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March 22, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-22

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 7A

T re SEMI REGIONAL FINMch REGIONAL FINAL REGIONAL SEMI-icgadlyThrdyMrh

1, Boston College
s 1. Boston College 1. North Dakota
4. Air Force 1. Boston College = ____
NORFWEAST WEST
3. Maine Worcester, Mas. 1. North Dakota St Paw. Minn.
2. Minn.-Duluth 2. Minnesota
2. Minn.-Duluth
2. Miami (OH)
2. Miami (OH) 3. Denver
3. Mass.-Lowell 2 Miami (OH) F

1. North Dakota
4. W. Michigan
3. Boston U.
2. Minnesota
2. Ferris State
3._Denver
4. Cornell
1. Michigan

Big Ten preview: Can Blue
bounce back from rough start?

EAST
4. Michigan State Snligepot, Conn.
-- 1. Union

MIoWEST
1. Michigan GreenSay. Win.
1. Michigan_

1. North Dakota 1. Michigan
The Daily hockey beat projects the outcome of the NCAA Tournament.
Hockey bracketology

ByEVERETT COOK
Daily SportsEditor
As the NCAA Tournament
approaches, The Michigan Daily
hockey beat sat down and ham-
mered out the winners and los-
ers, seeing it out to the very end
in Tampa Bay, Fla. There were
some upsets, some favorites and
even some shouting matches. No
matter what we think, it's going
to be a crazy postseason.
NORTHEAST
First Round
(1) Boston College (29-10-1)
vs. (4) Air Force (21-10-7): Air
Force has played Boston College
five times in program history
and has lost all five times. Don't
expect anything different this
time around - the Eagles are the
No. 1 overall seed and have won
15 straight games.
Pick: Boston College
(2) Minnesota-Duluth (24-9-
6) vs. (3) Maine (23-13-3): The
No.1 point-scorer in the country,
Maine's Spencer Abbott, goes
against the No. 2 point-scorer in
the country, Minnesota-Duluth's
Jack Connolly, and both teams
have three players each in the
top 20. Having six of the top 20
point-scorers in the nation play-
ing in one game certainly makes
things interesting, but the Bull-
dogsrhave the experience from
last year's title run.
Pick: Minnesota-Duluth
Second Round
Boston College vs. Minnesota-
Duluth: The Eagles will have the
toughest second-round matchup
of the tournament if they have to
play Minnesota-Duluth, but they
should still be favored. Goalten-
der Parker Milner and his 1.82
goals-against average are having
a very good year, which could be
the difference here.
Pick: Boston College
WEST
First Round
(1) North Dakota (25-12-3) vs.
(4) Western Michigan (21-13-
6): Western Michigan went into
the CCHA Tournament on the
bubble of the NCAA Tourna-
ment, needing to string together
some big wins to earn a spot.
The Broncos ended up winning
the whole thing, and have a full
head of steam headed into the
Tournament. They have a fresh-
man goalie, Frank Slubowski
with a cool nickname, The Big
Slubowski (if you don't get the
reference then you don't know
good cinema), and he has been
on an absolute tear. If there was
a No. 4 seed to upset a No. 1 seed,
it's this game. If Western had
drawn say Union or Michigan,
they would have had more of a
shot, but North Dakota is a hor-
rible matchup for the Broncos.
Pick: North Dakota
(2) Minnesota (26-13-1) vs.
(3) Boston University (23-14-1):
Minnesota has a fairly deceiv-
ing record - of its 13 losses, nine
have been by one goal. The Gold-
en Gophers are basically playing
a home game at the Xcel Energy
Center in Saint Paul. The Terri-
ers have been inconsistent and
have lost three of their past five
games.
Pick: Minnesota
Second Round
North Dakota vs. Minneso-

ta: Without the home-ice, this
matchup wouldn't be as close.
North Dakota doesn't have great
goaltending, but is balanced
offensively and has a ton of expe-
rience.
Pick: North Dakota
EAST
First Round
(1) Union (24-7-7) vs. (4)
Michigan State (19-15-4): The
Spartans were dangerously close
to not making the Tournament

