Showing posts with label NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Show all posts

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Humble Pie a la Mode

by Redwing77

The season is over and the outcome wasn't what we wanted, but that's not what is humbling to me.  I remember back in 2005 when all four Frozen Four teams were from the same conference.  WCHA fans crowed about how awesome the WCHA was and, well, the WCHA won the NC that year.  But was that truly great?

In college football the only people who were overjoyed by the Alabama vs. LSU National Championship game was the teams who were playing and their fans... and ESPN.  It might have been the lowest rated championship football contest in terms of TV ratings in the TV era.

All season long, NCHC fans crowed about how amazing the conference is.  And I put up with it.  After all, my team is in the NCHC and the NCHC did dominate over the season.  Certainly they deserved respect.

But then on USCHO I read an altogether astonishing statement:  "The NCHC is the SEC of college hockey."

Wait... What?

The NCHC is NOT the SEC of college hockey.  The SEC of college hockey doesn't exist anymore.  I'd argue the last time the SEC of college hockey existed was back when North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were in the same conference along with Notre Dame and Michigan State.  Yeah.  The SEC of college hockey broke up in 1981.

This year the NCHC had 6 teams make the NCAA Playoffs.  Two made the Frozen Four.  It is certainly a great accomplishment.  In the end, however, Hockey East prevailed.  Hockey East has been around longer than the NCHC, even if the teams in the NCHC have storied histories.

I think we need to take a step back a little bit.  We are a strong conference with great teams and super competition.  However, we are 0-2 in National Championships as a conference.  In fact, as a conference, we've yet to get a team to the National Championship game.

Calling the NCHC the "SEC of college hockey" makes me chafe.  We do not want to be the SEC of college hockey.  I want the NCHC to be a dominant force, sure, but a respected one by all.  The SEC does not seem to hold much respect by those outside of ESPN and the fanbases of SEC teams.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ND Lake Region Basketball Head Coach Joe Kittell on the Division I Hockey Tourney

This is what happens when you compare other major division I sports to division I college hockey. College Hockey is a different animal.The nice thing about college hockey is that the small schools can compete against the bigger schools. There's a level playing field, at least in theory. You can see the whole thing by reading the twitter feed of coach Joe Kitell.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

NCAA Tourney Bid on the Line for UND

After their loss in overtime last night, UND would fall to 15th in the pairwise putting their NCAA tournament bid in jeopardy. However, depending on how some of the other conference tournaments end up next weekend, they quite possibly could be out already for the first time in 12 seasons.

Much like Friday night, UND would find themselves in a hole and having to make their way out of it once again. With an early second period goal for Colorado College, they looked to put North Dakota away and extend this to a third game Sunday night. However, about two and a half minutes after CC would go up 2-0, UND sophomore Drake Caggiula would find the twine and put North Dakota on the board.

As the clock would become the enemy of North Dakota in the third, coach Dave Hakstol would look for a late spark in his team, and who better to look to then your top line, the "Funky Bunch" line as I like to call them, of Drake Caggiula, Mark MacMillian, and Michael Parks. The line would combine for five points in the series opener, and with Caggiula already on the board in this one, why not?

With just under four minutes remaining in the third, MacMillian and Caggiula would factor in on Jordan Schmaltz's game tying goal and the Ralph would erupt. With the late goal, the fans, and the guys sitting on the bench would hope that momentum would shift in their favor heading into the overtime period.

Exactly seven minutes into the first overtime, the game would be over when CC freshman Alex Roos would find a hole and fire the puck past Zane Gothberg. This game would be just the second time in Gothberg's last 18 starts that he would allow three or more goals.

Tonight is a must win for UND if they look to make the tournament for a 12th straight season, and want to fight for the inaugural NCHC Frozen Face-Off championship.
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

(Video) Miami versus SCSU: The Brotherhood puts the Huskies on Notice

Saint Cloud State University doesn't need to win this weekend to make the NCAA tourney and Miami does. There will be a lot of eyes focused on Saint Cloud tonight. For those that are interested, the game is on FSN+ (652-1 DirecTV) again tonight. Last night, Miami won without Blake Coleman getting a point.

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UND Women heading to the Big Dance.

The UND women's team punched their ticket and they're going to be the big dance. Congrats @UNDWBasketball. Not bad for a team that's only been in the Big Sky Conference two seasons.

