Thursday, October 16, 2008

WCHA Fighting Tourney Change

WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod has been the subject of some criticism, even on this website, but he does deserve credit for roundly rejecting the NCAA's proposed change to the NCAA tournament.

Granted, this was kind of a no-brainer. But McLeod does score points for bringing up what I think is the best solution:
McLeod opined that based on what’s happened in other sports, the neutral site regional concept might be on its way to extinction in favor of a return to campus sites. He noted that in NCAA women’s basketball, they’ve gone back to a campus site arrangement after trying the regional system for several years. The NCAA hockey tournament was last played on campus sites in 1991.
Ask anyone what the best thing about college hockey is and 9 times out of 10 you'll hear that the atmosphere at games is incredible. You don't get that at placid regional sites that price out students and many hardcore fans.

The money is probably right too. If each of the 8 higher-seeded teams hosted their first-round match-up, the numbers would likely at least equal out to having four teams play in a large building far away, and cuts travel costs in half by eliminating it for one team. It also removes the issue of a lower seeded team having a home ice advantage.

Personally, I'd like to see each series made a best-two-out-of-three series as well. The NCAA tournament has become about as random as a coin flip in recent years, and extending the length of the series would help let the best teams advance through the tournament. The season would have to be a little longer to allow only one round per weekend, but the current length of the season is an arbitrary boundary, not a fixed one.


Anonymous said...

Chris, I couldn't agree more with your contention that the tournament has become a coin toss - definitely need a 3 game series.

Anonymous said...

Just put the regionals in hockey cities with the ability to draw well. That will solve all the attendance and atmosphere issues. The regionalization concept is what they should be thinking, not the "home ice" concept. Put regionals at the X with at least 2 WCHA teams...put regionals in Michigan with at least 2 Michigan teams...put regioanls in Boston with BC/BU, etc...
How great would it be to see Gophs/Badgers in the NCAA tourney game at the X, or at the Kohl Center? WOW!

dggoddard said...

Lets not forget about the most important component here, the fans.

They are expected to fly to any one of four random cities on short notice at high airfare rates.

Let the season ticket holders who shelled out thousands of bucks catch an NCAA playoff game.

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with a 3 game series. Part of what makes tournament time so fun for the fans is the upsets and cinderella stories...By going 2 out of 3, you take away Notre Dame last year, Holy Cross, etc. If you're a top seeded team, you're expected to perform when given the opportunity. If you can't get it done on that given night, you don't deserve to go on. Top seeds have already been given an advantage playing close to home, it's up to them to show up.

Look at the NCAA tournament. What makes that the best tournament in all of sports is the upset factor.

Donald Dunlop said...

In 1991 UAA swept a best of three series with Boston College. So you don't lose the Holy Cross moments. The home ice and series factor even makes those moments bigger.

The only thing wrong with 2 out of 3 was that it went to single elimination in the Frozen Four.

Isn't the big push by all the tinkerers of the game to make the NCAA look like the NHL (penalty calls and shootouts). Bring back the home ice series!

Anonymous said...

Going back to on-campus sites is fine, but there has to be a minimum capacity set for post-season.

A couple years ago, Ewigleben would have hosted two rounds. Could you imagine a network trying to broadcast a game from that dump? A giant wall as a backdrop. What an embarrassment to college hockey.

Staying on the topic of TV, campus sites would surely limit the number of games we could get on TV. I don't see the NCAA or ESPNU carrying eight telecasts from eight separate locations. Add a three-game series and we'd be lucky to see a third of the weekend's action.

And absolutely no three-game series unless you move the semifinals and final to three games.