It really is true that news is cyclical. Well, at least that’s how I feel. One week after we had everything from Magness-gate to a pact between the WCHA and Bemidji State, we have little in the form of news to report.
I even dug into the NCAA’s Website to see if there was anything exciting in the world of college hockey, and all I found was that a wrestling meet was under scrutiny for not checking the participants for a staph infection prior to the event.
That doesn’t mean it will be a dull weekend for college hockey. There are many interesting games throughout, most notably the always-exciting renewal of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.
Though the Wolverines enter number one in the USCHO.com poll and the better team on paper, for the first time in a long time, Michigan State enters the series as the defending national champion. Though in the ‘what have you done for me lately’ world of college hockey being the defending national champ often means nothing, trust me that the Wolverines, who haven’t donned championship rings since 1998, are relishing the chance to knock off the champs.
The series kicks off in Ann Arbor tonight before traveling up the road to Lansing tomorrow. Both teams own better road records than home, so it will be interesting to see if either team is able to hold serve.
The WCHA Bubble?
Anyone who takes a look at the current USCHO.com PairWise Rankings, which made their official debut last week, might be surprised to see that only three WCHA teams are currently in tournament positions. Colorado College, Denver and North Dakota are 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively, and seem pretty decent locks to head to the national tournament (baring collapses).
But the most interesting are of the PairWise right now is the bubble. Barring conference tournament upsets, the 14th position is the final that receives an NCAA berth. Those teams 15 and lower come season’s end can head for the golf course.
Currently, #15 is St. Cloud State, while WCHA bretheren Wisconsin, Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth all sit tied for 16th.
Thus, a quick flip of the PairWise, which everyone knows is a pretty volitile ranking system, could mean the WCHA gets anywhere from 3 to 7 teams in this year’s tournament. Crazy, yes. Impossible, no.
Upcoming: Beanpot chatter
For those who are in tune with the ever-popular college hockey scene in Boston, you’ll be happy to know that yours truly will have all of the insight from Tuesday’s Beanpot luncheon. Check back next week for the early scuttlebut of the annual Boston classic, which this year boasts a field in which any of the four teams could earn a victory.