What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
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.
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.
Having said all that, here’s how the committee seeded the tournament.
If we were to rank the team in this tournament top to bottom as per the selection committee, it would look like this:
Given all that, here’s how the regional match-ups were set.
Midwest Regional (Cincinnati):
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):
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):
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):
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.