Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tanner, Gold and Green...Tanner, Gold and GREEN!

For Anyone Who Cares: the aforementioned interview went well...thanks again to Tanner for "getting involved" and making it happen!

For Anyone Who Cares II: The title of this post is a play on "Karma Chameleon." Feel free to insult my taste in music.

Speaking of Tanner, he had his first NHL assist last night in the Panthers' 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs...good to see him still playing for the Panthers despite their trade deadline acquisitions. He also survived the first post-deadline round of AHL demotions - Rob Globke is headed up/down to Rochester - which is a good sign. Of course, with my luck, he'll get sent down after the game against the Isles on Sunday, which I plan on attending if he's playing.

I know that sounds good, in that I'd get to see Tanner play, but his first stint with the Panthers ended after I first dared him to fight Sean Avery, and his second ended after I went to see him in New Jersey on Jan. 2. He survived the game in Boston where the above photo was taken, despite the fact that he got burned by Glen Murray in that game, but if he gets sent down after I see his game against the Isles, then I may never go to see him again. Would it be my fault? Of course not, but we all know hockey players and their superstitions, right?

Actually, Dartmouth lost the first five men's hockey games I covered of theirs for CSTV.com, including the stunning 2-1 loss to Quinnipiac in October 2004, which saw the Big Green outshoot the Bobcats something like 44-13 (actually, it was 43-11, I just looked it up). Former Valley News beat writer Greg Fennel nearly convinced me that it was my fault, but then I was in Hanover when Bob Norton helped call a 5-1 win over Harvard in December 2005 (Billy Jaffe's flight was delayed, so Bob was called in on short notice). Once it became clear that Dartmouth was going to win, I wrote down "IT IS NO LONGER MY FAULT" on a sheet of paper, and shoved it in Greg's face about a second after the buzzer.

In other Ivy League news, I finished writing my feature on Princeton today. It's significantly longer than the 1,000 words I was asked for, but you don't get involved in this business if you don't have some affection for the sound of your own voice (in the literary sense), anyhow. I will say this. You know that line attributed to Chris Rock that goes on about all the ways in which the world has gone crazy? You know, "The best golfer is black, the best rapper is white, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss have the Americas Cup, etc.?" Let's add "Princeton is the Ivy League hockey champion and Cornell is going to be the Ivy League basketball champion" to the list.

Finally, a thought on the subject of the NCAA tournament. One of the suggestions I made at CSTV.com that was not taken was to show what the NCAA tournament would look like if KRACH was used instead of the Pairwise (I'm stunned that noted champion of KRACH Adam Wodon has never thought of this).

Well, I don't work for them anymore, and I can do whatever I damn well please here.

So, let's compare a KRACH-based bracket, using all the other rules employed by the NCAA, to the bracket from this week's Bracketology column by Jason Moy at USCHO.

PAIRWISE BRACKET

Albany
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Army
No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 9 Minnesota State

Madison
No. 4 North Dakota vs. No. 13 Wisconsin
No. 5 Miami vs. No. 12 Minnesota Duluth

Colorado Springs
No. 3 Colorado College vs. No. 14 Notre Dame
No. 6 Denver vs. No. 11 Clarkson

Worcester
No. 2 New Hampshire vs. No. 15 Bemidji State
No. 7. Michigan State vs. No. 10 St. Cloud State

KRACH Bracket

Albany
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Army
No. 8 St. Cloud State vs. No. 10 Minnesota State

Worcester
No. 4 Miami vs. No. 13 Minnesota Duluth
No. 5 New Hampshire vs. No. 12 Notre Dame

Colorado Springs
No. 3 Colorado College vs. No. 14 Minnesota
No. 6 Denver vs. No. 11 Boston College

Madison
No. 2 North Dakota vs. No. 15 Bemidji State
No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 9 Wisconsin

The quick impressions from me:

- I love how the supposedly more fair KRACH system rates Miami higher than the PairWise does, given all the flak they've taken from certain WCHA folks.

- It's also kind of funny how New Hampshire goes from second to fifth when you switch to KRACH, but still winds up it Worcester when you bracket the tournament. It's also kind of cool that Denver and CC both wind up in the Springs under either system. I'd love that to be a regional final.

- Of course, no matter how you slice it, eight WCHA teams wind up in the tournament going by the current records. This is, of course, likely to change, especially once they start beating up on each other in the WCHA playoffs. However, I finally identified my discomfort with the concept of Minnesota making the NCAA tournament this season, which also applies to Minnesota Duluth.

The Gophers are currently 7-11-6 in WCHA play, and the Bulldogs are 8-11-5. Given that they play on the last weekend of the regular season, at least one of those teams will wind up with a sub-.500 conference record.

Some time ago, my former colleague Eric Mirlis - who edited a fantastic book called
Being There: 100 Sports Pros Talk About the Best Sporting Events They Ever Witnessed Firsthand
- wrote a column for CSTV.com on the subject of the NCAA basketball tournament, and suggested a rule that no team with a conference record below .500 should be allowed to receive an at-large bid.

I thought it was a great idea for the 65-team basketball tournament. It's an even better idea for the 16-team hockey tournament.

Look, I know the WCHA is great. Yes, it is the best conference, top to bottom in the entire country. I don't doubt that. Alaska-Anchorage is the best last-place team you'll find in the country, and while CC may not be the best firs-place team - remember, Hockey East leader UNH swept them - they're close enough. There's no denying the strength of the conference.

However, if you finish under .500 in your conference, you don't deserve to play in the NCAA tournament...unless, of course, you can win the conference tournament (love that 2006-07 Alabama-Huntsville team).

Leaving aside the question of Minnesota Duluth - which improbably lost its two best players over the summer and got better this season - Minnesota has underachieved this season, and underachievement should not be rewarded with an NCAA tournament berth.

There. Rant over.

3 comments:

Douglas said...

Miami in Madison vs. the Wisconsin/NoDak winner or Miami in Worcester vs. Minnesota-Duluth and UNH...
hmmmmm......
I'll take the KRACH for $300, Alex.

Mark said...

You didn't so much identify your discomfort, as much as find what you think of as a way justify the bias you hold.

Joe Grav said...

mark is an idiot