So who could see it coming? I bet more than a few Norwich fans went to bed last night with no clue that their Cadets would be lacing up the skates again after bowing out in the ECAC East semifinals. I had them out of the running as well, thinking Neumann and UW-Stout had a better chance. Silly me.
Lessons learned from the NCAA Announcement:
- Trust the NCAA rankings. Norwich was ahead of Neumann in last week’s rankings and that never changed. Many figured Neumann’s ot loss to Manhattanville, a team they tangled with four times last season vs. Norwich’s loss to unranked Babson would boost the Knights. Guess not.
- Record vs. Ranked Opponents means a lot. UW-Stout had a way better winning percentage against a tougher schedule. But Norwich was 8-2 against ranked teams and Stout was 4-4-1. I think this criteria is the weakest of all, put obviously the NCAA doesn’t agree. I think teams should be penalized for losing to weak teams more than rewarded for beating good ones. And since the actual ranked teams is a moving target, it’s much more dependent on what other teams do than any of the other criteria.
- Cost isn’t that much of a factor. This was the year to get four Western teams in. And nobody would have batted an eye if they had taken Stout over Norwich. Heck, I think they should have taken Stout over Norwich. But they didn’t and three teams will fly.
So while I congratulate Norwich, I feel bad for Stout and Neumann, which had great seasons.