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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (1:59 PM)
Hello and welcome to a college hockey chat on ESPN.com. The NCAA tournament field is announced and we're ready for a great weekend at all four regional sites.
Steve (Bismarck, ND)
Hey guys, I know Gladdy is a big Miami supporter and I'm sure you all are, so help me tell my friends that Miami is indeed for real and not overrated.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:01 PM)
I guess we'll start here, and I suppose it doesn't have much value if it's just me supporting my own opinion, but I like this particular Miami team because of its experience and its goaltending. Jess Myers points out that they really haven't won their biggest games this year. I'll go with the glass being half full and say they're due, chalking the earlier games up to learning experiences.
Bryan, West Fargo, ND
Which #1 seed has the best chance of not surviving their regional? UNH got a tough draw with CC in Springs although they swept the Tigers their earlier in the season, and if Kangas can continue to dominate despite the Gophers lack of scoring, Miami might have their hands full (with BC or MN for that matter). Thoughts?
Jess Myers (2:03 PM)
You picked the two top-seeded teams who, in my opinion, face the toughest roads to Denver. Of those two, Miami is perhaps the biggest question mark due to their lack of NCAA tournament history and success, and the fact that they came up short in their biggest games this season. I picked the RedHawks to beat BC in that regional final, but it's not something I'd take to the bank. As for the Wildcats trying to come out of Colorado Springs, I'd be very nervous about CC's home record and about the number of goals Regan has given up recently.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:04 PM)
Lots of questions in the hopper about our picks for Frozen Four teams and predictions. We'll get to those at the end of the chat.
Dustin, Grand Forks
I agree with INCH that Minnesota State-Mankato was deserving of another chance to play. How much of the NCAA's decision to put Wisconsin in the field of 16 influenced by economics?
John T (Eagan)
Does the Committee take into account the regional locations at all when deciding who makes the tournament? I'm wondering if the Wisconsin/Mankato debate was influenced at all by the fact that Wisconsin was hosting a regional.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:06 PM)
The answer is ... none. Wisconsin is in the tournament based on how it compared to the other teams, based on a number of criteria. We don't agree with the criteria that are used, but the college hockey coaches and administrators made their decision a while back, and they've stuck to it. I think it'll be revisited this spring when they meet.
Garret: Bemidji, Mn
Who is going to be the biggest surprise in the tournament? Do you think the Sioux will win it all?
Jess Myers (2:08 PM)
I picked North Dakota to win the Frozen Four just based on their talent and the way the Sioux have played in the second half of the season. Of course, last week I picked the Sioux to win the WCHA tournament for the same reason, and that didn't end well. And in October, I picked the Sioux to win the WCHA regular season based on their talent, so Dave Hakstol isn't making me look like a genius this season. As for the biggest surprise, watch out for Air Force and Notre Dame -- two #4 seeds that could make noise in round one. I especially like the Falcons to give Miami a tough fight. If you know a lot more about Brent Olson and Jeff Hajner (Vegas hockey -- real hockey!) by Sunday, don't be too surprised.
Denver loses it's best forward and is playing great. Minnesota loses a top player and is playing good hockey too. What would happen if UND or Michigan lost their top players (Oshie or Porter)?
Mike Eidelbes (2:10 PM)
Neither team wants to even consider the prospect, but I think Michigan would be in better shape than North Dakota. The Wolverines have such depth up front -- as evidenced by the way they carried on while Chad Kolarik was sidelined -- that they'd be able to get by. The Sioux, on the other hand, don't have a lot of scoring depth at forward. Losing Oshie would leave them with one potent scoring line and not much else in the way of point production.
Lou (boston, ma)
A lot of talk about the West being the region of doom. Outside of UNH, which #1 seed faces the sternest test to reach Denver?
Mike Eidelbes (2:12 PM)
Miami, just because the RedHawks could face the prospect of playing Boston College in an Eagle-friendly environment in Worcester. Also, BC has been scoring lots of goals lately -- four or more in each of the last five games -- while Miami struggled to find the net at last weekend's CCHA Tournament.
Brant - Acworth, GA
How do you like New Hampshire's chances playing on a big sheet?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:14 PM)
Not such a big deal to me, because they play on big ice at the Whitt all season long. The bigger issue is probably going to be playing at altitude.
