Unverified Voracity Makes A Big Table For No Reason

Submitted by Brian on February 18th, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Mitera not ready. Mark Mitera has returned to full practices with the team but Berenson says he won't play this weekend against Ohio State:

He’s (been) a partial practice player. Now, we need to get him into the whole mix and see him fall down, get hit and realize he’s fine. He needs confidence so he can be himself. If he can’t be himself, then he’s not going to help the team.

Berenson seemed to think a return against Ferris State was probable, though:

“We’re going to day-to-day, week-to-week with him,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said, mentioning in passing that Mitera would probably be back by the end of the season.

That Daily post also contains a quote downplaying Chris Summers' potential return to forward. Which, like, good, because scratching a fourth-liner instead of Pateryn or Llewellyn doesn't seem worth the uncertainty of moving your best defender to a third-line forward spot.

About this time of year I start seriously breaking down the various possibilities in the PWR rankings that choose and seed the tournament field; this will be coming up later in the week. To whet your math-dork appetite, however, the Hoover Street Rag talks about the various components of the PWR and how very unstable they are. (One clarification: Miami's TUC record is actually 6-4-2, but head to head games are excluded from that category in each individual comparison, leaving Miami at 4-2-2 for the purposes of its Michigan comparison. Michigan has a slim edge that doesn't count until Miami takes on Ohio State in the final week of the regular season.)

The upshot: Michigan's put itself in a good spot but has in no way separated itself from a pack of chasing teams. A season-ending stumble and Michigan will probably find itself a two seed. Also, next weekend you're pulling for Ohio State.

(Trivial side note: Michigan is one of only two teams in the NCAA without a tie. The other is Princeton, an Ivy school that plays a restricted schedule.)

Bad decision delayed. The NCAA's potentially disastrous implementation of a "regionalization" scheme that would see teams funneled into the nearest available regional with little regard to seeding has been delayed at least a year:

The Championships/Sports Management Cabinet is voting this week on whether to make regionalization of brackets something that is mandated across most NCAA sports. If they do, Cady said it wouldn't take hold until next year.

But even then, because of the cooperation the committee received on delaying it until next year, Cady is optimistic that the more drastic regionalization proposals will not be passed, and instead hockey will be allowed its compromise proposal.

"I feel very good they did listen to us," Cady said. "I think we can make significant improvements to cut costs, and still keep the integrity alive with such a small bracket."

The NCAA's "compromise" is to seed the field as they've done before but move teams around based on their geographical location as long as they don't cause first-round intra-conference matchups. How bad is this? It depends heavily on how geographically diverse the seeding bands are. If every 2-seed is in the West it doesn't matter. Here's a look at what that proposal would do to this week's pairwise. Here's a comparison of brackets. The left one is under the current rules; the right one is under the revised ones.

Seed PWR Team Seed PWR Team
1 1 BU 1 1 BU
4 16 Niagara* 4 16 Niagara*
2 8 DU 2 8 DU
3 11 UNH 3 11 UNH
Seed PWR Team Seed PWR Team
1 2 Michigan 1 2 Michigan
4 15 Air Force* 4 15 Air Force*
2 6 Miami 3 6 Miami
3 10 Cornell 3 10 Cornell
Seed PWR Team Seed PWR Team
1 3 Northeastern 1 3 Northeastern
4 14 Minnesota-Duluth 4 14 Minnesota-Duluth
2 7 Yale 2 7 Yale
3 12 North Dakota 3 12 North Dakota
Seed PWR Team Seed PWR Team
1 4 Notre Dame 1 4 Notre Dame
4 13 Minnesota 4 13 Minnesota
2 5 Vermont 2 5 Vermont
3 10 Princeton 3 10 Princeton

*Assumed auto-bids.

Well, that's an anti-climax. As you can see, in this bracket there are no changes. However, this is a hugely restricted bracket since three hosts are in and most of the potential moves butt up against intra-conference matchup problems. For instance, Vermont would normally be swapped into Bridgeport or Manchester under the new rules but can't be sent because UNH is hosting as a three seed in Manchester—intra-conference matchup—and Yale is hosting as a three in Bridgeport. North Dakota can't move to either of the West regionals because that would cause an intra-conference ECAC matchup. Similarly, it works out such that neither of the top two seeds, who have earned the right to face the weak auto-bid teams, gets robbed of that opportunity.

But if Minnesota moves up to a three seed you could easily see Air Force shipped to Minneapolis to play the #4 overall seed. If the hosting restrictions weren't so, uh, restrictive, you could see a lot of swapping going on and a segregation akin to that one tournament they had a few years ago where all the eastern teams played in the East regionals and all the western ones played in the West regionals, which was terrible.

This is an NCAA-wide cost savings mechanism, but the hockey tournament is one of the few that actually makes money, and it should be left alone. If the NCAA is really going to push it they should abolish that idiotic St. Louis regional coming up, which is going to be abandoned, and should really consider awarding the #1 seeds home regionals, which would make more money and provide greater protection to top seeds.

(HT: 60 Minutes.)

