Pickin’ the Big Ten: Jan. 26-27

It’s a rare weekend of all-conference, Friday-Saturday, single-site play — and four of the six games are televised! As we approach the end of January, let’s see how Drew Claussen and I have been picking things.

Last week

Drew: 5-1-0 (.833)
Paula: 5-1-0 (.833)

This season

Drew: 73-41-10 (.629)
Paula: 79-35-10 (.677)

Doesn’t Drew look like a genius after predicting Wisconsin to end Notre Dame’s streak last Sunday?

This week

There’s some really exciting conference play this weekend, especially that series between second-place Ohio State and third-place Michigan … which is the only series that’s not televised. Is it just me, or is the Big Ten Network showing fewer games this season? Anyway, only a point separates the Buckeyes and Wolverines and three points separate Wisconsin from Penn State as the Badgers and Nittany Lions square off. Minnesota hosts Notre Dame and Michigan State has a bye week. All times are local.

No. 17 Michigan at No. 6 Ohio State

FEB 25, 2017: Dakota Joshua (OSU - 8).  The #12 Ohio State Buckeyes get shut out 1-0 by the University of Michigan Wolverines at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, OH. (Rachel Lewis)

Drew: I like the way both of these teams are playing right now. Michigan is certainly playing with more confidence than when these two teams met in November. I could see the Buckeyes pulling off a season sweep on home ice, but I’ll pick a split.

Paula: Both teams are confident, and I’m pretty confident this will be a good series that likely will result in a split, but I’m not calling it that way. Michigan is riding a four-game win streak into Columbus and the Buckeyes are 7-1-0 in their last eight games. Ohio State swept Michigan in Ann Arbor earlier this season. Friday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday’s at 8:05 p.m. Neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-3, Michigan 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, 3-2.

No. 1 Notre Dame at No. 13 Minnesota

Drew: I’m going to make a bold call and say Notre Dame goes on a losing streak, but it’ll just be a two-game losing streak. I’ll take the Gophers in a close game on Friday and Notre Dame with a strong rebound performance on Saturday.

Paula: Drew’s pick is bold in more ways than one, as the Fighting Irish have yet to lose a road game this season. When the Irish swept the Gophers in Minnesota Thanksgiving weekend, the first night was a 1-0 shutout but the second a 5-2 win in which Notre Dame turned up the heat late, outscoring Minnesota 2-0 in the third period after putting 19 shots on net while limiting the Gophers to five in the final 20 minutes of play. I think a lot depends on how well Cale Morris bounces back from giving up five goals to Wisconsin last Sunday and how much the bigger ice affects the smothering Irish defense. Games are Friday and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. Friday’s game is carried by ESPN2, while Saturday’s is televised by Fox Sports North Plus.

Drew’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, Notre Dame 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Notre Dame 3-2, 3-2.

No. 14 Penn State at No. 18 Wisconsin

Drew: Both of these teams would love to pick up a sweep this weekend, but I don’t think that either has the consistency to shut down the other for two nights in a row. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got an overtime game, like there was when these two met earlier this month. I see the Badgers keeping their momentum from beating Notre Dame going on Friday and Penn State unleashing the offense on Saturday to get the split.

Paula: Wisconsin is 6-7-2 at home and Penn State is 6-6-1 on the road. The Nittany Lions head to Madison with a three-game losing streak that follows an 11-game unbeaten streak. The Badgers may have beaten Notre Dame last Sunday, but Wisconsin is 2-3-1 in January, including that loss to and tie against Penn State to start the new year. I’m thinking a split as well, but who knows in this season of utter inconsistency? Friday’s game begins at 8:07 p.m. and is televised by the Big Ten Network. Saturday’s starts at 7:07 p.m. and is carried by Fox Sports West.

Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 4-2, Penn State 5-1.
Paula’s picks: Penn State 3-2, Wisconsin 3-2.

Hello Twitter? It’s me, Paula. And Drew’s here, too.

Neither Drew (@drewclaussen) nor I (@paulacweston) are sitting in hockey rinks this weekend — sadly — but you should follow us on Twitter all the same.

295 COMMENTS

  1. Jayson: Scenario one cannot be right. You are putting the only two ECAC teams in the same region and makes it impossible for both of these two teams to try and advance to the Frozen Four which they are both capable of doing. This is the strongest ECAC field in many years and unfortunately they keep knocking each other off this year. You are doing the same disservice (mild term for what I was going to write) that the NCAA did two years ago when UNION and YALE where put in the same region with Duluth and both lost to Duluth, the eventual NCAA champ. The ECAC is being treated like a piece of poop. Money cannot be the driving force here. How about putting the players interest first for once. I hope that someone in the ECAC can stop this sort of disservice from happening again. Send Union to Manchester or out west. Put them and BC back in Toledo as you originally had it. Money motivation has ruined college sports.

    • In scenario 2 How about swapping Union and Yale? Yale tied BC this year and is right next door to Providence. Union would get a crack at Minnesota.

    • So we should make sure the ECAC gets split up but we should make sure the WCHA gets grouped together so we can knock off as many of them as we can?

      • There might only be two this year and unless the thinking around regions change, they may be knocking each other off before you get a change to.

    • You really think that it will matter? No team from ECAC is going to make the FF. The history of the last few years tells us that the ECAC gets some high seeds and flame out of the tourney early. To say that they are both capable of making the FF is just an opinion, neither of them have proven they are capable of anything close to that. Seems to me that the wcha fans have more to complain about. 6 teams in and they are in only 3 brackets. Would make more sense to split that up a bit as well I would think.

