Bracket Commentary, 3/4

So the pairings are up:

Harvard at (1) Wisconsin

St. Lawrence at (4) New Hampshire

Boston College at (3) Dartmouth

Minnesota-Duluth at (2) Mercyhurst

As mentioned in previous editions, this was the best bracket in terms of avoiding intraconference matchups, but not the best in terms of bracket integrity.

This is the first time the NCAA had to face such a tradeoff in the eight-team D-I tournament, so it was interesting to see how it turned out. In round one of bracket integrity vs. avoiding intraconference matchups, the winner is avoiding intraconference matchups.

It makes me wonder, in 2006, if there had been no ECACHL tournament upset and BC was the last team in, would BC have been sent to No. 1 UNH as the bracket would suggest, or would the Wildcats have been given then-No. 7 Mercyhurst instead (clearly a much tougher assignment that season)?

The question still remains whether the committee felt justified in swapping BC and Harvard because BC had the head-to-head victory, or if the committee would have done it regardless. Until next year.


    • The thing about the RedHawks is the culture of “meh” that breeds in Oxford.
      The only sport fans care about is hockey, and Miami sucks so badly at practically everything else that Blasi is allowed to skate by (pun totally intended) as a mediocre coach because he got the team to the National Championship game one time more than 5 years ago now.
      If the school put any pressure on them at all to win things could be very different, but the fans just aren’t passionate enough to ever call for Blasi’s job or question what he does in games.

      • Thanks for the insight… it seems a little harsh, but very interesting. I think I understand now why they didn’t opt for Hockey East along with ND.

        • I actually used to cover them for USCHO.
          Blasi is a great recruiter. Miami’s classes are fantastic, but the problem lies in his coaching. It’s been that way since the awful National Championship collapse against BU in 2009.
          The team fell apart in the last minute of regulation and he couldn’t get it together. Then the next year they get spanked by BC in the semifinals and in couldn’t even make it out of the first round in 2011. That screams coaching issues. Problem is there isn’t a booster or fan in Oxford that says anything about it.
          It’s a great program, but because people just aren’t super passionate about HOCKEY in the state in general, but particularly in the Cincinnati area, no one points to it as the issue. Instead they fawn over his ability to get high-caliber guys and turn out an NHLer or two each year (not that that’s a bad thing by any means).
          It sucks because, as a fan of both the team and hockey, it’d be great if they could get it together. They have championship caliber talent, just not a championship caliber coach.

          • I can think of at least two, maybe three other established coaches very similar to him… Great recruiters, but suspect or poor game coaches. He’s had the teams (Riley Smith is having a monster year in Boston) and more opportunities than most. One big problem I’ve noticed from afar… His teams have had trouble with teams with speed (like BU, BC, UNH) when he has gotten to the Regionals and beyond… Maybe Hockey East was a good no-go after all.

  1. “the Bulldogs stayed hot last weekend by sweeping Colorado College at home.”

    A win and a tie against CC doesn’t make a “sweep”


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