I'm just going to pretend his name has an I in it. Michigan's got a few open scholarships they might hand out if the right player gets the right test score, and one of those is SC ATH Larry Raper. We should know about Raper today:

Michigan coaches told Larry Raper that they will have a decision tomorrow. They are deciding whether or not to offer him. He told me, as well as others, that he will commit if offered.

Raper was a Clemson commitment until the Bowden firing, at which point the Tigers decided they didn't want him. He looked unlikely to qualify until his most recent test score, which explains why he's still out there and why his offers are currently Toledo and South Carolina State. Raper quote:

“Some in-state people swung and missed again,'' he said.

The most intriguing current situation for Raper is Michigan, which reportedly still has some scholarships available for next season.

“The thing with Michigan has been going on now for about two weeks,'' Norman said. “We've had conversations as late as last Thursday. To my knowledge, they have not tendered an offer. But they told me they do have scholarship money left.''

Michigan's looking at Raper as a cornerback.

Etc.: SMQB advocates patience. UMHoops explores why Kelvin Grady is on the bench—sucky defense.



February 18th, 2009 at 1:07 PM ^

Hi Brian,

Can you avoid burying football recruiting news (Larry Raper update) in your hockey posts? Sorry, but I just glaze over with the hockey coverage and I'd hate to miss any football/basketball updates amidst puck news.

Truth be told, I'd rather see more pics of the stadium construction than brackets for the hockey tournament.


February 18th, 2009 at 1:16 PM ^

You should try broadening your Michigan interests - I find that I can watch mostly any sport that Michigan is involved in. Volleyball, softball, and (ugh) even baseball suddenly become captivating when M is playing.

(edit) Related note - baseball opens on Friday. I'm hoping there will be at least intermittent coverage as we currently field the best team in the BigTen and in the northern half of the country, I believe - same goes for softball, but coverage for that is more of a longshot.


February 18th, 2009 at 1:22 PM ^

Unverified Voracity can contain all kinds of content. If the topic isn't of interest to you, skim to the next bolded headline. This was not a hockey post.

Also, if you would have looked at the top where it says "filed under" and you saw "Larry Raper" it would be safe to assume that Brian isn't discussing Larry Raper wrt hockey. You could then scroll to the Larry Raper section if you so choose.


February 18th, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

Excellent catch. Thanks, Brian.

If regionalization goes through and ends up as radical as USCHO thinks it would be (Who cares about seeds once you're past the #1's?), it's going to end up turning into one pair of CCHA/WCHA regionals and one of ECACHL/Hockey East + Atlantic Hockey Auto-Bid. And they're still not going to save any money on the western ones, because everyone's going to have to fly anyway.

That St. Louis regional is a joke. The closest college hockey program to is Miami, and Oxford is 344 miles away. The only programs that could drive to it are Miami, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. Everyone else would have to fly, and attendance will be brutal.

I wonder what the financial side of going to home regionals would be. I'll try to take a look at that. Off the top of my head, a Clarkson-hosted regional a few years ago would've been rough financially, but the big programs do tend to be in cities that aren't too tough to get to.

Sgt. Wolverine

February 18th, 2009 at 1:57 PM ^

I don't think I'll ever understand the preference for non-sports content over current sports content. I'm with helloheisman -- if it's Michigan, talk about the sport that's currently happening. (I happen to love hockey, but I'm happy with whatever sport happens to be front and center.)

chitownblue (not verified)

February 18th, 2009 at 3:24 PM ^

Right, but if you're one of the many Michigan fans who didn't attend the school, odds are it's Football that brought you to the table, potentially basketball. If you didn't go to the school, you're probably less aware of Hockey, as it's not on TV, and even less aware of baseball, swimming, or any other sport.

Michigan Arrogance

February 18th, 2009 at 6:25 PM ^

TO: Brian
FROM: Mich. Arro.
RE: your blog

Dear Brian,

Can you avoid burying hockey news in your football recruiting posts? Sorry, but I just glaze over with the recruiting coverage and I'd hate to miss any hockey updates amidst creepy stalker news.


The dick who thinks M is a better school than other schools.


February 18th, 2009 at 11:05 PM ^

So, the NC$$ has decreed that after this year, no hockey regionals will be held at on-campus locations. Apparently, they feel there's no way to have a neutral atmosphere at an on-campus venue. And my question to them is this ... Is it possible to have a neutral atmosphere at a venue that's less than 10 miles from the campus of the host school? (See: Xcel Energy Center, host University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 7.5 miles)

I think the real reason is that the NC$$ is sick of people whining about having to play Michigan at Yost ... however, I'd like to remind the whiners that Michigan has beaten DU and CC in Denver, Michigan has beaten BC in Boston, and Michigan has beaten UNH in New Hampshire.

(I'll also make the point that the X is a VERY nice arena ... however, does the NC$$ really expect a full house for a REGIONAL? If UMn isn't playing, they'll have less than 5,000 butts in the seats of a 20,000 seat arena. Yeah, THAT looks real good on TV.)