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Monday, April 01, 2013

(Video) UND's No goal against Yale

When I first saw this goal, I had a feeling that it wouldn't count. I am not sure why it took seven-plus minutes to review this play, it's either there or it's not there. If you're a UND fan, you kind of feel bad for Connor Gaarder, because he went 15 games without scoring a goal and had four goals all season long, three in one game against the Boston University Terriers.

I would contend that this long review was a momentum killer, because going into the review, UND had the momentum as well.

When the review took seven-plus minutes, I had a bad feeling and I kind of knew that UND was not going to get the goal. I don't know, from past experience. If UND get's to a 2-0 lead over Yale, it's a different game. It's a tough ending to a pretty decent season.
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Time to tweak the NCAA Division I Hockey Tourney

Boston College Eagles men's ice hockey
Boston College Eagles men's ice hockey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, there was an November 29 article by Mark Bedics at and the chair of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and current athletic director of Notre Dame Tom Nevala, would like to see the first round of the Men’s NCAA Division I hockey tourney moved on campus and have the games played at the home ice of the higher seed.
Our current setup provides a lot of challenges,” said Tom Nevala, chair of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and senior associate athletics director at Notre Dame. “You need to find buildings that are neutral sites, have NHL ice and ideally are within close proximity to the host school’s fan base. Right now for the most part, we really need the host to qualify if we are going to have good attendance and atmosphere at our regionals. In an effort to increase attendance, the NCAA has been working with the hosts to try and make tickets more affordable but the nature of neutral sites and non-traditional game times works against us a bit.”
Although, there have been five fairly major format changes in the first 65 years of the tournament, there have been none in the last 20. The ongoing debate about championship format has become more active during the last couple years.
“Personally, I would like to see us move to an on-campus best-of-three series format for the first round,” Nevala said. “The top seeds would host regardless of size of its building. Right now we do it at the conference level and it works very well. There are upsets even with the home ice advantage and the atmosphere for everyone involved would be better. We have such great campus facilities that are such a part of the fabric of college hockey, it’s a shame that the national tourney isn’t played in them.”
I personally would welcome the change with open arms.
I would imagine something like this 1 versus 16, 2 versus 15, 3 versus 14, 4 versus 13, 5 versus 12, 6 versus 11, 7 versus 10, and 8 versus 9. This would protect the integrity of the NCAA Tourney; I would imagine that there would be some tweaks to avoid conference matchups during the first round of the playoffs, if possible.
Obviously, after the first round there would be eight teams left and you could play two regionals at predetermined locations.
This would seem a little fairer to me.
Apparently, a majority of Division I Hockey coaches would rather play in quiet half empty arenas that in some cases aren’t very attractive venues.
One of these less than attractive regional sites that immediately comes to mind is the 2010 Midwest Regional that was held in Fort Wayne, IN, where a whopping 7337 people attended three NCAA Midwest Regional games held on March 27 and 28, 2010.
Watching the Midwest Regional on television, you could see that regional was poorly attended and you had to ask; why? Seriously, why was that regional held in that location? All of the hockey arenas in the USA and the NCAA couldn’t do better option than that? Notre Dame could have hosted that tourney in Chicago or some other attractive location. Hence, the more logical idea of having the first round of the NCAA Division I Hockey tourney the on campus of the higher seeds.
In 2006, the University of North Dakota hosted a West Regional at the Ralph Englestad Arena and it was one of the best attended hockey regionals in NCAA Division I Hockey history when it drew 22,645 fans. For comparison sake, the 2006 regional outdrew the 2012 West Regional Championships that was held at the Xcel Energy Center drawing 20,360 fans.
Obviously, some teams aren’t going to be real excited about going to another teams building to play in the first round of the NCAA tourney but there needs to be an actual reward for getting a number one seed.
Most years, it wouldn’t make much difference if a number four seed played in the home building of a number one seed or played at a regional site; they’re lucky to be in the tourney and anyway you sliced it and they also deserve  play a game against a higher seeded team.
Also, why shouldn’t a higher seed be able to have the luxury of playing in their building with 11,500 of their screaming fans cheering them on. Why shouldn’t the better seed be rewarded for good play during the course of the season? Isn’t that what the NCAA is trying to do?
I am not so sure.
Is it fair for a team that is ranked number one over-all; have to fly half way across the country to Worcester, MA to face the Boston College Eagles in an arena that is 37.9 miles away from their campus. This happens on a very regular basis.
