is largely negated. Otherwise, I think you're pretty close. I'd love to see a UNH vs BC rematch in the Frozen 4. Their Hockey East semifinal was a thriller, with BC taking a come-from-behind (4 - 1) win by 5 - 4 on a power play in the 3rd overtime. The game set records for shots and saves.

posted by Howard_T at 09:29 AM on March 24, 2008

IMO, the committee should just throw out the PWR when a losing team is being considered. No way a losing team belongs in this field of 16! Mankato got a raw deal. On with the predictions. Remember, BC never loses in the first round and almost always gets to the Frozen Four. They have another goalie who is going to be a horse all 4 seasons. Also remember that Michigan is half-freshmen. I'm biased, BIG TIME, but here it goes: Miami over Air Force - Air Force puts up a fight, but loses in end BC over MN - best first round game of the tourney BC over Miami (for the third year in a row - poor Miami) ND over Princeton - 2 goal win Denver over Wisconsin - blowout ND over Denver in a classic Michigan over Niagara - blowout SCSU over Clarkson - blowout SCSU in a shocker! New Hampshire over ND - OT win CC over MSU - great matchup CC knocks off the post-season Mildcats rather easily FROZEN FOUR: BC over North Dakota in an OT classic CC blows out SCSU BC by 2 goals over CC to win the national title. John Muse is MVP.

posted by BCHockey at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2008

jmd82 -- I'm originally from Mankato myself (though I went to the U), so there is a slight bias in my tirade against Wisconsin being in. I think even most objective Wisconsin fans would agree, though, as the facts seem to agree with us. And yes, that was some awesome hockey a couple weekends ago between the Gophers and Mavericks. The Mavericks definitely deserved a better fate.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2008

I wonder about my alma mater. Miami was ranked #1 for a large part of this year, and for a good reason. They had the best offense in college hockey, and gave up (last I checked) the second fewest goals. Thay've been darn near unbeatable. However, this time of year, they have a rough time. After losing a thriller to Michigan in the CCHA championship, they're 0-2-1 against the Wolverines this year. Kind of a large monkey on the ol' back. But, o.k. East: Michigan over Niagara Clarkson over St. Cloud Michigan over Clarkson West: New Hampshire over Notre Dame CC over Michigan State CC over New Hampshire Midwest: N. Dakota over Princeton DU over Wisconsin N. Dakota over DU Northeast: Miami over Air Force BC over Minnesota Miami over BC Frozen Four: Michigan beats CC Miami over N. Dakota And in the championship, Rico Blasi gets the 800lb. Maize and Blue gorilla off his back and brings home Miami's first ever title, placing the CCHA once again in the position of best college hockey conference! Should I change my member name to MiamiHockey? Go Redhawks.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:37 PM on March 24, 2008

Tahoemoj, one thing we can agree upon is that Miami has been treated very unfairly these past 3 seasons by always being sent east into a lion's den of one of the hockey east power teams. They deserved to be treated better each time (and probably should have had a #1 seed two years ago). It's almost as if the Miami hockey program, being a new kid on the national contender block, is being "hazed" by the tournament committee. To put Miami in BC's bracket for 3 years running is downright cruel, to boot. You know that BC comes strong each and every postseason (led by one of the icons of NCAA coaching in any sport, never loses a first round game, usually gets to Frozen Four, and each time they lose, save for North Dakota in 2005, they are a very tough out). But hey, you get a chance to take some revenge for the last two seasons - I'm pretty sure you won't get it one way or the other, but good luck to you anyway, my friend. One thing I have to say - I was pleasantly surprised by Miami's fan support the past two seasons at the regionals, and I'm sure that this coming weekend will be no different.

posted by BCHockey at 01:47 PM on March 24, 2008

Howard T: emoeby, I can't disagree violently with your picks, but I think that Hockey East will come out better than you opine. This is what is so difficult with college hockey. Since the conferences so rarely play each other, and top to bottom talent is so varied, it's hard to tell which teams are as good as their records. This is what makes the NCAA tourney so darn fun to watch. I won't be surprised if BC beats MN, but I had to vote with my heart. As for UNH (University of No Hardware), they will have to show me they can win before I will predict them to. :) I love this time of year.

posted by emoeby at 01:58 PM on March 24, 2008

Actually, this was probably the best situation Miami could have ended up in. Both the Gophers and BC have been very up-and-down this year, and are very beatable. Michigan had been getting equally hosed in recent years (being in a bracket with North Dakota and Minnesota each of the last two years), and being #1 overall, they deserved the reasonably soft region they got. Miami, on the other hand had three choices: -- the Northeast Region, with beatable BC and Minnesota teams -- the West Region, where they could have to deal with WCHA regular season champion Colorado College on their home rink, or defending champion Michigan St. -- the Midwest Region, where they could have to deal with Wisconsin on their home rink, or WCHA tournament champion Denver Given those options, Miami got the best draw they could have, all things considered. If I were them, though, I'd worry about Air Force...they almost beat the Gophers in the tournament last year, and tied them in the 3rd place game of the Gophers' holiday tournament, at the end of which the Gophers won a rare (for college hockey) shootout.

posted by TheQatarian at 02:12 PM on March 24, 2008

Funny, I keep thinking the same thing, as a Gopher fan. BC is beatable and Miami hasn't proven to me they are a top team. Again, I think this just goes to show it's all about lucky bounces and good goaltending. I don't see one team that is light years ahead of the pack. Almost every team is good and could win, but they are all beatable as well.

posted by emoeby at 02:26 PM on March 24, 2008

Even as a Miami fan, I don't think they've been treated unfairly. A tough draw is what it is, but to say you're the best team in college hockey, you've got to win despite adversity. Yeah, it's tough to go into Boston every year and play BC or BU in what amounts to a home game for them, but those are the kind of things you have to accomplish to be the champs. If Rico has any objections, he can look at his own team's failure to beat Michigan when they had the chance to write their own ticket.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:27 PM on March 24, 2008

BC is never "beatable" in the NCAAs. Look at their record from 1998 on. When they do lose, it's in a very tight game to a great team (with the 2005 loss as the exception). BC has never lost in the first round under Jerry York, and I doubt this is going to be the year that breaks that streak (although I respect the Gopher program tremendously). BC is firing on all cylinders right now, dominating UNH in the second half of the 3OT classic on Friday night, even in spite of heavily slanted officiating, John Muse getting abused, and UNH coming out very tough. BC then cakewalks a decent Vermont team with tired legs. The Gophers are also playing excellent hockey (I've managed to catch most of their recent games), so this one should be a barnburner in Worcester. I think that North Dakota is the real monster in this tourney. They have it all, from top to bottom. If I had to bet money, I'd pick the Sioux to win it all (even though my pick is a homer pro-BC call on this board).

posted by BCHockey at 10:31 PM on March 24, 2008

Nothing wrong with a little homerism. Although I would argue that the fact that BC hasn't won the last twenty championships would indicate that they are always "beatable." Kind of get your point, but every team, even the eventual champ, can be beaten by almost any of the teams in the field (except UW this year!)

posted by tahoemoj at 03:51 AM on March 25, 2008

"Beatable" to me implies "soft" or not that good. I.E., Wisconsin is certainly beatable, even on hime ice.

posted by BCHockey at 11:12 AM on March 26, 2008

Just semantics, I suppose. Enjoy the tourney all!

posted by tahoemoj at 05:22 PM on March 26, 2008

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