Woog is not happy with NCAA tournament seeding

Michael Rand

The NCAA announced Sunday afternoon the 12-team field for college hockey’s national tournament, and Gophers coach Doug Woog is not amused.
Of course, the probability of Woog finding humor in his team’s No. 4 seed in the West Regional is not likely in the first place. But all attempts at comedy need to be called off because of confusion.
“I didn’t understand it,” Woog said. “We have the toughest road of all. It doesn’t seem like we got much of a reward for the year we had.”
The Gophers (27-12-1) travel to Grand Rapids, Mich., to face No. 5 seed Michigan State (22-12-4) in the first round. If Minnesota wins, it will face defending national champion Michigan (33-3-4) for a berth in the Final Four.
The Gophers defeated Michigan State 5-3 in late November at the College Hockey Showcase in Detroit. Minnesota lost to Michigan 4-3 in overtime in the same tournament.
Even though the Gophers played both teams tough this season, the draw is anything but ideal. Because the regional tournament is in Michigan, Minnesota will essentially be the road team.
Despite being WCHA co-champs and finishing fourth in the nation in the Pairwise Rankings — a computerized formula used by the NCAA to determine tournament seeds — the Gophers received a seed equivalent to the No. 7 or No. 8 team in the country.
“They could have just called up somebody and said, ‘Put everybody where you want to put them,’ because that’s what they did,” Woog said. “Just let a couple of guys with cigars go in the back room and figure it out.”
The prevailing thought among college hockey prognosticators was that Minnesota, after losing to North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five championship, would be a No. 3 seed in either the east or west.
Woog said the team may gain motivation from the low seed, and that it will definitely need to step up its performance against the Spartans.
“They’re a strong team,” he said. “We just have to move our game up and be prepared for the tough road.”
Gophers forward Mike Anderson said he and several teammates who were watching the selection show on ESPN2 were surprised when they saw the team’s seed.
“We definitely have a tough bracket — probably the toughest,” Anderson said. “But that’s the way it is.”