The Ohio State Buckeyes are off to a 5-0-1 start, already having dispatched both Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth, even rising into the top-five in some polls. While Ohio State boasts a deep roster of players of varying ages, it’s two freshmen that have the Buckeyes firmly in control of their destiny early on in the season.
I’ve made this point quite a bit: how do we know Brad Frost of Minnesota and Mark Johnson of Wisconsin are good coaches? Maybe that’s a silly question to ask since they combine for eight National Championships between them, both with four. To counter that, they routinely have the most talented teams so…shouldn’t they win a lot of titles? What is the right number of titles for them to win?
It’s hard to debate Frost since he’s won four of the last six national titles. Mark Johnson, however, hasn’t won a championship since 2011 and seems to avoid the questions that UMD’s Shannon Miller got right away. Granted Duluth fell off for a few years and Wisconsin has remained among the elites during most of Johnson’s drought. But this is two years in a row now Wisconsin has brought the best team into the NCAA Tournament (2016 arguable) and come away empty-handed. What gives?
Wow, I mean wow. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I would be sitting her toasting the second Clarkson national championship in my lifetime, I don’t know what I would have said. I think I picked the Knights to finish fourth in the ECAC heading into the season. I thought the departures of Erin Ambrose and Renata Fast would hurt them a lot more than they did. Who knows, if this team doesn’t lose to BC in overtime last year, maybe we’re talking about three NCAA championships in four years.
If I were to contrast Clarkson and Wisconsin, it looked to me like Wisconsin was just going to play their game and dare you to beat them. What Clarkson found, what Katie Crowley largely unlocked for them, was that if you could adjust to neutralize the Badgers’ strengths, they wouldn’t adjust, they would just assume they were good enough to beat you anyway. (Or that you couldn’t neutralize those strengths for a full sixty minutes.)
Because of course they are. Before you read the opinions of me (or any other dude), I recommend checking out the pieces below and maybe giving them a follow on Twitter.
by Julie Foudy, ESPNW
by Johnette Howard, ESPNW
by Hannah Bevis, The Ice Garden
by Beth Boyle Machlan, The Ice Garden
by Erica L. Ayala and Hannah Bevis, The Ice Garden
by Zoë Hayden, Victory Press
by Hemal Jhaveri, For the Win, USA Today
by Jaya Saxena, Elle
by Lindsay Gibbs, Think Progress
by Camila Domonoske, NPR
by Juliet Macur, New York Times
by Christina Rutherford, Sportsnet
by Laura Wagner, Deadspin
If you haven’t seen by now, the US women’s team will be boycotting the IIHF World Championships later on in March. Though the above article mentions equal pay, the women are seeking “equitable support” (fair support) via the portion of their statement released here.
The conference tournaments concluded last weekend with a fairly predictable selection process. The only real question was whether the committee would extra, super penny-pinch and have Clarkson and St. Lawrence play one another, but it didn’t come to pass. What we are left with is perfect bracket integrity. In fact, not only is the bracket perfect, but Robert Morris, the CHA champion, is also the eighth-ranked team in the PairWise. The system works!