        • The committee has a problem with it (as illustrated by all the rules they can use for regional assignments to cover their asses). So do most of the fans from other conferences – which is why it will never happen again (and with realignment, it certainly won’t). My guess is the National will get clustered in much the same way the WCHA has since 2005’s unmitigated disaster in Columbus.

          • Why was 2005 an unmitigated disaster? If they are the best 4 teams at the end of the tourney why would it matter? I am a fan of a wcha team but I would still watch the FF if he or ccha were to get 4 teams to the FF.

      • Yes, the ECAC has been week but last year they almost got 2 into the frozen four and this year (my opinion) they are much better. I just want to see the few teams that do make it (possibly just two) get a chance to go as far as possible without having to knock each other off. The teams have been doing that all year.

        • I don’t think that the wcha has the talent to get 4 to the FF but it sure would be more fun to watch them play teams they haven’t played multiple times this year already.

          And the committee will always do whatever they can to help attendance and make money, just the way it is.

        • No I didn’t but one team in how many years that made the FF? Again historically they just don’t get there very often I guess was my point.

          • I get it. You’re original comment that “neither of them have proven they are capable of anything close to that” threw me. And the fact that everyone is killing the ECAC, making me a little uncomfortable as a BC fan…….

        • Yeah they made it and got bounced. I guess my point was that the conference doesn’t have a very good track record if you go past last year. I understand fans of the ECAC and their teams being tired of being told the conference is no good. I believe that they have some good teams but I also believe that there is very little chance that any team from the ECAC makes the FF this year. I have seen them play and they are good but they just are not at the same level as the BC’s, MN’s, etc.

    • The ECAC is actually better off with two teams in the same regional. There is absolutely NO WAY they’d send 2 teams to the FF, so 2 teams in the same regional gives it a 50/50 chance of a Frozen Four appearance.

  2. Wow. Pleasantly shocked you have BC in Providence no matter what happens today. I know you have all the teams right, hope you have the matchups right. That being said, still doesn’t change my opinion bracket integrity should be ONLY consideration: 1-16, 2-15, etc……

      • Jayson taking the attendance angle and he may be right, but I don’t agree with it even though it benefits BC (and my travel). Still not sold this is how it will shake out, but will be watching the selection show. Anyone know what time/channel?

      • Its not an easy bracket for BC. Union and Canisius are very hot teams right now and Qpac is #1 even though they’ve been off they’re game recently.

        • please. Union and Canisius are the equivilent of D-II talent. the ECAC doesnt belong in D-1 and Quinnipiac is the weakest number 1 seed since yale two years ago.

        • Most people reading this would not agree. That is a very easy draw for BC. Any WCHA team would love to be there. I am a Hockey East fan so I was hoping for Lowell here. Now Lowell will be in one of the 2 toughest regions.

      • BC stays in Providence because BU did not beat Lowell. That is why BC needed to beat BU, to eliminate the chance of being sent west.

        If the committee can put BC in the Dunk, it is a slam dunk.

  3. By all means possible, you must avoid the chance that there could be a all WCHA Final 4. What would be wrong with that? NOTHING!!

    • My God, already? “why can’t we have an all WCHA Final 4” (by the way, it’s FROZEN FOUR!) … stop thinking about yourselves, and start thinking about the rest of college hockey.

      WCHA put 4 teams in last year, how many made the Frozen Four? 1 … and I believe BC steamrolled through Minnesota and Minn-Duluth on their way to a Championship last year. Let the young men play hockey!

      Are you even going to go to any site? I plan to follow BC whether they’re in NH or Providence; just can’t afford the time/money to travel to Grand Rapids or Toledo next weekend!

      And I was at “the Ralph” when BC went out there and beat the pants off UND … very nice rink though; very impressive!

      • That is playing hockey, Let the rankings fall and the teams play. Last year the WCHA had 1 in the final 4. How many did HE have?

          • MN 8 – BC 1, sound right? Funny how some people just have a selective memory. Never said anything about who won, the post I responded to tried to make a point that wcha teams don’t make the Frozen four, which is totally incorrect.

    • Come on and smell the coffee. The WCHA is probably the best conference, BUT the last time you had 6 teams NONE of them made the Frozen Four. Yes look it up. The year was 2008 and the NCAA record for the WCHA was 3-6. The NCAA looks for attendance first as we will see that none of the 4 sites will sell out, not even close. Manchester may come close because of UNH, but the other 3 will not. If Michigan gets in and goes to Grand Rapids that site will probably fill up. There really should be one in Wisconsin, Minesota or Denver. I dont believe that Green Bay did that well with attendance either.

      • Honestly, how stupid are you? Do you not think people reading this attend frozen fours? I was at the 2008 frozen four in Denver, Colorado. The four teams that made it were Michigan, Notre Dame, Boston College, and North Dakota. Now please shut up with your incessant BS about no WCHA team advancing.

        I should also point out that three of the WCHA teams that made the field that season were placed in the same effing regional.

      • Yeah man I live in Denver and was at the games. And I am certain tht bc beat und in the semi. You missed on that one. So not sure what you are talking about cause you are just wrong on that one.

