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Face Off Tackle Empire // NCAA Tournament Preview & Open Thread

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Michigan is the B1G's sole participant in the NCAA Tournament this year. They face off against future conference mate Notre Dame at 5:30 et/4:30 ct in Midwest Regional held in Cincinnati, OH. The winner of this game will likely face North Dakota (UND leads Northeastern 6-2 late in the third).

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

(3) Notre Dame Fighting Irish at (2) Michigan Wolverines

US Bank Arena; Cincinnati, OH
Friday @ 5:30 et/4:30 ct on ESPNU/WatchESPN

Michigan won the B1G Tournament in St. Paul last weekend and is the only team from the B1G to qualify for the NCAAs.  Notre Dame was swept by Northeastern in the first round of 8 in the Hockey East Tournament  and has lost 5 of 6 heading into the Tournament.  The Fighting Irish did not play last weekend and will be well rested coming into this evening's game.  Notre Dame averages 3.14 goals per game while Michigan leads the nation with 4.89.  The Wolverines give up 3 per game while the Irish only give up 2.31.  The key for Notre Dame is to play like Minnesota did last weekend.  The Irish will need to play sound, defensive hockey, counter attack well, and stay out of the box.  Michigan's powerplay is absurdly good, featuring 4 future NHLers.

Michigan is a tough to project in this tournament.  They have the firepower to win the whole tournament, but their at times over-aggressive defense will lead to high quality chances the other way.  A disciplined team with a strong penalty kill can expose Michigan.  Other high octane offenses can beat Michigan in track meets, but Michigan usually wins when it scores in bunches.  I think Michigan wins another tight game on the back of their power play and trio of Hobey Candidates.

My Pick: ND 3 - 4 MI
KRACH: ND 47.52% - 52.48% MI