So the committee decided to keep Michigan and CC in the West, rather than ship BC out and thus the Wolverines will be playing in Grand Forks, in a region that they really don't stand much chance of coming out of.
Sweet revenge for North Dakota fans for 1998, as the Wolverines will now be taking on NoDak in their own barn. One fan on USCHO said that this doesn't make it even, since Michigan isn't coming in as a big favorite. To that I say that they're still probably going to get a higher-ranked Minnesota team in their own arena, so stop yer bitching.
The people that complain that Michigan gets to host all the time just crack me up. As if MSU, Wisconsin, Minnesota, CC, and now NoDak haven't gotten to host. Just because Michigan has managed to take advantage of it all three times they've hosted doesn't mean that they should be singled out as having an advantage, when so many other hockey powers have had the same opportunity. Plus there's that little thing about how Michigan bid for 2 regionals, hoping to get one a few years back. Nobody else bid, so the Wolverines got to host both times. Sorry bout your friggin luck Denver and CC. Put in a bid next time.
To the game itself, NoDak comes in having won the WCHA Tournament. The guy on ESPN2's selection show picked them to win the whole tournament, and I believe he stated that Parise is the best goalie in the tournament. Elliott, Schneider and the Miami goalies might have something to say about that, but there's little doubt that UND has a huge advantage over Michigan in goal.
Apart from in net, we'll have to see. UND has a ton of talented youngsters, just like Michigan. Michigan probably has the edge in upper-classmen leadership with Ebbett and Kal, especially if Drew Stafford isn't back in the lineup.
On the bright side for the Wolverines, North Dakota hasn't been overwhelmingly good at home this year, posting a 13-9-0 record. That includes 5 straight losses at home earlier in the season. Then again, the Wolverines haven't exactly ripped shit up on the road this year....
If Michigan is fortunate enough to beat the Sioux, they'll more than likely run into nemesis Minnesota, who has--as Brian would call it--a functional bye (though CC thought they had a functional bye against Wayne State a couple years ago, and Michigan probably thought the same about Mercyhurst). If Minnesota isn't in this edition of the Wolverines' heads yet, they're definitely in mine. I'm pretty much convinced that we're never going to win a big game against that team again, just to piss me off. Though Minnesota seems like they're having as bad of issues with their goaltending as we are (they gave up 12 in 2 games last weekend) so maybe we'd actually stand a chance. Actually, it'd be fitting for this year to have Minnesota strike the deciding blow into our hearts. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun if we weren't getting pwn3d by various Big Ten teams in all 3 sports.
I will not be making the 16 hour trek to Grand Forks. That Friday/Saturday thing is just killing me. All in all though, it'd be pretty tough to make a 1000 mile drive when there's probably a 90% chance that I'd be coming home disappointed.