        • You’re right, I’m so confused. With six teams there’s bound to be some overlap in the regionals. WCHA fans can’t have both… close to home or even distribution of teams to the regionals. The Pairwise determines the teams and their seeding, and bracket integrity and attendance take it from there. Simple really. Fans try to make much more of it than it is. As you? posted before, you still have to play the games and win.

    • Where are the Lowell/UNH people complaining about Northeast Regional? ECAC and CCHA fans complaining?

      They do not exist. Nothing better than to deny a team from your league a chance at the Frozen Four. The WCHA complaints sound like the SEC cheers one hears in football.

      You know what? I am NEVER happy when BC wins. In anything. I do not go around chanting “Hockey East” when BC wins. I am glad that Jack Parker’s last win was against BC at the Garden. I went to BU, not HE University. Give me a matchup in Worcester, Providence or Manchester against any Hockey East foe over four HE teams in the Frozen Four.

        • Never for BC. My second team is Maine. I am rooting for Lowell and UNH this year, either one would have their first NCAA Title.

          I would root for any HE team or ECAC team NOT called BC. I would root for Minnesota, Michigan or North Dakota to beat BC. This is the nature of rivalries.

          • Fair enough… Been rooting for either one or both since I was a kid. My best friend played 2 years at BC, one of my brother’s best friends played two at BU. Always root for the local MA kids… That’s what matters to me.

      • I would have cheered for BU and Parker this year if BC didn’t make it and BU did. Just saying there has to be some sort of camaraderie on Comm ave.

        • For Jerry York’s retirement season, I would make that allowance, too. And I do remember how great the BC fans were about Travis Roy (along with many other programs, especially Maine, since Travis is from Maine)

          But beyond that, it was always good times riding the B-Train and rising a pint to disagree about our teams.

  4. In Scenario 2 why not stop after the Denver-Niagara swap? You’ve got pretty good bracket integrity and at least two teams near each tournament site. I really don’t get the specific reference to poor attendance in Providence. 3 of the 4 teams are in the northeast and North Dakota always travels well.

  5. One criteria that always seems to mess with bracket integrity is the requirement for the host team to play there. The host team wouldn’t be there is they didn’t make the tournament so why make it a requirement to play there if they do? Yes, I know it is for attendance but if the host site is truly doing a good job as host they should be doing things to get the attendance up no matter who ends up there.

      • Had Providence won HE and Brown won the ECAC tourneys, there would have been a situation with Brown hosting the Providence regional and Providence playing elsewhere. It’s a shame that didn’t happen because it would have been hilarious.

  6. If attendance is such an issue why are there no regionals within driving distance of any western schools? The only WCHA team that has less then an 10 hour drive to Grand Rapids is placed in the North East? Do they figure that since we are springing for plane tickets anyway it doesn’t matter where they send the western teams? I agree with the “no first round conf matchup rule” but moving teams for attendance reasons is wrong. Oh well, at least for the next few years the finals are in cities that are at least near hockey schools. New rule, No frozen fours in towns that don’t support College Hockey.

    • NCAA’s are trying to expand the exposure to college hockey, hence the Frozen Four in cities that don’t have college hockey. I agree about the attendance factor, that seems lame, but it always comes down to money in the end.

      • They can’t be making money in places like Toledo. Maybe they are but I have to believe that if they were in more college hockey “crazy” locations that the money would be even better.

          • that would be nice, only a three hour drive to GF and three hours to Minneapolis.. I could handle that..

          • Yeah I think the NCAA has already said that will never happen because of all of the use of the old logo.

          • Well, if the rule is that they can’t use a team’s home rink, does that mean that a Grand Forks regional would have to be played outdoors?

          • Agreed. I am a Lowell fan, but UNH basically gets a home game every time it goes to Manchester. Grand Forks would be an awesome trip for this guy from NH.

    • I believe the WCHA gets too many teams in every year. That being said, there should definitely be a Regional in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Colorado. Providence will have attendance issues while having a Regional in Toledo is something. As a Hockey East fan I see UNH getting home ice every other year. A joke. I believe that we get these odd sites because the Boston Garden, Joe Louis Arena and the Pepsi Center (Denver) have too many other committments.

        • No not me. I think Wisconsin or BU deserve to be there over Yale and Canisius. I am the last person to suggest affirmative action.

      • Too many based on what? Seems to me that if you used the krach, what a lot of fans see as a better alternative you would still have 6 wcha teams. Would you prefer it is just old boys network and they are “picked”. I don’t love the pair wise but everyone plays by the same rules and you can clearly see what you need to do to get it or be left at home. That’s better than a selection committee. Ask last years ncaa men’s basketball champ how the selection worked for them this year.

    • gophernotgolfer asks: “If attendance is such an issue why are there no regionals within driving distance of any western schools?”
      I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with lack of appropriate facilities, based on my understanding that they can’t use a college team’s home rink. I would also think that you want a building that seats 8 to 10 thousand – maybe more, if you can get it. With those two criteria in mind, I’ll modify your question and ask: How many appropriate rinks are within driving distance of any western schools? I haven’t looked at all, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect the answer to that question is: Not Many.

    • I agree in general, but the Frozen Fours in places like Tampa and Anaheim did well and I know as a New Englander that a trip to Tampa last year would have been nice. The Regionals are set up really bad every year.

    • Just remember back to 2006, when #2 overall Minnesota, drew lowly AHL entry Holy Cross … anything can happen, that’s why THEY play the games.

