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Title Defense Begins Tonight And The Big Finish

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Brian: Jeff is a little busy this week so we welcome Conrad, a current BC freshman and writer for The Heights, to the blog for today's Big Finish ...

Alright, Conrad. The BC National Championship title defense begins tonight in St. Louis. The Eagles take on the fourth seeded Colorado College Tigers. In the other West Regional matchup, Michigan takes on Nebraska-Omaha. How do you see this weekend's West Regional playing out?

Conrad: In a single elimination tournament with so much on the line, anything can happen. That being said, it's really hard to pick anyone but the Eagles in the West Regional. The Eagles played two crucial games against UNH to close out the Hockey East regular season title and have been in playoff mode ever since. When you factor in BC's experience as well, I see the Eagles moving on to St. Paul after tough wins over Colorado College and the Michigan Wolverines.

Brian: Who are your picks for the Frozen Four?

Conrad: I've got Boston College, Yale, Merrimack, and Denver, but like I said, nothing would really surprise me. Furthermore, as long as BC makes it, I have no problem with whichever other teams are in St. Paul since BU will be watching from home no matter what.

Brian: I'm a self-proclaimed Yale hater, so I've got Union continuing its dream season and winning the East Regional over Yale. In the Northeast, I have Miami over Merrimack. Other than those two Regionals, I agree with your picks. In the Frozen Four, I'm going with BC over Denver and Miami over Union.  


Big Finish

Brian: Providence hoops hired former BC staffer Ed Cooley to replace Keno Davis. Last year, Cooley called the vacant BC job his "dream job." Does this add to the BC-PC rivalry?

Conrad: It certainly adds to a rivalry that has been fairly tame for the past few years. Since BC-PC is no longer a conference rivalry and neither team has been super competitive lately, it seems to have died down.


Conrad: Sticking with hoops for a minute, many people around Chestnut Hill were calling for Bruce Pearl to coach the Eagles a few years back. It looks like we dodged a major bullet. What do you make of the whole situation?

Brian: I certainly would have loved to go to six straight NCAAs, but I think Pearl is just too toxic now.


Brian: HD selected CB C.J. Jones as the Eagles' football team's rising star. Who gets your vote for rising star on BC's roster next season?

Conrad: Andre Williams. He looked great in the brief time that we saw last year and his role should be expanded to a degree this season.


Conrad: BC's John Muse won this year's Walter Brown Award, given to the best American-born player in New England. Will Muse get a shot to play in the pros?

Brian: He'll definitely get a shot with an AHL club, but I'm not sure if he'll ever catch on in the NHL.


Brian: Coach York attributes this year's success to the fact that all the underclassmen stayed in school. Do you expect guys like Kreider, Atkinson and others to return next season?

Conrad: My gut instinct is that if BC wins it all, they may leave and if not, they stay hungry for another title and come back to get it. 


Conrad: Everyone knows about the experience that this team brings going into the NCAA tournament, but what other factor would you pinpoint as BC's greatest strength on their quest to repeat as national champions? 

Brian: Speed and special teams play. The two are obviously related, but BC has been great on both the power play and the penalty kill.


Brian: Last one. Cam Atkinson is one of 10 players to be named a finalist for this year's Hobey Baker Award. Does he make the cut as one of the final three?

Conrad: I think there is a good chance that Cam is named one of the final three candidates for the award. If I were to predict I would say that Cam will join Gustav Nyquist of Maine and Matt Frattin of North Dakota to round out the last three.