Greetings to all from the newest member of Midnight Maize. I am the first person to formerly join this blog in what will hopefully prove to be the post-curse era that began with Michigan getting through the CCHA tournament and earning a highly improbable berth to the NCAA tournament. I will be providing commentary on Michigan sports and sports in general on topics that nobody else here covers. We'll see where that takes me.
The NCAA Hockey Tournament is a sixteen team single-elimination tournament. It is also perhaps the worst system of determining a champion in the country. It's ability to crown the most deserving or best team in the country is questionable and it isn't really that entertaining either. Also, the method by which it selects teams for the postseason is simply awful in every respect. To be fair, however, the system isn't entirely bad, so I'll start off with the positive aspects of the tournament.
Now onto the tournament's many negatives. First of all, the first two rounds of the tournament are incredibly mismanaged and unfair. The first two rounds (the regional games) often lack television coverage and fail to sell out. Now, the television problem is difficult to solve, although the games are now broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN360. However, the attendance problem is. The NCAA has done several things to improve attendance at regional games. First of all, any team that hosts a regional and makes the tournament gets to play in their home regional. This system has greatly benefitted lower seeded host teams (including Michigan*, to be fair), by giving them de-facto home games against clearly superior teams, making upsets much more likely. Second of all, the NCAA will reseed teams in an attempt to boost attendance at games (this year, they put Michigan, the overall 12 seed up against Bemidji State, the overall 8 seed, in Fort Wayne so that the attendance there would be higher). The thing is, attendance is still often a problem, with the regionals that do not include home (or nearby) teams often failing to even come close to selling out. So basically, the NCAA Hockey Regionals are often a poor draw attendance-wise, despite sacrificing fairness in an attempt to boost attendance. What I fail to understand is why the NCAA just doesn't give the higher seeded team a home game, because that way the higher seed gets the advantage automatically and attendance would become a non-issue.