      BC is not strong, injuries have all but depleted an early-season strong defensive team.

      • Absolutely. BC is not the championship team of the past few years. The loss to BU (1st 30 great, 2nd a disaster) pretty much tells their season.

  7. Ok everybody, take a break with the “our conference is better than any other conference” talk. If there has ever been a year where the field is as wide open it’s this year. Nobody likes the way the tourney is set up and it may not change for awhile. This whole thing about “money” determining team location is a bit of a farce. I watched several conference tourney games the past few days and other than the WCHA Final Five there were virtually nobody in the stands at these other tourneys. I saw Brown play…somebody….yesterday and there were maybe 500 ppl in the stands. So, why the NCAA is concerned about money being a factor is bewildering. Other than the Boston area and the MN region I do not see “money” being a factor anywhere else other than how much money is lost. So, at the end of the day it just doesn’t matter who plays whom. Split the teams up according to their season records, inter-conference success and let things fall where they may. College hockey is being destroyed by new conference alignment which is hardly what the sport needed. This is one area where “change” is not good. At this point in time it just doesn’t matter who plays where……just drop the puck and let’s go.

    • Put permanent regional sites in place. The West regional could rotate between St. Paul and Milwaukee each year. The Midwest could rotate between Grand Rapids and Columbus. The East and Northeast could rotate between Albany, Boston, Providence, and Bridgeport or some such combination.

      It doesn’t have to be that difficult. I’d also mention Denver as a regional site, although it could be an attendance disaster if the regional isn’t stacked like in ’07 with MN/Michigan/UND/Air Force or doesn’t have CC + Denver at the site.

      • how about 2 regional sites each year.That way you would have 8 team fan bases coming in for the tourney each year. This is one of the reason the final 5 was so successful…6 teams hd there fan bases come into saint paul and most of the time people would go to all of the games. One in Minnesota Wisconsin or Michigan every year for the west and one in the boston, providence NY area every year

      • You are wrong about Denver. I was there in 2007 for the regional and 2008 for the FF. Minimum crowd was about 15,000 in the 6 games there. Regional only had Air force as “local” team, 2008 the only “draw” was Sioux, an d they travel well wherever you put them.

        • I’m not wrong about Denver. I mentioned 2007 specifically because it was a stacked regional. AFA was the sole local team, but UND has an assload of alumni in Denver, and MN/Michigan also travel well and are big name schools. That year was the best possible scenario for that site if DU/CC failed to get into the tournament.

      • The two east regionals, Northeast and East, rotate among Manchester NH, Providence RI, Worcester MA, Bridgeport CT and sometimes Albany NY. There are also good buildings in Portland ME, Hartford CT, Springfield MA and Lowell MA.

        Geography helps these two regionals, since none is a long drive from about thirty Division I campuses, many of which routinely get bids.

      • Jake/Brent…..Jake, I did not see the “Boston” games but I assumed the turnout would be strong. As I said, I honestly think there are only a few places where college hockey draws much of a crowd. My point is, the whole idea of using certain locations to help increase fan support, i.e., revenue, just doesn’t hold water. I have only been to Frozen Fours so I can’t say with certainty how well the regionals are attended. But, from what you see on TV and ticket sales it does not look like all regionals are highly supported.
        Brent, I agree with you…in some sense or fashion. I think there needs to be a set location for having playoff games. How this is done is important but not critical. For one thing, getting to regional games….with 2-4 days of notice certainly reduces the # of fans who can afford to attend. However, if we knew the winners of the WCHA, B10, NCHC…..basically the best 8 teams (or, however you want to break down who attends the NT) would be playing in MSP (for example) the fan support would be much higher. Basically, you have two major divisions….West and East. The “eastern” schools would have their tourney and the 2 winners from each “half of the country” would meet for the Frozen Four.
        Anyway, something like this. I just think the current arrangement creates argument about who is in and who goes where. The current set up only diminishes the number of fans who might otherwise attend if they had advance notice of where the NT playoff site will be. Lastly, it would end this “our conference is better than your conference” debate…..everyone would have their chance to get to the FF on a fairly (albeit not perfect) equal basis. Let’s face it, there is not a dominating conference anymore. I am a WCHA fan and I would argue, historically, this has been the strongest conference overall. But, now that there are so many U.S. kids playing hockey all over the country the conferences are becoming fairly equal. One last thing….if we did this “east vs west” we could still keep some kind of rivalry going….just not conference vs conference. It would be part of the country vs the other part, i.e., East vs West. This would give many on here ripe material to continue arguing who “the best” is for years to come….:)

        • Understood. I only find a disconnect with your expansion objections, given your otherwise positive commentary… Your arrangements make good sense. I’ve been to Regionals and FFs… Unless it has changed recently, everyone does not get the chance to go to a Frozen Four. The tickets are sold long before they arrive at the venue. There are 9-10K “season ticket holders” who get first choice to decline every year. We had it here in Albany a few years ago, and the average fan couldn’t get a good ticket, no how, no way. And, the arena was a third empty. I can’t imagine it’s any different anywhere else. Fun discussion… you care, so have fun watching the games. If we’re lucky, we get another BC-UND (arguably best East-West rivalry) final match-up. It’s been awhile.

