INCH 4x4
March 10, 2009

The INCH 4x4 represents how we think the NCAA Tournament field
will look WHEN THE BRACKET IS ANNOUNCED Sunday, March 22

Thought bubble: My 12 the dozen teams I identified two weeks ago as virtual locks for the NCAA Tournament — have made me look pretty smart thus far. Of course, the top eight or so teams are pretty much in place by the time you get this far down the road. So it's not exactly like pulling a Nostradamus here.

The final two at-large bids are the ones that are still up for grabs. I think St. Lawrence can pretty much sew up one of them with a sweep in their ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series against Quinnipiac this weekend. Ohio State, in my opinion, needs two wins at Alaska this weekend and at least one win at the CCHA tournament in Detroit to sock away the other at-large bid. — Mike Eidelbes

BRIDGEPORT East Regional

MANCHESTER Northeast Regional

Last week, I said I had a funny feeling DU would lose twice between now and Selection Sunday. UAA will be a tough out this weekend, but I'm reneging. That funny feeling? A spicy meatball. 1.
Boston University
They've won four titles (Ice Breaker, Denver Cup, Beanpot, and Hockey East regular season) thus far. Still, anything less than a Frozen Four trip will be disappointing.
So the Hockey East title slipped away. And I don't see them winning
the league playoff title, either. But a favorable seed in a very winnable
bracket is a nice bounce, eh?
New Hampshire

Is it just me, or does this team seem primed for a run? By making that statement, I've just doomed UNH to being swept by BC in the first round of the Hockey East tournament.

On the morning of March 22, there will be more teams from ECAC Hockey than the WCHA in the NCAA Tourney. And the earth will not spin off its axis. Now that's a prediction. 3.

The Tigers host Union in what appears to be the toughest ECAC Hockey quarterfinal matchup, but I still think they're the league's best team.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes are the "last team in" according to our model, ahead of Minnesota and Boston College. Yes, I have more faith in OSU than I do in the Gophers or Eagles. Wow.

Bemidji State

The first official bid goes out this weekend to the CHA playoff champion. The Beavers are the favorites. They're also the only team from the State of Hockey in our mockup.

GRAND RAPIDS Midwest Regional


Notre Dame

Erik Condra has seven goals and six assists in Notre Dame's last eight games. That doesn't have anything to do with tournament seeding, but
it's pretty damn impressive.

Michigan could end up in GR, but I'd like to see them face North Dakota in Minneapolis to make up for those times when the Wolverines were a No. 3 seed at Yost and advanced to the Frozen.
Tough opening-round draw for the Catamounts, who face a UMass Lowell team that took three of four points from UVM in a series at the Gut less than three weeks ago. 2.
North Dakota
Duncan Go Nuts: Before being held scoreless in Saturday's meaningless game at Wisconsin, Ryan Duncan had scored 4-7—11 during a season-high, eight-game point streak.


Disclaimer: I like Miami's program. I really do. But the RedHawks seem like a blink-and-you'll-miss-them-in-the-NCAAs team, don't they?


Tough break for the Big Red to be sent to Minneapolis to face the Sioux on Lake Mariucci. Cornell's strengths are better suited to the NHL-sized rinks.

Air Force

Don't think we're slighting RIT by keeping the Falcons as our choice to earn the Atlantic Hockey auto-bid. Truth is, we're just too lazy to change out the logo.

St. Lawrence
SLU surpassed Joe Gladziszewski as the biggest St. Cloud State fans in New York State. No question they'd like to see the Gophers bounced in the first round of the WCHA tourney.
 Last two in: St. Lawrence, Ohio State     First two out: Minnesota, Boston College
Stock rising: New Hampshire    Stock falling: Northeastern
INCH's projected auto-bids: Atlantic Hockey-Air Force; CCHA-Notre Dame; College Hockey America-Bemidji State;
ECAC Hockey-Princeton; Hockey East-Boston University; WCHA-North Dakota