Michigan State has officially closed out the regular season. Finishing up against two of the best teams in the Big Ten is no small task, especially for a Spartan team that struggled mightily all through conference play. Michigan State finished with a split against Ohio State last weekend followed by a loss and tie (shootout win on Saturday night) on the road at Minnesota. Heading into the Big Ten tournament, MSU has a chance to at least make some noise around the conference. A first-round match-up against Ohio State gives me a good degree of optimism. While Ohio State has been good this year, MSU has played relatively well against the Buckeyes the last few times out. After all, MSU only has to win one game against Ohio State to advance.
Spring Break Recap, Looking Forward to MSU’s Match up
I spent my break hiking the Appalachia Trail with my dad on a two-day backpacking trip and then the next three at the Verizon Center watching more live basketball than I have seen in the rest of my life combined. I’m still ashamed to admit that I have been to three MSU basketball games and none of them were at the Breslin. There’s always next year right?
Spartan hockey had a resilient two weekends with the splits against Minnesota and Ohio State. The result of the last game against Minnesota really gives me optimism heading into the Big Ten tournament. A couple weeks ago I predicted a big weekend against Ohio State. Going into the tourney, I’m gonna go bold again. I think that this team is more than capable of beating Ohio State and potentially keeping them out of the NCAA tournament. The seniors on this team are gonna look to go out on some sort of high note. I would be very happy with a win over OSU in the first round and I’m looking forward to the Spartans pulling the upset. In what could be the last game of MSU’s season, I am confident that we’ll see the Spartans turn in a very strong effort.
Around The Conference
Penn State split with Wisconsin before being emphatically swept by Michigan. Michigan is gaining momentum going into the tournament in Detroit, especially with the split against Minnesota last weekend.
Minnesota is essentially a lock for the NCAA tournament and a national title contender. Their result in the tournament should not derail their tournament aspirations.
Wisconsin was absolutely swept by Ohio State after splitting with PSU. Wisconsin has to win the Big Ten tournament to be a safe bet for the NCAA tournament I think.
Ohio State has won three out of four heading into the Big Ten tournament. I think that MSU will pull the upset in the first round. Ohio State could make the tournament as an at-large but like Wisconsin, winning the Big Ten is their only safe bet.
Around the Country
The rest of the country looks like a crapshoot going into the conference tournaments. There will be much more to say when the conference tournaments (notably Hockey East) wrap up.
The NCAA hockey tournament is a magical time for college hockey fans. As the other tournaments around the country wrap up, the NCAA tourney picture should clear up. Before we get our official bracket, I see my top-four teams going into the tournament being; Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Harvard and Union. My next four are Boston University, Minnesota, Western Michigan and Providence. Though Providence did get swept by Notre Dame in the Hockey East tournament, I can definitely see Providence making big moves in the tournament should they get in.
By the time the tournament bracket is set, there will be a lot more clarity. Let’s all look forward to a great week of tournament hockey and a fun (responsible) St. Patrick’s Day.