      • I would like this however Denver and Grand Forks should also maybe get regionals… Grand Forks is eligible now by the way

    • I totally disagree with last part… First of all, the BC-BU game was fairly well packed, and the BU-Lowell game almost as crowded. And I do agree with your Great Lakes-Northeast attendance assessment for right now. But, unless the sport expands in teams and conferences, nothing will ever change in the tournament set-up. The NCAA has always considered college hockey a regional, niche sport. Bloggers call for more tournament spots? Keep dreaming… The sport needs 8-10 new teams to even consider tournament expansion to even 20, let alone 24. The AHA could split into two conferences, or an East and West, as more teams consider jumping in. The Big Ten can and most-likely will expand soon. The new NCHC can if they choose to get off their elitist, high-horse that drove the split from the WCHA. (Sorry, just my assumption, but that is what it looks like from up here in the cheap seats.)

  8. Great season for Lowell – HEA RS and Tourney champs, both for the first time. Awesome goaltending and defense but this team really needs to start scoring some goals.

  9. Quit moving things around for attendance issues, make BC go west if thats the way things end up as its not like a move will improve attendance too much anyway. That Grand Rapids regional in your Michigan wins scenario looks like it could be a frozen 4 by itself.

  10. this year specifically they are going to try and seperate east and west teams. They will not want 4 western teams coming to final 4 in Pittsburgh. I am very confident that BC will play Union in QU regional. I would also not be suprised if they figured out a way to get 3 wcha teams into the GR regional if Michigan loses today and move Yale into the New Hamshire regional to play Lowell. Can anyone say Wisconsin/Minnesota first round?

    • That would be the best way to do it. Have 1 play 16, 2 play 15 and so on. Attendance sucks anyway. BC fans won’t travel that well even to Providence.

  11. Could have been much worse. West Regional could have been Wisconsin, Minnesota, Niagara, and North Dakota. Midwest Regional could have been SCSU, Notre Dame, Minn St., and Denver. This attendance garbage is a joke. Have 4 permanent Regionals at places that support HOCKEY. This could be the Joe, Pepsi Center, Excel and TD Gardens. Detroit, Denver, Minnesota and Boston will support college hockey as well as pro hockey. I realize some HE and ECAC fans might object because a few would have to travel but that is certainly the case now anyway.

    • Sounds logical… But the NHL is hell bent on making Pittsburgh the center of it’s universe. To exclude Pittsburgh with 3-4 D1 programs (PSU, RMU, Mercyhurst, OSU) nearby would be difficult to do in the future. You may have to add 1 or 2 rotating sites.

      • Never thought of that, GREAT IDEA!! Having 2 rotating sites would certainly work. Wonder if MSG would be good, in addition to Pittsburgh? That would tend to equalize the east/west thing.

  12. Let Notre Dame stay out east. They’ll be in Hockey East next season, and the Atlantic Coast Conference for everything else except football. So they already think that Indiana is on the East Coast. Why mess with their heads?

  13. You should start each Bracketology with the statement “No matter the criteria used – BC ends up in Providence”. Its funny how you wait until AFTER your “bracket integrity” discussion to come up with the idea of putting BC in Providence. Who cares about Quinnipiac’s just deserts of having a 1,8,9,16 bracket!!!

  14. It would not shock me if Denver is not called today. I know they have the PWRwise – But not the “smell test”. They have not played consistently winning hockey down the stretch. Hopefully its not a look at the PWRise numbers but a subjective analysis as well. How could St Cloud be a something teen seed and Denver a 8/9 seed? Win the conference and make it to the final 5 must have hurt em I guess.
    One thing is for certain the BIG Ten er Six will not be better than many.. Especially the NCHA or whatever it will be called next year.
    Go Bucky!!

    • totally agree with the whole Denver scenario.. even the Mankato ranking smells funny but they did go 6-0-2 in non-conference.. I just think a conference title should be a lock for the tournament..

    • You know nothing about how the teams are chosen, just like this idiot below, Billy. Is this the first time you followed college hockey or are you not the brightest bulb in the box?? The top 16 in PWR, minus the automatic bids HAVE to be called. Suggest you, and BIlly, go to beginners blogs!!!

  15. The NCAA must have a WCHA free zone, we would’t want a repeat of Columbus ’05. 6 teams stacked in 3 regions, makes total sense. All bias aside, the selection process is becoming a joke. Getting to be as funny as the football/basketball selections.

    • You are absolutely correct, Dybs!! It could have been worse, they could have put 3 WCHA teams into each of the West and Midwest Regionals.

  16. So the teams that are “hosting” regionals get an automatic bid? Which teams are hosting this year and would they get in if they weren’t? Because that makes zero sense, it should be the top teams based on whatever system is used (Pairwise), as well as conference tourney champions.

    • The top 16 ranked in PWR, minus the conference automatic bids, HAVE to get in. The committee seeds these teams into the four regionals, using the “host” teams that make it through this criteria to their home cities. Just because you are a “host” team, does not get you in.

    • Host schools don’t get an automatic bid. If they get in, they automatically play at their site. This year, New Hampshire is a host and will be playing in Manchester, NH because they made the tournament. The other hosts did not make the tournament.

    • It turns out that Michigan is the host school for the Grand Rapids regional even though the location is closer to Michigan State & Central Michigan. So the Wolverines would have been locked into the Grand Rapids regional. The Toledo regional is hosted by Bowling Green and Providence by Brown (both of whom fell fall far short of making the tournament.) The one host school to make it into the tournaments was UNH (who are hosting the Manchester regional.)

