New Proposed Tournament Format

Brad Schlossman at the Grand Forks Herald reported yesterday that one of the topics at the annual coaches meeting was tweaking the NCAA tournament format to something that wasn't akin to rolling dice and the idea that gained the most traction was playing best two-out-of-three in the first round at home sites.

You don't have to search too hard through the archives to find me complaining about the current format and calling to let high seeds host. The current format is random to the point that the results are almost completely meaningless. So this is certainly a step in the right direction.

That said, the idea of these "Super Regionals" seems fraught with fail. If the tournament is already being expanded to three weekends anyway, why not play a best-of-three home series in the quarterfinal round as well? What exactly is super about a regional that is only going to have two games? And why would anyone choose to travel--and in some cases, inevitably, fly--to see their team play only one game in a weekend, especially when there's likely a 50/50 chance they'll be playing in the Frozen Four anyway.

It's clear the NCAA isn't looking to draw in the casual local fan of hockey to these events with the exorbitant prices they charge. The only people they're likely to draw are people that are hardcore fans of the teams playing, so why not make it easier for those fans to get to the game?

Finally, I'll be interested to see where this extra week of the season comes from. Every time I've talked about lengthening playoff formats, I've admitted that college hockey already has the longest NCAA season, and odds any changes would be to shorten it. Perhaps the easiest possibility would be eliminating the extra week between the regionals and the Frozen Four. All the coaches at this year's Frozen Four loved the extra week. But maybe with teams only playing one game the weekend prior, and the possibility for everyone to be done by Saturday, it'd be a little easier to work logistically. Hopefully it doesn't mean the regular season loses a weekend of games.

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