On paper, it looks like a mismatch.
Wisconsin, which owns a 25-10-4 record, is the No. 1 seed in the West Regional in St. Paul after spending most of 2010 ranked third in the nation. The Badgers’ opponent, the fourth-seeded Vermont Catamounts, are three games above .500, with a 17-14-7 mark.
UW scores the second-most goals per game in the nation; UV is 32nd out of 58 teams. Wisconsin is in the top 13 in both power play and penalty kill; Vermont is 45th and 32nd, respectively. Two Badgers are among the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to college hockey’s most outstanding player; the other eight finalists include zero Catamounts.
It seems like Wisconsin should have no trouble winning its first game of the NCAA tournament, and the numbers back it up.
But don’t expect the Badgers to take the game lightly.
“First seed, four-seed… I look at their record, they’ve only got five or four more losses than we do. That’s not a big difference,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “Our belief as a coaching staff is any team can beat anybody because it’s one day, one-game and you’re in or out.
“We have a huge amount of respect because they’re at this point of the season with us.”
Despite its overall mediocrity, Vermont is one of the just 16 teams in the NCAA field. And now that the season has reached the “win-or-go-home” stage for every team, UW can’t afford to take the game lightly.
Lets hope the Badgers can go far in the tournament. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!