  17. Want to bet Quinnipiac, Niagara, and Canisius are all one-and-done?
    Unless 2 of the 3 play each other, forcing one to move on, it will be true. You can take that to the bank.

      • Yes, DU Fan, it is bit of sour grapes on my part, I will admit. I truly believe though, that only Quinnipiac belongs, of those 3 teams, in the tourney. Not because they are such a “great team”, but their record and ranking cannot be denied. I’m still sticking with it though—all 3 one-and-done, unless they play each other. I’m sure the Quinn-Canisius game will pack them in in Providence—NOT!!

        • I did detect a little envy, you are very honorable to admit it. Big kudos to you. Have to give UML and Notre Dame credit for not “mailing it in”. I do agree that both Niagara and Canisius will have trouble winning a game, QU deserves their ranking as they were very steady all year. BU just missed, I would feel the same if DU was in that position.

  18. So guys. This is not going to win me any friends with the WCHA crowd, but I think this whole “anti-WCHA conspiracy” motivated by some vague “fear” of an all-WCHA frozen four is total bogus. Now let’s talk about why.

    First, and most importantly, it doesn’t make any sense. If you look at the results from the NCAA tournaments of the past ten years or so, you will notice a couple of things.

    For one, if you look at (i) the number of WCHA teams in the tournament; (ii) the number of potential frozen four berths to be claimed by the WCHA; and (iii) the number of frozen four berths ACTUALLY claimed by WCHA teams, you will notice that very rarely have WCHA teams claimed all the potential frozen four berths available to them: 2005 (4) and 2006 (2). Most of the time, that does not happen. Average number of WCHA participants since 2000 is just under 5, average potential WCHA FF berths is just over 3, and average ACTUAL berths claimed is about 1.5. And this is even WITH the fact that when there’s two WCHA teams in one regional, it should make it MORE likely that at least one WCHA team moves on. Even so, you don’t see it happen all that often.

    So what does this mean? It means it doesn’t make any sense to totally screw up brackets out of “fear” that something that is unlikely to happen, has only happened once, and has shown no real signs of ever happening again might happen.

    Second, you’ll also notice that in 2008, six WCHA teams WERE put in four regions. So what is the story here? Do we think that three years after infamous 2005, everyone was not afraid of an all-WCHA frozen four, but then somehow now, five years later, people are like “oh **** wait! remember that time that one thing happened? That thing that’s not really shown much likelihood of happening again? We should be AFRAID of that!”

    Finally, there’s an alternative explanation. They care about attendance, and because of that they seem to look at geography, and if geography is correlated with conference affiliation then placing teams with attendance in mind will bring about a concentration of conferences in regionals.

    Now granted, I agree with everyone who thinks this is dumb. I think they should just seed the teams and then place according to seeds. Avoiding first round interconference matchups makes sense to me, but everything else should just be according to seeds. That said though, give it a rest with the conspiracy stuff.

  19. Notre Dame is popular everywhere, and there are many alumni in New England. There are probably almost as many alums in Boston as there are in Chicago. Don’t be shocked if the Irish end up in Providence or Manchester— even though Toledo & Grand Rapids are both a reasonably short drive from South Bend.

    I see that the committee has set the schedule and locations up so it is feasible to see the games (or most of the games) in both Providence and Manchester. The Toledo-Grand Rapids twofer is a little less plausible.

  20. Everyone seems to neglect Lowell is even in the tournament. If they get past Wisconsin (pretty much just as hot and playing great defensive hockey) in the first round they could go all the way. I feel like they’ve been overlooked a lot this year. “Gillies best goalie in Hockey East”.. Hellebuyck? “Maine is extremely hot coming into the Hockey East playoffs”… Lowell? And even the HE discussion here seems to be all about how BC is pretty much an autobid to the FF. As a Hockey East follower and fairly decent BC fan, I think you’re all out of your collective minds if you think BC will waltz into Pittsburgh. I’ve followed them for some time and this is not there year. Go Lowell, keep getting overlooked, and keep beating and surprising everybody

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. UML is the hottest team going in, would welcome a rematch. Could be a battle of excellent goalies.

  21. Go Union!! Only 2000 students and looking for a repeat visit to the frozen four. Played there the first 4 years of division 1 (92-95). Hey Suture, Union is the answer to you’re Brown vs somebody comment. You know the same team that walked over Michigan and Michigan State last year on their way to Tampa!! Let me guess a WCHA snob?

  22. – No WCHA teams in the East region
    – Union and Quinny in the same region
    – Miami and ND in the same region
    – UM-L and UNH in the same region

    All major lame-ness.

    The fun of the NCAAs is playing teams you don’t play much.

    No one wants conference re-matches in the second round.

    • Every year is the same old garbage. The NCAA committee goes by no criteria, and certainly doesn’t care about conference re-matches. The only standard they use is that the #1 seeds get “home” sites. The other quadrants (5-8. 9-12, 13-16) they put where they want in the excuse of ATTENDANCE.

      • Yes, and as long as attendance is a large factor then we will have this discussion every year. Of course they could just have the games at neutral sites that have shown the propensity to drawn a good crowd in the past, but that would be too easy.

        • Is there such thing as a “neutral site”? Unless you are thinking the Forum, the Pond, or Jobing.Com arena? Only those sites in the far west could be considered neutral.

