No. 1 – Union College Dutchmen
NCAA Tournament History: 5 appearances, no titles
How they got here: Union won the ECAC championship with a 3-1 win over Harvard.
Players to watch: Kelly Zajac, F, Sr. (8-33-41); Jeremy Welsh, F, Jr. (25-15-40); Daniel Carr, F, So. (19-19-38); Mat Bodie, D, So. (8-20-28); Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Fr. (5-16-21); Troy Grosenick, G, So. (20-5-3, 1.65, .936)
Briefly: The Dutchmen are balanced up front, and it covers up their holes at the blue line. Union isn’t going to run you into the ground, and they do allow some quality scoring chances. Luckily, Hobey finalist Grosenick has been amazing this year. That will have to continue for the Dutchmen to move on to Tampa.
No. 2 – Miami RedHawks
NCAA Tournament History: 10 appearances, no titles
How they got here: Miami received an at-large bid.
Players to watch: Reilly Smith, F, Jr. (30-18-48); Austin Czarnik, F, Fr. (9-27-36); Jimmy Mullin, F, Fr. (11-15-26); Chris Wideman, D, Sr. (4-19-23); Cameron Schilling, D, Sr. (1-13-14); Connor Knapp, G, Sr. (15-7-0, 1.59, .937)
Briefly: Miami has some of the best players in the country at every position in Smith, Wideman and Knapp. Smith is electric with the puck, and he’s not going to be a guy any team wants to see on his game. Wideman is a veteran with great poise, and Knapp can singlehandedly take over a game.
No. 3 – Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks
Conference: Hockey East
NCAA Tournament History: 4 appearances, no titles
How they got here: UMass-Lowell received an at-large bid.
Players to watch: Scott Wilson, F, Fr. (16-21-37); Riley Wetmore, F, Jr. (12-25-37); Derek Arnold, F, So. (17-15-32); Chad Ruhwedel, D, So. (6-19-25); Zack Kamrass, D, Fr. (1-10-11); Doug Carr, G, So. (21-9-1, 2.08, .930)
Briefly: UMass-Lowell is a sneaky team, especially when they are on their game from the get-go. Carr will hold them in any games where they don’t have their best stuff, though, and his play all year has put the River Hawks in the spot they’re currently in.
No. 4 – Michigan State Spartans
NCAA Tournament History: 27 appearances, 3 titles (most recent, 2007)
How they got here: Michigan State received an at-large bid.
Players to watch: Lee Reimer, F, So. (9-21-30); Brett Perlini, F, Sr. (9-21-30); Greg Wolfe, F, So. (10-16-26); Torey Krug, D, Jr. (12-21-33); Matt Crandell, D, Sr. (3-12-15); Will Yanakeff, G, So. (13-8-1, 2.48, .923); Drew Palmisano, G, Sr. (6-7-3, 2.69, .918)
Briefly: When a defenseman leads you in points, chances are good that you’re offensively challenged. The Spartans are, but Krug has enough talent to dictate a game from the blue line. Obviously others will have to step up and play well in their roles, but there is enough grit and will on this team to pull a few upsets.