Thursday, March 15, 2012

Krug Named CCHA Player of the Year & Your Weekend Guide

With the down time from earlier in the week, we've really been able to enjoy the wonderful weather here in East Lansing. We've also been able to take our mind off of scoreboard watching for a couple days.

First off,  congratulations are in order to Michigan State junior Torey Krug for being named the CCHA Player of the Year. He led all d-men in scoring this season, and he really was a major reason for Michigan State earning a first round bye, and being in position to earn their first tournament bid since 2008. He was also named the best offensive d-man (no surprise). Finally, he was named one of the ten Hobey Finalists for 2012. The Hobey award goes to the best college hockey player of the year (think equivalent to the Heisman Trophy for football)

However, the weekend is here now, and come Saturday night, Michigan State's bubble will either solidify into an at-large bid or pop depending on what happens across the country. Here is your guide for the weekend.

The teams to really focus on: Colgate & RIT.

The teams to keep one eye on: Bowling Green, Harvard, Providence, Michigan Tech, St. Cloud State.

The good news?

You can take Michigan Tech off of this list. They were defeated by Denver today in the WCHA Final Five Quarterfinal game - so they no longer can win the WCHA and push MSU on the brink of popped bubble status.

You can also take St. Cloud State off the list, since they lost to North Dakota tonight as well. So that takes care of the WCHA worries.

The long shots:

Bowling Green will have to beat Michigan and then the Miami/Western winner. Yes, they have gotten this far, but that is going to be a very tall task. Michigan is playing better than they were in the season finale in Bowling Green (when BGSU beat Michigan once), and Miami might be the best team in the CCHA right now, and Western is on a bit of a roll as well.

Providence faces a similar path going up against the best the Hockey East has to offer - which will include BC and either BU or Maine.

Harvard plays Cornell and then would have to beat the winner of Colgate/Union. If it comes down to Harvard & Colgate in the ECAC, Michigan State stands to lose less if Harvard would win that game. Still, it would move the at-large line to 14 instead of 15.

The concerns:

RIT on its own doesn't threaten MSU. What does threaten MSU is if RIT wins the Atlantic Conference and Western Michigan or RIT and another bubble team like Colgate, Providence, and Harvard.

The biggest concern: Colgate. It's simple. If Colgate wins the ECAC, Michigan State will be out. This will move MSU down into a tie for 15th, which will be a moot point when Colgate takes another at-large bid away and moves the cut-off line from 15th to 14th.

Colgate plays Union on Friday in the ECAC semi-finals..... If Union wins, Michigan State's at-large hopes go up quite a bit, just based on the fact that none of the other teams, on their own, can knock Michigan State out. It would take two of the other teams to win to knock MSU out (or an RIT/WMU combo).

Selection Sunday takes place on ESPNU & ESPN3 at Noon.

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