Wisconsin confused by NCAA playoff bracket

first_imgZaugg new scoring leaderSenior alternate captain Jinelle Zaugg almost single-handilywilled her team to a third-straight conference tournament title with herperformance over the weekend. And while Wisconsin fell just short, Zaugg becomeUW?s all-time scoring leader.Coming into the postseason, Zaugg needed to score twice totie Meghan Hunter with 84 career goals. Against rival Minnesota in thesemifinals, the 6-foot-1 forward tied the record with a pair of goals.?I?m excited for Jinelle,? Johnson said. ?She stepped up andplayed really well and scored some timely goals against Minnesota.? In the championship match against the Bulldogs, Zaugg ledthe Badgers back from an early 3-0 deficit to help force overtime by scoringtwo more goals to set the record. Despite becoming Wisconsin?s all-time scoringleader, Zaugg was upset that she missed an opportunity to win the game inovertime, according to Johnson.?[Sunday] if you asked [Zaugg] a question, she?d probably bebitter about the opportunity she missed in overtime,? Johnson said. ?The younglady from Duluth slid across as the puck was going in the empty net, and shewas able to deflect it with her body. [Zaugg] played very well [Sunday] scoringtwo nice goals and had an opportunity in overtime to win it.?Her four-goal performance earned Zaugg a spot on the WCHAFinal Face-Off all-tournament team. Now, as UW prepares to enter the NCAAtournament, Johnson is looking to the senior to continue to lead the charge.?Hopefully, [Zaugg] will continue that this weekend,?Johnson said. GREGORY DIXON/Herald photoDespite suffering a heartbreaking loss to Minnesota-Duluthin the WCHA Final Face-Off Sunday, the No. 5 Wisconsin women?s hockey team isheaded to the NCAA tournament to make a run at a third-straight nationalchampionship.However, Wisconsin was thrown a curve ball when theselection committee released the eight-team bracket Sunday that has the Badgerstraveling to Minnesota to take on the Gophers in the NCAA quarterfinal. ?We?re very surprised that we are playing Minnesota,? UWhead coach Mark Johnson said at his Monday press conference. ?We looked atmaybe two of our matchups, depending on what we did this (past) weekend.Minnesota was not in any of the pictures, to be honest with you. So coming homeon the bus when all of a sudden we heard Minnesota, I think we were all alittle bit surprised, like ?OK, how did that happen”Wisconsin has some right to be upset by this year?s bracket,as the Badgers and Gophers both finished the year with 27 wins. Wisconsin alsowent 3-1-1 against Minnesota this year, including a win in the semifinals ofthe WCHA Final Face-Off last weekend. But Johnson figures his team isn?t theonly one confused by this year?s bracket.?You look at last year?s (bracket) compared to this year?s,and it is a totally different, completely different setup,? Johnson said. ?It?snice if somebody comes out and says ?Here?s what we did. Here?s why we did it,and this is the direction we wanted to go.? People are a little bit confused,and if you?re on certain teams right now, you?re probably very, veryfrustrated.?Johnson also said it seems like the selection committeeconsidered travel expenses as part of its selection since the pairings limitthe travel. Beside Wisconsin traveling to Minnesota, Dartmouth will play atHarvard, Mercyhurst will play at Minnesota-Duluth and St. Lawrence will play atNew Hampshire.?It looks like financial criteria was used step No. 1 if youlook at the way the brackets are set up,? Johnson said. ?It?s totally theopposite. It?s 180 from where we were last year.?Despite being frustrated with the selection committee,Johnson is confident his team will not be distracted this weekend and is excitedto be a part of the NCAA tournament again.?There?s only eight teams now,? Johnson said. ?You?re onewin away from the Frozen Four and an opportunity to take a run at thechampionship again. It?s an exciting time of year. I think with the players,they get excited this time of year. Practices are sharp. They?re crisp. ?There?s energy that I think might not be there in Decemberand January. This is what they work for. This is the opportunity that will bepresented to them, and hopefully Saturday we come out and play our A-game.?And while his team is still confused as to how and why it isplaying Minnesota, Johnson said his team is looking forward to playing theirborder rivals again.?We don?t have to travel very far. It?s an opponent we knowvery well,? Johnson said about playing Minnesota. ?We?ve played them threetimes in the last three or four weeks here, so we?re excited. The team?sexcited. It?s a fresh start.?last_img

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