          • Well, not in that sense, no. But if they are not on campus and no in some location where attendance is an overriding concern, that would at least remove the issue from the selection committee. For DU the Pepsi Center would be a good option. Is that neutral, it is in the fact that it is not on campus. But places like the Pond, I remember when the Frozen Four was there and there were like 8 people in the crowd. What purpose does that serve?

          • next years regional sites: west: Denver, Midwest Grand Forks, East: Excel center Northeast: Green Bay, Hell why not 4 sites west of lake Michigan

          • Would have to find another arena in Grand Forks. The Ralph is Olympic size ice surface, NCAA never uses anything but NHL ice in Regionals and FF.

      • if Eastern fans loved hockey as much as western fans we wouldn’t have to worry about attendance, WCHA dominates in attendance figures

  23. Brackets are better with a Notre Dame with rather than Michigan, but I don’t get how you can put 2 WCHA teams in each bracket, but somehow put none in the East regional?

    • That’s lame. Just cause there was an all wcha final four once in a hundred years? Are you really that worried the wcha will win every region?

      • I think the committee wants to avoid any conference getting the majority of frozen four teams. However, it turns out yearly that the WCHA gets 4-5 in while others have about 3, so you often find at least 1 or if they can 2 regions without WCHA teams, even if it messes with bracket integrity

        • well next year that will change. No WCHA I think it will be interesting to see how the Big 10 fairs next year. They will have a chance to schedule a lot of non-conference games. NCHC should be a very good league

  24. Obviously I am a UND hockey fan. Everyone will rag on UND-MN being in the same region. Obviously both fan bases dont want this, but lets instead look at Quinnipiac. How unfair is it they have the 6 team in their region. So much for “bracket intergrity” to protect the #1 seed. Quinnipiac fans should be upset they got BC instead of UND.

  25. Step 1: Determine the field.
    Step 2: Assign seeds.
    Step 3: Place 1 seed in regions based on geography / host teams.
    Step 4: Attendance! Attendance! Attendance!
    Step 5: Eat some pizza
    Step 6: Take a nap
    Step 1950103: Bracket Integrity.

    • Well done. HEA fan here loving your humor. We true East Coast Hockey Fans are big Dakota fans. The UMaine fans will never forget in 2001 when UND came to Alfond and skated onto the ice and every (After Coach Walsh passed away) player uniform had Walsh for the name on the back of Jersey. It was classiest move I have seen in sports. Your fan base is awesome and mostly classy and truly love the sport. So a public thank you and letting you know that the”Sioux” have a big fan base in the east. I go to the Frozen Four every year I hang out with Dakota fans out of respect. (The Dakota Jerseys were auctioned off and raised $50K for cancer research). Lets have a great tourney!!

    • Never happen.. The committee can do a lot of stupid things but they HAVE to take the top 16 PWR, minus autobids. Thank goodness they at least have to go by that criteria, or they would make it a lot worse and screw it up beyond repair.

  26. So guys. This whole “anti-WCHA conspiracy” motivated by some vague “fear” of an all-WCHA frozen four is total bogus. Now let’s talk about why.

    Basically, it doesn’t make much sense. If you look at the results from the NCAA tournaments of the past ten years or so, you will notice a couple of things:

    For one, look at (i) the number of WCHA teams in the tournament; (ii) the number of potential frozen four berths claimable by WCHA teams; and (iii) the number of frozen four berths ACTUALLY claimed by WCHA teams. You will see that relatively rarely have WCHA teams claimed all the potential frozen four berths available to them: 2005 (4) and 2006 (2). Most of the time, that does not happen. Average number of WCHA participants since 2000 is just under 5, average potential WCHA FF berths is just over 3, and average ACTUAL berths claimed is about 1.4. And this is even WITH the fact that when there’s two WCHA teams in one regional, it should make it MORE likely that at least one WCHA team moves on, which is what happened in 06, when they made up 50% of each regional that they moved on from. Even so, you just don’t see it happening.

    So what does this mean? It means it doesn’t make any sense to totally screw up brackets out of fear that something that is unlikely to happen, has only happened once, and has shown no real signs of ever happening again, somehow might happen. WCHA teams just don’t claim all the potential spots often enough for someone to look at it and say to themselves, “This is a problem that requires affirmative intervention, so we’re going to screw over MN & UND.”

    Second, in 2008, six WCHA teams WERE put in four regions. So why would this conspiracy not care in 08, but then care every other year? Why would they not care in 08, but then five years later, people are like “oh wait! remember 2005? That thing that’s not really shown much likelihood of happening again? That we didn’t care about in 2008 for some reason? We should be AFRAID of that!”

    Finally, there’s an alternative explanation. They care about attendance, and because of that they seem to look at geography, and if geography is correlated with conference affiliation then placing teams with attendance in mind will bring about a concentration of conferences in regionals.

    Now granted, I agree with everyone who thinks this is dumb. I think they should just seed the teams and then place according to seeds. Avoiding first round interconference matchups makes sense to me, but everything else should just be according to the seeding. That said though, it’s time to give it a rest with the conspiracy stuff.

  27. So much for “bracket integrity” and protecting the number one overall by putting the 8 seed in their bracket. Love how they try and move boston college closer to home so their fans will maybe show up. Bet they still have a half full arena in providence

  28. This is the time of year Gopher fans cry foul about a potential regional game against The Mighty Sioux.
    Each bracket will have a possible conference matchup so grab a tissue and just play the game .

