Dubsism

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The 2017 Dubsism NCAA Hockey Tournament Breakdown and Challenge

It’s that time again. The basketball tournament gave me a bonus shot at showing my University of North Dakota colors, and now it’s time for the usual bit of Fighting Siou-hawx-ery.

Last year saw the University of North Dakota take down it’s eighth national championship in men’s ice hockey.  This year sees the Siou-hawx with a shot to tie Michigan for the most titles at nine, but this time…well, let’s just say it wasn’t a certainty UND would be getting an invite.  The same team that captured the crown last year also saw much of it’s talent depart for the greener pastures of professional puck, which meant this year’s Gang Green struggled it’s way through the regular season.

Now to be fair, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) is to college hockey what the B1G Ten is to college basketball; it’s just the best.  Yeah, I know Hockey East also got four teams into the final 16, but we all know that most main-stream college hockey writers have very little clue about the existence of the game west of the Allegheny mountains.

Just like every other college sport anybody gives a shit about, the writers matter because they influence the polls.  In our beloved college hockey, polls drive the infamous PairWise Rankings, which in turn drive the tournament seedings. Since the hockey tournament gets seeded just like “March Madness,” our discussion needs to start with the automatic bids which go to the conference tourney winners.

  • Atlantic Hockey: Air Force
  • Big Ten: Penn State
  • ECAC Hockey: Harvard
  • Hockey East: Massachusetts-Lowell
  • NCHC: Minnesota-Duluth
  • WCHA: Michigan Tech

Once you assign the six automatic bids, that leaves ten invitations for a shot to be the kings of the college hockey world.  That means the final PairWise Rankings (PWR) are going to drive the discussion.  Here’s the PWR for the top 16 and the automatic bids.

  • 1 Denver
  • 2 Minnesota-Duluth
  • 3 Harvard
  • 4 Minnesota
  • 5 Massachusetts-Lowell
  • 6 Western Michigan
  • 7 Boston University
  • 8 Union
  • 9 Penn State
  • 10 North Dakota
  • 11 Cornell
  • 12 Air Force
  • 13 Notre Dame
  • 14 -Tie Providence
  • 14 -Tie Ohio State
  • 14 -Tie Boston College
  • 26 Michigan Tech

Having said all that, here’s how the committee seeded the tournament.

  • The #1 seeds: Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Harvard, Minnesota
  • The #2 seeds: Massachusetts-Lowell, Western Michigan, Boston University, Union
  • The #3 seeds: Penn State, North Dakota, Cornell, Air Force
  • The #4 seeds: Notre Dame, Providence, Ohio State, Michigan Tech

If we were to rank the team in this tournament top to bottom as per the selection committee, it would look like this:

  1. Denver
  2. Minnesota-Duluth
  3. Harvard
  4. Minnesota
  5. Massachusetts-Lowell
  6. Western Michigan
  7. Boston University
  8. Union
  9. Penn State
  10. North Dakota
  11. Cornell
  12. Air Force
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Providence
  15. Ohio State
  16. Michigan Tech

Given all that, here’s how the regional match-ups were set.

Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):

  • 16 Michigan Tech vs. 1 Denver
  • 9 Penn State vs. 8 Union

Penn State makes it’s first tournament appearance as the B1G Ten tournament champion, and they should find themselves somewhat evenly matched with Union.  But to advance to the Frozen Four will mean beating the top seed in the tournament, and one who might have a bit a a chip on it’s shoulder after it’s NCHC tournament loss to North Dakota.

West Regional (Fargo):

  • 15 Ohio State vs. 2 Minnesota-Duluth
  • 10 North Dakota vs. 7 Boston University

This is nothing but a tough draw if you’re a Boston University or Ohio State fan.  The Terriers run a big risk of being dogs treated worse than Michael Vick’s by a North Dakota team out to prove their spot in this tournament is based on more than program reputation alone after having lost seven players to the professional ranks.

Conversely, Ohio State might be enjoying a selection committee in love with the idea of pumping the BI6 Ten by putting the Buckeyes in over Boston College.  Then again, if there was a reward for such favoritism, it’s coming in the form of a face-off with what I think is the best team in this tournament.

East Regional (Providence):

  • 14 Providence vs. 3 Harvard
  • 12 Air Force vs. 6 Western Michigan

If there were a region made for upsets,  this is it.  Providence as a host gets what will essentially be a home game against what I think is easily weakest #1 seed in Harvard. Air Force and Western Michigan is just as much of a coin-flip, so if you are looking for the hockey version of a “Cinderella,” the East region is for you.

Northeast Regional (Manchester):

  • 13 Notre Dame vs. 4 Minnesota
  • 11 Cornell vs. 5 Massachusetts-Lowell

As an alum of the University of North Dakota, I hate the Golden Gophers of Minnesota with the intensity of a million lemon-juice filled paper cuts. But as a UND alum living in Indiana, I am so motherfucking tired of assholes who see my ND gear and think it’s for Notre Dame.  Even before that, I was the charter member of the the “Hate Everything About Notre Dame” club.  As much as it pains me to say it, Goldy F. Gopher might be the second-best team in this contest, and it would be a distinct long-shot for them to not emerge from this region.

That brings us to the moment of truth – the official Dubsism NCAA Frozen four bracket.

This marks a first of all the years I’ve been in this bracket challenge…I’m not taking my alma mater all the way.  I just can’t.  I’d love to be wrong; I’d love North Dakota to win it’s ninth hockey crown.  But I don’t think it’s going to happen.

I thought the North Dakota Siou-hawx needed to win their conference tournament get get a ticket to the Frozen four after a season mired in the middle of the NCHC pack, which is what you would expect after losing seven players to the pros.  I thought the Siou-hawx were getting a “friendly bounce” on the PWR; I honestly don’t think they are the tenth best team in the country.

But ultimately what I think doesn’t matter.  That’s reserved for what takes place on the ice beginning on Friday.  You’ve seen my picks; if you would like to enter a set of your own, simply head over to Sioux Sports and follow the link to the College Hockey Bracket Challenge.

You might as well…it’ll take your mind off your pathetic basketball bracket.

Email the most interesting independent sports blog on the web  at dubsism@yahoo.com, and follow us @Dubsism on Twitter, or on our Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

One comment on “The 2017 Dubsism NCAA Hockey Tournament Breakdown and Challenge

  1. sportsattitudes
    March 23, 2017

    People in Indiana should be able to recognize Notre Dame gear period…as well as opposed to North Dakota gear. The infusion of cash and passion at Penn State for ice hockey got reasonably quick results.

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2017 by in College Hockey, Sports and tagged , , .

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