Thursday, March 12, 2009

The "Michigan Always Hosts" Myth

Let's have some fun. In ESPN's INCH chat today, the following question appeared:
Billy (Watertown, CT): Let's get the griping over. The Gophers are bubble team, and even if they play themselves in, a likely #4 seed. Is it really fair to a #1 seed to have to play that first game under those hostile conditions -- I guess only if it's Michigan -- payback for all those Yost hosts.

Mike Eidelbes: Is it fair? Theoretically, no. It would be an advantage for Minnesota to play a team like, say, Cornell on the big sheet at Mariucci. But the Gophers are a probable 4 seed (if they get in), and any of the 1 seeds would likely be able to handle them regardless of site.
Michigan is clearly the only team that hosts. Let's take a look at where the games have been played, going back to 1996. (I picked 1996 because clearly I had to count 98 since that's the main one that people complain about when they talk about Michigan hosting, and at that point, I couldn't leave out Morrison's National Title.)

I'm not going to claim this is 100% perfect, since I didn't have hosts for a lot of these years and didn't have venues for some.

2008: Colorado College hosted (lost to MSU in the first round). Wisconsin hosted (beat DU, lost to NoDak).
2007: Denver hosted (not at their home rink, and missed the tournament). New Hampshire hosted (not at their home rink, and lost in the first round).
2006: North Dakota hosted (made the Frozen Four). BU hosted in Worcester (not their home rink, lost in the second round). Wisconsin hosted the Frozen Four and won it (but that was in Milwaukee, so it doesn't really count...we're talking 70 miles away).
2005: Minnesota hosted (made the Frozen Four). UMass hosted (missed the tournament). Ohio State hosted the Frozen Four (lost in the first round). BU hosted in Worcester (not their home rink, lost in the first round).
2004: UNH hosted (not their home rink, but they host games there...kind of like if Michigan hosted at Joe Louis, lost to Michigan in the first round). CC hosted (missed the tournament).
2003: Michigan hosted (made the Frozen Four), Minnesota hosted (made the Frozen Four), no host was named on Wikipedia, but a regional was in Providence at an arena the Friar's bball team plays in, so I'm gonna go ahead and say Providence hosted though not at their home rink (missed the tourney). And BU was at Worcester again (and lost in the second round).
2002: Michigan hosted (made the Frozen Four), BU was in Worcester again (lost in the second round). The Frozen Four was in St. Paul and the Gophers won it, though not on their home sheet.
2001: BC was in Worcester, though I don't know if they were hosting. BU missed the tournament. BC made the Frozen Four.
2000: Minnesota hosted at Mariucci (missed the tournament).
1999: Wisconsin hosted at the Alliant Energy Center (not their home rink, but the rink they had played in until that season), but missed the tournament. There was a regional in Worcester, but BU missed the tournament and BC was shipped to Madison.
1998: Michigan hosted and made the Frozen Four. The Frozen Four was in Boston (not BC's home rink), and they lost to Michigan.
1997: BU is in Worcester again (makes the Frozen Four).
1996: MSU hosted at Munn (lost in the first round).

So if you're counting, since 1996, seven schools have hosted at their home rink a combined 13 times.

Colorado College twice--Missed the tournament once, lost in the first round
Michigan three times--Three Frozen Fours
Minnesota three times (soon to be four)--2 Frozen Fours and a missed tournament. Also hosted a Frozen Four at XCel and won it. They'll be hosting a regional at XCel next year.
Wisconsin twice (I'm counting the year they hosted at Alliant since they played there for a long time and it's like 3 miles from campus)--Missed the tournament and lost in the second round. They also hosted a Frozen Four in Milwaukee and won it all.
North Dakota once--Frozen Four
UMass once--Missed the tournament
FYS once--Lost in the first round

Then, schools that didn't host at their home rink, but were either close to it or play home games in that venue at some point. For the Boston schools, I know BU hosted a couple times, but I'm not sure who was technically the "host" for all the times Worcester has had the Regional.

