Monday, March 30, 2009

Headlines: Headed to WNIT Semis and Frozen Four

Jeff: For those of you who have not been paying attention, the Lady Eagles (23-11) have rolled through three NIT games all against old rivals of Boston College. The Eagles have beaten BU, St. Johns and Georgetown to advance to the WNIT semifinals. A new Big East team, South Florida (25-10) is now headed to Conte Forum on Wednesday as BC's next opponent.

St. Mary's was largely regarded as the first team out in the men's NCAA tournament and they were unable to make the semis in the NIT. It is nice to see the Lady Eagles make a nice run in the WNIT after they may very well have been the first team left out in the women's tournament.

Brian: I agree. The Eagles may have not shot well against Georgetown, but they dominated inside to beat the Hoyas at home. You have to like what women's basketball coach Sylvia Crawley has done with the Eagles program since she replaced Cathy Inglese in 2008.

Two more victories and the Eagles can claim the postseason WNIT title. The Eagles host South Florida on Wednesday, and I hope students will make it out to support the team. If the Eagles can defeat the Bulls, the WNIT championship will be against either Illinois State or the winner of the Kansas at New Mexico game tonight.

Jeff: Unfortunately though Brian, there is no men's basketball or hockey to talk about any more this season so we must turn to the women's team and the baseball team for some Eagle victories this spring.

Brian: Speaking of hockey, the Eagles missed an absolutely crazy opening round of the NCAA Division I men's hockey championship. Fourth seeded CHA champion Bemidji State played the role of giant killers two nights in a row, defeating No. 1 seed Notre Dame 5-1 on Saturday, and taking out No. 3 seeded Cornell in the regional final 4-1. Bemidji State becomes the first non-major conference team to make the Frozen Four.

With BC finally out of the tournament, 4 seed Miami (OH) skated past Denver and topped Minnesota-Duluth for their first Frozen Four appearance in school history. BC had bounced the Red Hawks from the tournament the previous three seasons.

So the Frozen Four field is set this year, with Hockey East teams battling in the first Frozen Four semifinal. (1) Boston University will play (3) Vermont in the first semifinal, and (4) Miami (OH) will play (4) Bemidji State in the second semifinal. This is what drives me nuts about the selection process, having two Hockey East teams playing in the National semifinal and not potentially meeting in the title game. Not to mention BU needing a last second goal to get past fellow Hockey East member New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional final.

There is no question which conference was the best in college hockey this year after this weekend's tournament action. The selection committee should have spread the Hockey East teams out among the four regions.

Take a look at the records for each of the conferences in the tournament so far (and no, the answer to this is not the CHA despite Bemidji State's success so far):
  • CHA 2-0
  • Hockey East 5-2 (with 1 loss coming to another Hockey East team)
  • Atlantic Hockey 1-1
  • CCHA 2-3 (including two 1 seeds - Notre Dame and Michigan - going down in the first round)
  • WCHA 1-3
  • ECAC 1-3
Tough to think about what could have been for the Eagles if they had made the tournament field this year. I'll be cheering for a Catamount-Beaver final in Washington D.C.


Erik said...

Miami Ohio coach is SOOOOO Italian. Providence really needs to snatch him up.

Brian said...

What was the tell? His name? ;)

BCMike said...

You know it's rough times in Eagletown when we're trying to get each other excited about the women's college basketball NIT games.


Brian said...

BCMike - I figure it could have been worse. We could have been a Michigan Wolverine fan over the weekend ...

Not only did they get bounced from the NCAA men's ice hockey tournament in the first round by 4th seeded Air Force (after putting together the resume of a top 4 team all season), but their hated rival Michigan State won the Midwest Regional final to send them to the Final Four in hoops. And oh, by the way, this year's Final Four is at Ford Field in Detroit, a 44 minute drive from Ann Arbor. Ouch.