Breaking Down the NCAA Hockey Tournament
Once again it is time to start filling those NCAA Hockey Tournament brackets. Here is everything you need to know to dominate your office pool.
Let’s start with the only regional that matters – the West.
(1) Minnesota vs. (4) Air Force
All of you Gopher haters out there will be well advised to skip watching this game and just pop in your DVD of last year’s Holy Cross upset – because that is not gonna happen again, not in a million years. Gophers 7, Falcons 0
(2) Michigan vs. (3) North Dakota
North Dakota will beat a lousy Wolverines team as badly as they want to. Sioux 8, Wolverines 3
At first I was bitter that the Gophers, the top overall seed, were placed in the same region as the nation’s hottest team (at least they were the hottest until the Gophers spanked them Saturday). But, it really doesn’t matter that much whether the Gophers beat the Sioux in the National Championship game or here in the regional final.
If this game were to be played on an Olympic sized sheet of ice, instead of a smaller NHL-sized rink, I might give the edge to the Sioux. The Gophers proved last Saturday that their size is too much for the Sioux on a small rink.
Minnesota 5, North Dakota 3
(1) New Hampshire vs. (4) Miami
New Hampshire has been fading, but they should be able to hold off a questionable Miami team. Wildcats 4, RedHawks 2
(2) Boston College vs. (3) St. Lawrence
Boston College is the hottest team in the East and St. Lawrence couldn’t even score a goal against Quinnipiac in the E-Z-AC tournament. Eagles 6, Saints 1
A rematch of the Hockey (L)East final, with the same result. Boston College 4, University of No Hardware 1
(1) Clarkson vs. (4) Massachusetts
Clarkson won the E-Z-AC, for what that’s worth (not much). Nevertheless, they should be able to hold off UMass.
Golden Knights 3, Minutemen 2
(2) St. Cloud State vs. (3) Maine
St. Cloud State needs goalie Bobby Goepfert to carry them like he was a month ago, but he won’t. The Huskies will continue their NCAA tourney tradition of losing in the first round. Black Bears 5, Huskies 4
Clarkson is no great shakes, but Maine has lost six of their last eight. Clarkson 5, Maine 4
The Midwest is the consensus weakest regional.
(1) Notre Dame vs. (4) Alabama-Huntsville
This won’t be as big an upset as it seems. Alabama-Huntsville is about the caliber of team that Notre Dame has been playing all year in a weak CCHA. Chargers 2, Fighting Irish 1
(2) Boston University vs. (3) Michigan State
One of these lousy teams has to win; I don’t see it being Michigan State. Terriers 3, Spartans 0
BU advances almost by default. Boston University 2, Alabama-Huntsville 1
The two best teams remaining meet in the first semi-final. The Gophers will handle the Eagles, but it will be tight. Minnesota 3, Boston College 2
Who cares who wins the other semi, they will lose in the final. Boston University 4, Clarkson 2
The easiest game since the first round for the Gophers. Minnesota 6, Boston University 2
UPDATE: The St. Cloud Times (the newspaper with the best college hockey coverage in Minnesota) has a cool interactive bracket for makng your NCAA Hockey picks.
I know Sisyphus is just trying to bait me, but I'll wager any amount that the Irish send the Alabama-Huntsville team back home with a banjo on their knee.