Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey with us. Congratulations to Alabama-Huntsville for winning the College Hockey America tournament last weekend. Five other conference tourneys conclude this weekend, and the NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced Sunday morning.
Now that Vermont has defeated #1 seed UNH in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, what would you put their chances at of beating BC and advancing to the finals?
The INCH staff is highly confused by the Catamounts. They've played some of their best hockey in their biggest games and have a number of high-profile wins. This semifinal against Boston College could be another. However, UVM has also disappeared at times. Also, Boston College brings momentum into this weekend and plays its best in March. I think the Eagles are about an 80 percent / 20 percent favorite over Vermont.
Shouldn't Hackstol be the one suspended for sending his players out to injure MN players in the 2nd period of the MN/ND game on Sunday? This is sport, not war.
Suspending a coach for the actions of his players is a rarity. When coaches have been suspended, at least in the WCHA, it's been as a result of their own actions. Doug Woog's memorable one-game sit-out for the 1996 WCHA Final Five title game comes to mind, which happened after the Wooger taunted officials after an overtime win. As for the North Dakota game on Sunday, that was definitely some ugly hockey, and I know the league is keeping a close eye on the Fighting Sioux, but I don't see any more suspensions as a result.
What are some of the more interesting possibilities regarding conference tournament outcomes for the teams looking for the at-large bid?
I'd say the most interesting possibilities are the ones that favor a fan's favorite team. There are 20 games left to play this weekend and all of them will have some bearing on what happens in regard to the NCAA Tournament field.
How do you see the Final Five going this weekend?
Always a tough call, especially after UMD did what we all thought was impossible last year and won three games in three nights. I guess I like whoever emerges from tomorrow's great battle between St. Cloud State and Wisconsin to win again on Saturday.
What is your take on possibly only one Hockey East teamed making the national tournament?
You get what you get. It hasn't been a great year for Hockey East teams overall and it's showing now that the NCAA Tournament field is coming into focus. BU's slow start didn't help, and inconsistency by the other teams has caused them to rise and fall in all rankings measurements this year. I think Vermont, Maine and BU can play themselves in this weekend. Will be a great tourney to watch in downtown Boston.
what are the chances of Michigan making the ncaa tourny
Unless the Wolverines win the CCHA playoff championship, they won't get in. Even a win against Miami followed by a loss in the title game to either Ferris State or Northern Michigan won't be enough to get them an at-large bid.
Identify yourselves! I want to know who you guys are on the INCH pick 'em (weekly challenge). Next year, for fun, use your actual names and give prizes for beating the editors. Thanks for the podcasts, more deterioration!
Thanks for playing / reading / listening Scott, and good idea. I play Pick Em most weeks under the username Gladdy and INCH founder and editor Nate is nateewell. We'll encourage the rest of the crew to participate more next season.
How 'bout them Catamounts. What are their chances of making the NCAA field at this point? I don't really understand the questions surrounding UVM's Hockey East record. Aren't we supposed to look at the "whole body of work"? If that's the case, I would say Vermont stacks up pretty decent, wouldn't you?
I agree with that. But the whole body of work includes a spotty conference record and we can't ignore that. BC is the team to beat right now, and BU has a lot of winning experience from last season. If the Catamounts win Friday, I think they'd be favored to win on Saturday against either BU or Maine.
If you're Ohio State, having just let long-time skipper Markell go, where do you look for your next coach? What are the most important "qualifications?" Is the arena a problem or an asset to a prospective hire?
OSU is a tricky situation. Markell's problem wasn't getting talent to Columbus, it was coaching 'em up when they got there. And I think the arena is an issue -- sure, it's a beautiful rink, but the hockey team is treated like squatters in their own home. Two possible candidates that make sense -- Cornell assistant Casey Jones, who was a long-time OSU aide, and Dave Smith, an OSU alum who has done a good job at Canisius.
A bit of a follow-up, I wouldn't be surprised to see some other current college head coaches of other programs in the mix for that Ohio State opening.
Who do you like in the Atlantic Tournament? Is RIT the team, or has Air Force righted the ship?
This is going to be a fun tournament to follow. All four teams can score goals and I think all have a chance to win it. RIT is the slight favorite after the regular season they had, but Air Force seems to be the team to beat at this event every year, and rarely have they been beaten.
What did you think of Chay Genoway netting third team All-WCHA honors even though he only played 9 games this season?
Love it. It speaks to the respect that WCHA voters -- coaches, media, captains -- have for Genoway. And if you look at his numbers through nine games, it's evident Genoway was on his way to another All-American-caliber season. Very cool.
What do you think of Michigan's chances of playing their way into the NCAA tournament this weekend by winning the CCHA? I know Miami is a tall order and Ferris St. / Northern is no walk in the park either.
The Wolverines played one of their best overall weekends of the year last week at Michigan State and they are explosive. If they can make it a high-tempo game against Miami, they've got a shot. It would be a tough game in the final if Michigan gets past Miami, but they're very familiar with playing at The Joe and I'd like Michigan's chances.
With Brown's upset of Yale last weekend, does this mean that Yale's only chance to make the NCAA is for Cornell to win the conference tournament?
Yale has a good chance to make the NCAA Tournament, but its fate will be decided by teams playing in all of the conference tournaments, not just the ECAC Hockey event. It would help Yale if Cornell did win the tournament in Albany.
Thanks for stopping by to chat with us this afternoon. INCH will have capsule previews and interviews with key players from all five conference championship weekends tonight and tomorrow. Enjoy the games this weekend!