We love March Madness here at The Pipeline Show, but we prefer the colder version rather than the one with guys in shorts dribbling their balls. We prefer the Frozen Four to the Final Four and this year's tournament bracket features some terrific matches. The big 16-team tournament begins tonight!
Here are the bold predictions from the crew here at TPS:
#1 Miami vs #4 Alabama-Huntsville
Some critics don't believe that the Chargers should even be in the tournament because of their .400 winning percentage but we'd argue that they got hot when they had to and won their way into the party. Cameron Talbot is going to have to be unbelievable for UAH to have a shot at the upset but we think Miami has too much firepower to get taken out this early. TPS: Unanimous decision to go with Miami
#2 Bemidji State vs #3 Michigan Wolverines
Like UAH, Michigan got hot at the right time and won the CCHA playoffs to get the auto-bid into the national tournament. The Beavers have been ranked in the top-10 pretty much all season and earned the higher seed. The Wolverines are on a roll but Bemidji State has been consistently good all year, this should be a great game. TPS: Dean & Guy both have Michigan but Taylor takes Bemidji State.
In the Regional Final, we all believe Miami will be there. However, we are split again on who the actual team is that will reach the Frozen Four. Taylor has Miami beating BSU, Guy has Miami over Michigan but Dean believes the Wolverines are destined to play at Ford Field.
#1 Boston College vs #4 Alaska-Fairbanks
The Nanooks barely got into the tournament but have had their moments this year and should not be taken lightly. Boston College has a .697 winning percentage and are unbeaten in their last 9 games as Jerry York has his club playing very well and goaltender John Muse is back to old form. TPS: Both Taylor and Guy believe that B.C. will survive the opening round but Dean thinks that the Alaskans will pull off the stunner and take out the Eagles.
#2 North Dakota vs #3 Yale
A WCHA powerhouse against an ECAC front runner. The Bulldogs were bounced early in their Conference playoffs by lowly Brown but they've had a lot of practice time since then to regroup. North Dakota is playing at the top of its game right now and feel this is their year to get over the hump. TPS: We all take UND in this one and at least guy thinks it could be a 3-4 goal differential.
In the Regional Final we all have North Dakota winning regardless of whether they will face Boston College (Taylor & Guy) or Alaska (Dean).
#1 Denver vs #4 RIT
The Tigers represent the Atlantic Conference this year in place of Air Force who failed to build on their recent successes. The Tigers probably don't stand much of a chance in this one but it's in their home state so they should have much of the crowd on their side. The Pioneers are a force this season and it would be extremely shocking to see them get upset by RIT. TPS: It's unanimous again... Denver.
#2 Cornell vs #3 New Hampshire
The two teams met earlier in the year with The Big Red winning 5-2. The Wildcats are a strong offensive team but Cornell's perfected the defensive system and have a strong netminder in Ben Scrivens. This one could be close. TPS: Surprisingly, we all like Cornell to win this one.
In the Regional Final, We all believe it will be the Pioneers taking on the Big Red but we differ on who will reach the Frozen Four. Taylor thinks Cornell is the upset special this year and will take out Denver but both Dean and Guy think DU will end Cornell's season this weekend.
#1 Wisconsin vs #4 Vermont
The Badgers hold a .692 winning percentage against Vermont's .539 but the Catamounts were in the Frozen Four last year so have the experience on their side. Rob Madore in net gives Vermont a fighting chance every night and he'll have to be at his best to stop the offensive firepower that Wisconsin can ice. TPS: We all take the Badgers in this one.
#2 St. Cloud vs #3 Northern Michigan
Potentially the best game of the opening round, two teams that have the potential to get to the Frozen Four but one of them will be done for the year on Friday night. Mike Lee will start for the Huskies. Coach Walt Kyle's Wildcats are bigger and stronger. It's Mark Olver vs Garrett Roe and Ryan Lasch. Terrific match up. TPS: Dean likes St. Cloud in this one but both Guy and Taylor are taking the mild upset and are going with UNM.
In the Regional Final, it's a unanimous decision for us as all three brackets show that Wisconsin is out choice to come out of the West Region.
Frozen Four Predictions
Dean: Millard's bracket has Michigan taking on North Dakota with the Sioux prevailing over the Wolverines to get to the final. On the other side he has Denver winning the WCHA battle over Wisconsin. In the end, Millards National Champ is... Denver.
Taylor: Medak has Miami and North Dakota meeting and takes the Sioux to eliminate the RedHawks. The upset special for Taylor features Cornell winning the all red/white game against the Badgers. In Taylor's UND vs Cornell final, his National Champ is... North Dakota.
Guy: Flaming thinks Miami will put up a good fight but will eventually fall to North Dakota in the one semi-final. Flaming agrees with Millard in that Denver will prevail against Wisconsin. When it's all said and done, Guy's National Champ is... Denver.
We'd love to get your predictions too so be brave and leave them in the comments section.