BU (Worcester) five times: One Frozen Four, one first round loss, three second round losses. They also missed the tournament an additional two times when Worcester had a regional.
BC (Worcester) three times: Made the Frozen Four twice, lost in the second round once. One year they got shipped to Madison. In 2002 they missed the tournament. They also were in a Frozen Four in Boston and lost.
Providence (Providence) once: Missed the tournament.
UNH (Manchester) twice: Lost in the first round both times.
Denver (Pepsi Center) once: Missed the tournament. Also hosted the Frozen Four there and didn't make it.

Ohio State also hosted a Frozen Four at their home rink, but didn't make it.

So yes, Michigan has hosted three times and made the Frozen Four three times. But you know what? I'm not apologizing for the fact that we actually made the tournament when we were hosting and could take advantage of it. CC missed one year and lost in the first round another year. It doesn't mean they didn't have the same advantage Michigan had. They just choked on applesauce.

Minnesota made two Frozen Fours when they hosted at Mariucci and won another Frozen Four that was less than ten miles from campus. BU got to play in Worcester (akin to Michigan playing at Joe Louis) five times and missed two other times that arena has hosted. BC has played there three times and made two Frozen Fours in the process.

It ain't just Michigan, folks. And in return for our three times that we got to host at Yost, we:
-Beat BC in Boston for the championship
-Beat UNH in Manchester
-Lost to NoDak at their home rink
-Lost to Minnesota in St. Paul in the Frozen Four

I think we've atoned.

By the way, Ohio State and BGSU had a brawl at the end of their game last weekend where the benches cleared. Who was officiating that game? You guessed it. Kevin Hall and Keith Sergott. Nice.


Anonymous said...

The refs have lost control... The refs have lost control... The refs have lost control... The refs have lost control...

Eric J. Burton said...

Good post. That post caught my eye as well as another one. I like the answer though, any number one seed is going to beat the Gophers this season.

Craig Barker said...

That's been my biggest problem with this as well. The issue is not that "Michigan always hosts", but that Michigan uses its distinct home ice advantage to advance to the Frozen Fours in years in which it didn't "deserve" to by its seeding.

If the NCAA wants equity about this, they ship host teams to other regionals, but that hurts the bottom line (plus the likelihood that any school would want to host.) so they will keep the rule in place. If Michigan draws Minnesota at Mariucci, it's probably not fair, but they'll deal with it. We'll just have to see what happens.

Anonymous said...


Michigan's "distinct advantage" has been earned by their performance the last 20+ years and by the rabid enthusiasm that Yost fans bring, regardless of their seeding position. If the NCAA doesn't recognize the inequity of having other major programs like UND, CC, Wisconsin and Minnesota etc. always hosting or near hosting in some fashion... then no one can stand there without a sarcastic smirk on their face and honestly tell me that they aren't getting the same advantage. It is there problem, as Tim mentioned, if they can't take advantage of it. Unfortunately, Michigan will never be given that chance again at Yost. If there is a reason for a new Yost, this would be it- which frankly they can stick up their rear.

Tim: I hope you responded with the same analysis to these ignorant idiots that continue to propagate a myth because they have a hard on for Michigan.

jmj said...


Yeah, the bitterness remains over M advancing with 3 and 4 seeds from 98, 02 and 03.

Eidelbes who formerly worked for the Spartans, or was an alum, and he'll always take a shot at Michigan when he can.

It is too bad that MSU p'd on themselves when hosting the 94 and 96 regionals by losing to Lowell in the first round.

Oh yeah, didn't a #2 seed Michigan have to win at Wisconsin in 95 to make the Frozen Four. Kind of like the 98 scenario.

Packer487 said...

The funny thing is that Michigan kept getting bids because no one else was really trying to host.

We were just hoping to get one bid when we bid on 02 and 03.

I've been saying for years that Michigan should be bidding Van Andel, Joe Louis, or the Palace if the NCAA is dead-set on never letting us host at Yost again. At least that way we'd be guaranteed to not be on the receiving end of some buttsecks when the bids come out....