It has to be odd for Minnesota fans to watch Minnesota State earn the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. MSU-M was never a rival for the Gophers and many are probably used to thinking of the Mankato as being a doormat. That's certainly not the case this year (or for the last several years for that matter). Personally, I like it when teams that have struggled historically rise up (unless they are playing my team of course). So while I have a different team in mind when I think about who advances to the Frozen Four for the Midwest, I'm still glad to see Minnesota State where they are.
#1 Minnesota State
Where from: Mankato, Minnesota
Record: 29-7-3 overall (21-4-3 WCHA), WCHA Regular Season Champions
How they got into the tournament: WCHA Automatic Bid
Head Coach: Mike Hastings
Why they'll advance to the Frozen Four: Have you seen their bracket? They should be ashamed if they don't. Also, they're kind of good.
Why they'll be knocked out in the first round: RIT meet Holy Cross...Crusaders, meet the Tigers. What? No one sa Holy Cross coming either...
Where from: Omaha, Nebraska
Record: 18-12-6 overall, (12-8-4 NCHC)
How they got into the tournament: At Large Bid
Head Coach: Dean Blais
Why they'll advance to the Frozen Four: Because the Dean Blais sieve pull with 7 minutes left has to pay off extra big for Omaha in back to back games at some point, right?
Why they'll be knocked out in the first round: Because Omaha is extremely over-rated and it's hard to win giving up empty net goals with 3 minutes to play.
Where from: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Record: 21-12-3 (11-8-3 ECAC)
How they got into the tournament: ECAC Autobid
Head Coach: Ted Donato
Why they'll advance to the Frozen Four: Jimmy Vesey is damn good, and the Frozen Four needs a good upset pick every once in a while.
Why they'll be knocked out in the first round: I think we already talked about the Dean Blais goalie magic, but yea, Dean Blais goalie magic.
Where from: Rochester, New York
Record: 19-14-5 (14-9-5 AHA)
How they got into the tournament: Atlantic Hockey Autobid
Head Coach: Wayne Wilson
Why they'll advance to the Frozen Four: Um. Hmmmm. Maybe food poisoning affects the rest of the teams in South Bend?
Why they'll be knocked out in the first round: Because they are the worst team in the tournament.
Minnesota State vs. RIT (Saturday, 4pm ET, ESPNU): Minnesota State rolls to an easy 4-1 victory.
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Harvard (Saturday, 7:30pm ET, ESPN3): Harvard overcomes the goalie voodoo and wins 3-2.
Minnesota State vs. Harvard: Smart kids play smart and upset the top ranked team in the tournament. Or they win thanks to their powerful offense. The latter will probably have more to do with it.
Who Heads To Boston?
Harvard beats Minnesota State, 4-3.