after I1
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osing to Miami (Ohio) in No. 3 seed matchups in the tour-
arterfinals of the CCHA nament.
ment, losing both games Pick: Denver
combined score of 10-1. Second Round
rest could help, but not Michigan vs. Denver: Michi-
uch. gan coach Red Berenson
Union switched up the lines this week
Miami (24-14-2) vs. (3) in practice, switching junior for-
Lowell (23-12-1): Before ward Chris Brown onto a line
lost to Western Michigan with junior Kevin Lynch and
semifinal of the CCHA sophomore Luke Moffatt. Who
ment, they were one of the knows if that line could stick
teams in the conference. throughout the playoffs, but that
ss to the Broncos was the is a big, hard-hitting line that
wks' only loss in their last could wreck some teams down
es. the road.
Miami Pick: Michigan
:nd Round FROZEN FOUR
n vs. Miami: Union has Semifinals
the best goaltenders in the Boston College vs. North
y in Troy Grosenick and Dakota: Boston College, on
red by many to do some paper, is the best team in the
e in the Frozen Four. But country. But hockey is a game
where odd bounces decide games
and seasons - and the tourna-
Two teams ment gods favor the underdog.
Pick: North Dakota
it can't stand Michigan vs. Miami (Ohio):
How great would this matchup
ach other." be? Two teams that can't stand
each other, being coached by two
coaches who can't stand each
other, a CCHA throwback down
plays in one of the best in Tampa. A boy can only dream.
ences in the country, and Pick: Michigan
perience of playing good National Championship
night in and night out is North Dakota vs. Michigan:
to help the RedHawks. I Hunwick watched the clip of last
year's national championship
Miami game, the clip where Minnesota-
WEST Duluth forward Kyle Schmidt
Round beat him in overtime, over and
Michigan (24-12-4) vs. (4) over again in the offseason. You
1 (18-8-7): The goaltender can bet he hasn't forgotten that
'nell, Andy Iles, is 5-foot- moment, but last weekend was
a couple inches taller than concerning for the Wolverines.
an goaltender Shawn Hunwick has always given up a
ck. After practicing lot of rebounds, but the Michi-
the smaller Hunwick all gan defense is prepared and
aying against Iles is going expects what's coming. In the
freshing. CCHA final, Hunwick gave up
: Michigan three goals, all of which were off
Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. of rebounds. The defense didn't
ver (25-13-4): Ferris State clear the pucks they usually do
he CCHA regular-season - and even then, Western Michi-
for just the second time gan didn't capitalize on every
ut the Bulldogs fizzled chance they had. North Dakota
he stretch, losing three of will.
:st four games. This could National Champion Pick:
nf thp hPat No-d v,;.+*Noth akoa

By GREG GARNO If we want to be a Big Ten cham-
Daily Sports Writer pion, we have to compete."
Look to senior center field-
The No. 20 Michigan softball er Bree Evans and senior first
team enters the Big Ten season baseman Amanda Chidester to
having dropped two of their carry the team, and for fresh-
past three games, losing to No. man pitcher Haylie Wagner to
7 Oklahoma and No. 5 Arizona command the mound this sea-
State. son. When the Wolverines have
The Wolverines (18-9 overall) momentum going, they will be
are a favorite to repeat as cham- difficult to stop.
pions this year, being the only CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR
Big Ten team ranked within the Nebraska Cornhuskers (16-12
top 25. Though they are second in overall)
the conference standings behind Despite Nebraska's fifth-place
Minnesota, the Wolverines lost standing in the Big Ten, it has
just two conference games last also faced a strong schedule this
year and returns with a great season and will look to return to
deal of talent. the College World Series for the
The softball beat previews the first time since 2002.
Big Ten, highlighting each team The Cornhuskers are led by
in the conference. their offense, which has seven
THE TOP DOG players with a batting average
No. 20 Michigan Wolverines above .300. Nebraska can get on
(18-9 overall) base and is tough to stop when
Michigan has the 11th-tough- they get going.
est RPI in the nation this season Player to watch: Senior pitcher
and enters Big Ten play with a Ashley Hagemann.
.500 record against ranked oppo- Hagemann has a 2.51 ERA this
nents. Though their record isn't season and has owned the strike
as strong as in previous years, the zone, throwing 164 strikeouts.
Wolverines have the experience Last season, Hagemann was
to carry them through the less named to the Big 12 conference
treacherous Big Ten season. first team, which featured five
"Our expectations for the All-American pitchers.
year never change," said Michi- Though the Cornhuskers don't
gan coach Carol Hutchins at the face the Wolverines, they will
beginning of the season. "Our come closest to Michigan in the
goal this season is to be the Big standings this season.
Ten champion and contend for If Nebraska can find another
a College World Series. It has arm to compliment Hagemann,
nothing to do with last year's the offense will put the Corn-
accolades, last year's champion- huskers in contention for a title in
ship. their first season in the Big Ten.
"We play a very competitive Minnesota Golden Gophers
preseason schedule so that we (18-7 overall)
are ready to compete with any- Minnesota has capitalized
body. The key word is compete. on weaker opponents this sea-

son and has jumped out to a 18-7
record so far.
The Golden Gophers use time-
ly hitting to support their star
hurler, but have not won a game
against any ranked opponents.
Player to watch: Sophomore
pitcher Sara Moulton.
Moulton, the reigning Big Ten
Freshman of the Year, has had a
scorching start, holding a 0.65
ERA. She looks to build upon a
season in which she had the most
wins in a season for Minnesota
and struck out 330 batters, which
ranked her 14th nationally.
Like last year, the key for Min-
nesota will be how much the
offense can score runs to back up
Moulton.
Though offensive produc-
tion has improved, the rest of
the Golden Gophers' pitching
staff will not be potent enough to
carry the team to the title.
Ohio State Buckeyes (14-10
overall)
Though the Buckeyes sit near
the top of the Big Ten, they do
not have the depth in pitching or
hitting to keep up with the more
talented Wolverines.
The Buckeyes rely on their
stars to carry them, such as
pitcher Mikayla Endicott, who
carries a 1.85 ERA. The rest of
the Buckeye pitching staff has
given up 43 earned runs.
Player to watch: Senior short-
stop Alicia Herron.
Herron, a first-team All-Big
Ten selection, is the Big Ten lead-
er in home runs and RBIs and has
a batting average of .422.
If Ohio State's pitching staff
can go late into games, the
offense will be able to carrythem
toward the top of the Big Ten.

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