Chris (Brookline, NH)
Strictly from an attendance standpoint, how do you think the four sites will stack up? I think Worcester will either have the top two-day crowd or second-highest, especially if the fine folks in Minnesota travel with their team to any degree and BC supports the Eagles.
Mike Eidelbes (2:15 PM)
Expect good crowds in Madison -- Wisconsin is playing at home and no fan base in the nation travels like North Dakota. I think the World Arena will be close to a sellout, too, especially with three teams in the region carrying legitimate Frozen Four hopes (CC, MSU, UNH). Worcester will be fine, too, as long as BC is involved, and I would expect a fair share of fans on Minnesota's behalf. Albany might struggle to draw fans; Michigan seems like the clear-cut favorite in that regional and it doesn't look too competitive, at least on paper.
Mike (Buffalo, NY)
Do you think Michigan State could be a sleeper in this tournament?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:17 PM)
Yes. I do. Never count out the defending champs, who have lots of guys who made big plays in the NCAA Tournament last year. It starts in net with Jeff Lerg, but also remember the big goals from Tim Kennedy and Justin Abdelkader in the national championship and in the regionals.
Krentzie (Boston, MA)
Is the fact that BU had several picks in the INCH wish list draft an indication that they underachieved? Does that say a lot about the coaching from Parker?
Mike Eidelbes (2:18 PM)
I don'tt think it's a matter of the Terriers underachieving or an indictment of Parker's coaching. He had a lot of fresh faces to roll into the lineup and it took a while for everyone to get on the same page. Parker said during the year that he had to simplify the team's philosophy in order for his guys to adapt, and late in the season we saw signs of that adjustment taking hold.
Gus, Old Tappan, NJ
Clarkson and St Cloud St seem to be pretty evenly matched. Who do you give the edge to and why?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:21 PM)
It's a toss-up, that's for sure, and probably what we expect in that part of the bracket where the seeds are closely matched. St. Cloud State split a regular-season series at Clarkson earlier this season. The 4-1 win didn't reflect the game, as Clarkson held about a 3-to-1 advantage in shots. St. Cloud's power play is fantastic. Clarkson's has been lousy. If it gets to be a special teams game, advantage Huskies. Clarkson might have an early edge with familiarity with the building in Albany. It's a strange place to play.
What do you think of the Pioneers' chances to make it back to Denver for the Frozen Four. Does Mannino have to stand on his head in order for them to beat NoDak again?
Jess Myers (2:23 PM)
Having watched Denver beat North Dakota last weekend, if that is the regional final (and I believe it will be), I think it will be a great game. I guess I'd say the odds are 60-40 in favor of North Dakota, because I still harbor the out-dated belief that good offense will beat good defense, but if you'd have given George Gwozdecky those odds a month ago, I'd bet he'd have taken them. And yes, Mannino and his ability to shut down and frustrate the North Dakota offense, is the key if the Pioneers want to follow Minnesota ('02), Boston College ('04) and Wisconsin ('06) on the list of teams playing recent "home" Frozen Four games.
If you were to see this tourney field in October/November; which team in the field would have been the biggest suprise?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:25 PM)
Definitely Princeton. They earned the AQ out of ECAC Hockey and finished second in the regular season, but were picked eighth in the preseason polls. People knew that team was getting better, but they fast-tracked themselves to the top of the conference.
Everyone says the committee values bracket integrity, and that geographic location doesn't mean as much. Then why would they send 9 Michigan State out to play 5 CC in their home arena; the best 3 seed and the best 2 seed, when they could've just as easily sent Clarkson out to Colorado Springs and keep an 8vs9 matchup between St. Cloud and Michigan State?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:25 PM)
Probably an attendance issue, with Clarkson and Niagara staying in upstate New York.
How big of a factor will Wisconsin not playing in 2 weeks have in their game against Denver?
Mike Eidelbes (2:27 PM)
Not a huge one. It might make a difference in the first 5 minutes of the first period, but that's about it. The bigger factor for Wisconsin is that the Pioneers have been playing extremely well for two weeks, whereas the Badgers have been struggling over the last 6-7 weeks.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:28 PM)
Many of you asked for our predictions, and those are posted on the College Sports section here at ESPN.com as the INCH staff and ESPN.com experts made their picks. Feel free to check them out there, and disagree at length.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:29 PM)
Enjoy the regionals this weekend and we'll be back next weekend for another chat. At that time we'll know the Hobey Hat Trick finalists, and the four teams headed to Denver for the Frozen Four.