Make no mistake about it, the Eagles have been a great team over the last 10 seasons and they have the record to show for it.
But that being said, why should a number one seed from the west be rewarded with traveling to a regional championship where they have to play the Boston College Eagles in their home state a mere 40 miles away. There’s no way that you can convince me that’s a neutral site.
Maybe question should be; neutral site for who? In its present form the NCAA Division I Hockey tourney is awarding select teams the luxury of playing close to home more times than not. That’s hardly fair for all of the teams involved in the NCAA tourney.
That scenario has happened to the Miami University RedHawks twice in the last four years. In 2008, the Miami RedHawks traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to face the Boston College Eagles and lost 4-3 in the Championship game – a great reward for finishing with the number one seed over-all.
Not Really!
In 2011, the number one seeded RedHawks would travel to Manchester, NH and this time they had to face the fourth seeded University of New Hampshire Wildcats who were playing a short 35 miles away from their campus, the top seeded RedHawks would again lose, to the host team the UNH Wildcats. Again, where was the reward for gaining the number one seed?
If you look at the schedule of the Boston College Eagles schedule over the last 10 season, they haven’t traveled very far very often. Here is a breakdown of that less than strenuous travel.
In 2003, the B.C. Eagles jumped on highway 95 and traveled a short 46.8 miles to play the Cornell Big Red in the East Regional, the Eagles would go on to lose 2-1 in double overtime.
In 2004, the B.C. Eagles traveled to Manchester, NH; a mere 60 miles up I-93 from the campus of Boston College to play the in the Northeast regional. The Eagles would advance to the Frozen Four where they would lose to Maine in the Semifinals.
In 2005, the B.C. Eagles would travel to Worcester, MA to play in the East Regional. The Eagles would lose to the University of North Dakota. To get to the Frozen Four the Fighting Sioux would have to go a mini Bean Pot Tourney beating both Boston University and Boston College to qualify for the Frozen Four, no easy task.
In 2006, the B.C. Eagles would again travel to the friendly confines of Worcester MA to play in the Northeast Regional and would advance to the Frozen Four where they would lose to NCAA Champion Wisconsin in the Championship game of the Frozen Four. (NCAA runner up)
In 2007, the B.C. Eagles traveled to Manchester, NH for the Northeast Regional, where they would again reach the Frozen Four before losing to NCAA Champion Michigan State in the Championship game of the Frozen Four. (NCAA runner up)
In 2008, the B.C. Eagles were back in Worcester, MA for the Northeast Regional where the Eagles would advance to the Frozen Four by beating both Minnesota and Miami. The Eagles would go on to win the NCAA title beating Notre Dame in the Championship game. (NCAA Champs)
In 2009, the B.C. Eagles missed the NCAA playoffs.
In 2010, the B.C. Eagles would again make the short 37.8 mile trip to Worcester, MA for the Northeast Regional were they would again advance to the NCAA Frozen Four where they would beat the Wisconsin Badgers in the Championship game. (NCAA Champs)
In 2011, the B.C. Eagles would finally travel outside of the Northeast to St. Louis MO, where the Eagles would get drubbed by the Colorado College Tigers 8-4 in the quarterfinals.
In 2012, the B.C. Eagles would again make a return to Worcester, MA to play in the Northeast Regional where they would advance to the Frozen Four and win the NCAA championship with a win in the championship game against Ferris State. (NCAA Champs)
So you can imagine that the Boston College Eagles would like to keep the status quo and keep going to regional held in Manchester, NH Providence, RI or Worcester, MA.
Obviously, the B.C. Eagles are a great hockey program and Jerry York is a great hockey coach but you can’t say that Boston College didn’t benefit from getting to play close to home where their fans travel no more than an hour to see their favorite teams play hockey.
This short travel is a huge advantage over the teams, especially the team in the west unless you’re the University of Minnesota who gets to enjoy the same luxury of getting to have a regional in their back yard virtually every other year.  The distance for the Gophers from their campus to the Xcel Energy Center is a short seven mile trip.
If you break this down, B.C. won three NCAA titles in five years and the year that they didn’t get to play close to their home they failed to make the NCAA Frozen Four and ended up losing in the first round.
What are we to make of that?
I also think that there are a certain handful of teams that benefiting from having the regionals championships in their back yards almost yearly at the expense of others.
The NCAA has announced that the 2013 Division I College Hockey regionals are going to be at Grand Rapids, Michigan, Manchester, New Hampshire, Providence, Providence, Rhode Island and Toledo, Ohio. The 2014 regionals will be held at Bridgeport, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Paul, Minnesota. and Worcester, Massachusetts. Do you see a pattern here?
So I agree with Tom Nevala lets do a few tweaks to the NCAA Division I Hockey Tourney, the status quo doesn’t work for everyone.

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