  29. So…BU and Michigan are out. Couldn’t be happier. Thought for sure the refs would tilt the ice for Scandal Jack and BU. And that Mich would be given a break to keep their streak alive; good PR, U know? ( well, it WAS Notre Dame).
    It’s a brave new world.
    Go Dutchmen!!!

    • about the entire year…not just this weekend or one series. IN the end my SCSU huskies almost won the WCHA and missed the tourney. This is because they were terrible in non-conference. You have to look at everything. Trust me SCSU was 3-1 against Denver and 2-0 against Minnesota State Mankato…but they are a lower seed.

  30. the east bracket is a joke and wouldnt pay to see these games. The only way ill go is if North Dakota comes. I live in RI and would rather drive to NH to see the better games

    • ND will not be there. That would put a WCHA team in each bracker. A big no-no for the blessed committee, If they did, there would be more Sioux fans there than any others.

  31. Disappointed BU didn’t make it in but very excited for our 3 representative teams. With HE getting assigned high seeds, hopefully UM-L or UNH can win it all. I wouldn’t mind BC doing well, but I’d rather see a different team win it to give more validity to our conference.

  32. Hey, would everyone stop with the bracket complaining….it gets so annoying and it is totally senseless. It’s not perfect and it never will be under the current set up. I’m a Sioux fan and I think we do not have one thing to complain about. There are other teams in the NT that were mistreated…in a manner of speaking….far worse than the Sioux were. Listen, the Sioux are like many teams in the NT……good team but did not win when they needed (not enough wins anyway). When you are not a #1 seed all bets are off. This is just the way it has been and it’s how things will be until a new format is brought forth. For now, let’s just be happy “our” respective teams are in the NT and let’s hope everybody plays their best. Besides, I don’t think there is truly a home ice advantage with any of these locations. If BC had to play at The Ralph, for example, that would be unfair. But, these regionals are not that well attended so I just don’t think there is much advantage other than the #1 seeds (and host teams) don’t have to travel as far. Is this some kind of huge advantage? I don’t know…I suppose a slight advantage…??
    As it stands the NT is set so maybe we can start talking about pairings instead of complaining about the brackets. With this being said, can somebody from Niagara tell me about your team? I have not seen Niagara play this year…..appreciate some insight with your team…TIA.

    • Niagara U lost to Michigan by one and tied them. Beat and Tied Clarkson. Tied and lost to Bowling Green. Lost to Colgate at the start of the season. Lost only 5 in conference games all season (6 if you include the AHA tourney).(www.purpleeagles.com) Currently, the Purple Eagles are on a 22 game unbeaten streak on home ice. That is tied for 5th all time. Historically NU has played in the big show three times: 2000 (at large bid: went to the elite 8, lost to North Dakota – they won the national champ. that year ), 2004(auto bid for CHA: Lost first round to BC), and 2008(auto bid for CHA: Lost first round to Michigan).

  33. The “TUC” factor carried a lot of volatility b/c it was retroactive for the whole season. That meant that if a team dropped out of the TUC group on the last day of the season, every other team that had beaten that team was affected. So I think it’s good that was removed.
    However, now we have these bonus points for “quality wins” against the top 20 teams.
    Are those points awarded only if the opponent was a top-20 team when you beat them or if the team finishes in the top 20?
    In other words, is it retroactive, like the TUC was, or is it finalized on the day of the game?

  34. Picking a UNH sweep is pretty bold after their heartless performance against UML last weekend. I predict MI State wins Friday night 2-1 on a late 3rd period PP goal after a dumb penalty, Coach U. throws a post game nutty at the officials instead of shaking hands and UNH doesn’t show up Saturday night. Sweep to Spartans.

    • Heartless? They are a very young team and those things happen, as you would know since UML has had some young teams too. Giving up 8 goals to a Michigan team that UNH beat 5-1 and lost to 2-1 (combined 3 GA) at Yost, on your home ice must qualify as heartless too. Not sure if you saw Friday’s game as well, but UNH played very well and Boyle left a lot of rebounds, the UML defense did a great job of not letting them get there for them. Saturday was rough. But, those two losses were to a team that has handled them easily over the past few years and being swept there was no surprise. UNH wins at least one, probably both this weekend.

  35. Any Maine fans have any faith whatsoever with this team on the road? I believe UVM is not as good as their record and would say Maine is a bit better than theirs. If you are like me, we keep having high hopes this team is good but on the road it just seems to be tough. Anyone see Maine winning a game this weekend? I always say this is the weekend they have a good road series and every time left shaking my head. Until they prove it, its hard to believe in them on the road.

  36. This weekend is it for the Huntington Hounds. They can climb right back into the Hockey East race or fade off. It is 100% up to them. Period.

  37. Vermont will be in the hunt for a NCAA Bid and a top 4 in Hockey East,while BC will bounce back just before the Holidays…and Kudo’s to UConn,wins and even a few ties will be good for their 1st year in Hockey East…plus they have had solid goaltending…and finally @ Maine…panic is in the air and their should be…not a lot of talent their…but what is missing is the hungry hard working attitude…something is missing their(talent/suspect goaltending/leaky defense/no scoring).

  38. If they weren’t panicking at the Heights then, I think you can assume that after a 6-3 drubbing by Harvard, they are starting to.

  39. If you’re Michigan, Minnesota or Wisconsin, you *need* at least a split against Ohio State, Notre Dame and Penn State (respectively) this weekend. Anything less will really hurt…

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