Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Some interesting news is brewing in the NCAA Tournament offices today as a potential reconfiguring of placement could take place for this next tournament. The reasoning? Travel expenses. The argument is that teams should be placed in geographic proximity instead of for bracket integrity. One scenario INCH published found that the West Regional last season would have had CC, DU, AFA and NoDak at World Arena instead of UNH, Notre Dame and Michigan State. It might make travel sense but it isolates fan bases and could be a disaster for ratings and provide even more conference canniblization. INCH has the full rundown.

The WCHA quickly issued a response and will meet about a counter-plan tonight.
“At first blush, it doesn’t sound good for our sport,” said Denver coach George Gwozdecky. “If the WCHA has six teams in the tournament and only two emerge from the west, you might not have the best four teams in the nation at the Frozen Four.”
The article also mentions a possibility that the tournament could move back to campus sites instead of regionals for the first rounds. I actually like that idea, and the more I think about it, the more I REALLY like that idea. It gives you an even greater incentive to play well in the regular season so you can continue on "true" home ice (not like CC last season when the World Arena was transformed into one giant NCAA advertisment and hardly felt like home). It would be similar to the NFL playoffs. The article also mentions a good point: with the regionals, the already niche fan-base is fractured even more and empty, quiet arenas ensue. Not good for the sport. You can read the full WCHA response in the INCH WCHA Notebook.