In this case, don't do anything that makes it appear you're intentionally (or, for that matter, unintentionally) slighting North Dakota.
Instead of a healthy, intelligent discussion about the picks I made for the All-WCHA teams, I got a rash of comments via Twitter, e-mail, and the blog about how much of a jerk I am and how I must only like UMD players and how I hate North Dakota.
This coming from a guy who picked North Dakota to win the league, called them the team with "easily the fewest holes" of anyone in the WCHA, has consistently blown the horn for Chay Genoway as a great choice for the Hobey Baker and Lowe's Senior CLASS Awards, has defended coach Dave Hakstol on Twitter from attacks by his own team's crazy fans, and predicted on the air in January that Matt Frattin would win WCHA Player of the Year.
Yeah, I hate North Dakota.
My favorite might be the guy who didn't have a problem with me putting Denver's Jason Zucker on my first team, but didn't think Jack Connolly -- fourth in the nation in points per game -- belonged.
But, yeah, I'm the guy who's blind here.
(It should be noted that I appreciate the positive and constructive feedback I got. I always do. And I hope you keep that coming. Quality conversation and healthy debate is good. Stupid personal attacks and anonymous comments are not. And I stand by my picks, even the ones you don't like.)
Moving right along ...
Lots of speculation this week about UMD's NCAA Tournament fate, but it might be all for naught. Twitter (twitter.com/bruceciskie, by the way) follower @blackbear93, who doubles as "Priceless" on the USCHO message board, is one of the better Pairwise experts on that board, to the point that virtually no one questions anything he says about the Pairwise.
He chimed in Monday on Twitter about UMD's situation.
Even if they are swept by SCSU this weekend I still have them at 12. Still calculating, but it looks like they're in
He noted that there is a string of events that could happen that would push UMD out of the tournament if they don't beat St. Cloud State, but it's not likely to happen. Without getting too involved here, that string includes Dartmouth winning the ECAC while Western Michigan also wins the CCHA, which is about as likely as Michigan Tech beating North Dakota. Or something.
I have no reason not to trust his math skills, based on what I know from my time as a regular on that message board, and what I have seen from his posts during the season.
That said, I'd much rather UMD took nothing for granted. I'm just reporting the facts as they are known at this point. That's the best I can do, since the math is way beyond my comprehension.
Hats off to the NCAA Division III Selection Committee. There are major league pitchers who would love to have the ability to throw a curveball the way the committee did Monday, when it selected 16-12-1 UWS for the Division III tournament over 22-4 Castleton.
It's not as cut and dried as the records make it look, as UWS tested itself all season long with one of the nation's toughest schedules, and Castleton toiled with creampuffs in most of their non-league games. The schedule strength mattered in the end, but the selection also allowed the committee to balance things better and limit early-round flights. In Division III, these types of things matter.
UWS has fallen victim to that kind of numbers game before, so it's nice to see Dan Stauber's team benefit this time around. They also benefit from the removal of ice at Hamline's facility in the Twin Cities, as it allows them to host the first-round game Wednesday in Superior, though Hamline will be considered the home team.