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Written by Cole Brown | 14 May 2012

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With this year's Big Ten - ACC Challenge schedule being released yesterday we thought we'd take a look at these games, rank the match-ups, and make some very early predictions. As a fan of the Big Ten, I love this event because it allows all of us midwesterners to look beyond our hate for each other and feel a sense of conference pride. For two days we come toegether and root for each other. The Big Ten is currently on a 3 year win streak, while previously losing all previous 10 meetings from 1999-2009. 

 Match-up Rankings and Analysis

12. Boston College at Penn State, Wednesday Nov 28th

These two teams finished at the bottom of their respective conferences last year, so it's pretty safe to say this won't be a battle between two juggernauts. Considering Boston College hasn't had a solid season in quite some time, look for Penn State to give the B1G a easy home win.

Prediction: Penn State

11. Nebraska at Wake Forest, Tuesday November 27th

This also won't too great of a game. Nebraska is losing Bo Spencer while Wake Forest is a young inexperienced squad. This should be a close one but in the end Wake Forest will take it on it's home floor.

Prediction: Wake Forest

10. Georgia Tech at Illinois, Wednesday Nov 28th

At the lower end of the rankings, this is still an interesting matchup. Illinois, who is losing their best player in center Meyers Leonard, will be a guard heavy team next year. Georgia Tech is a team who's bringing in 3 four star reqruits next year after an awful previous season. Illinois is a team who choked many times at home last year, so I think it's a very realistic possibility that GT could come in and steal a road game here.

Prediction: Georgia Tech

9. Maryland at Northwestern, Tuesday November 27th

Northwestern is losing their top player John Shurna next season after a dissapointing campaign this year, in which they failed to make the NCAA tournament again. Maryland on the other hand is a rising team in the ACC and could easily come in and beat Northwestern. But I think the Wildcats will come out with some conference pride out win.

Prediction: Northwestern

8. Iowa at Virginia Tech, Tuesday November 27th

Iowa is losing their best player in Matt Gatens, but they're still a young talented team on the rise. Virginia Tech on the other hand had an awful season last year and probably won't be too great next year either. Look for Iowa to go in and steal a road win for the Big Ten.

Prediction: Iowa

7. Purdue at Clemson, Wednesday Nov 28th

Purdue is yet another team losing a key senior, Robbie Hummel. However they are still a solid team with a lot of great perimeter shooters. Clemson is also losing a few key seniors, but they have 5 high rated reqruits coming in. The Tigers will be a rising team in the ACC the next few years and Purdue will not beat that on this night.

Prediction: Clemson

6. No. 9 Michigan State at Miami, Wednesday Nov 28th

Michigan State is losing their star in Draymond Green, but the Spartans are still one of the country's most talented teams. Miami is a program that hasn't seen a whole lot of sunlight these past few years. However, Miami just missed the NCAA tourney last year and won a game in the NIT. I call this game an upset alert for MSU. Miami is going to give them all they can handle on their home floor. However Michigan State's talent will prevail in the end. 

Prediction: Michigan State

5. Virginia at No. 22 Wisconsin, Wednesday Nov 28th

These are two defensive minded teams that run slow offensive styles. Virginia had a bounce-back year last season finishing 4th in the ACC and making the NCAA tournament. We all know Wisconsin will be losing their floor general Jordan Taylor and that could have a big effect early in the season. Last time the Badger's hosted a B1G-ACC challenge game the Kohl Center crowd was rushing the floor after an upset over Duke. You would think this would be a easy win for the Badger's, but with last years performances at home, you can never be too sure.

Prediction: Wisconsin

4. No. 25 Minnesota at Florida State, Tuesday November 27th

This game is my sleeper matchup. Florida State, coming off their ACC Championship last season, is a team that loves to run and gun and shoot the three. Minnesota returns Center Trevor Mbakwe, who had a dominant start to last year before having a season ending injury. This will be an exciting, fast paced game between two well coached teams. In the end, I think Minnesota's big men will be too much for the guard heavy Seminoles.

Prediction: Minnesota

3. No. 8 Ohio State at No. 15 Duke, Wednesday Nov 28th

Both teams are losing star underclassmen to the draft this year (Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Duke's Austin Rivers), but both are still very good teams. Last year's matchup between these two teams was OSU blowing out the Blue Devils in Columbus. But this year will surely be a different story. Duke always has a good chance to win when they're playing in front of the Cameron Indoor Stadium crowd. OSU will have all it can handle, and I can't see them pulling this one out.

Prediction: Duke

2. No. 6 NC State at No. 5 Michigan, Tuesday November 27th

NC State, who this past season landed 3 four star reqruits, will be a very young explosive squad next year. The three freshman they have coming in- SG Rodney Purvis, SF TJ Warren, and PG Tyler Lewis- gave the experts enough reason to give NC State a #6 pre-season ranking. Michigan, who is coming off a share of the regular season B1G title, is led by Sophomore Trey Burke who had a sensational Freshman season, winning co-freshman of the year. This will be a huge test for the young Wolfpack squad, as they'll have to face a talented Michigan team and a hostile crowd. I think the Wolfpack will surprise a lot of people by coming in and getting a huge victory in Ann Arbor.

Prediction: NC State 

1. No. 13 North Carolina at No. 1 Indiana, Tuesday November 27th

This game is definately the most intruiging to me. This is a UNC squad lost four starters- Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Kendall Marshall- this past year to the draft. Indiana is the complete opposite having all but one of their starters returning. Indiana, a team on the uprise, is expected to be national championship contenders next season-hence their #1 preseason ranking. In front of a hostile Assembly Hall crowd, the young North Carolina squad will have to show a lot of heart to win this game. It's also going to be a big test for the Hoosiers. This game will likely show if they're ready to be an elite squad once again. I'm not going to bet against them at Assembly Hall.

Prediction: Indiana

So there you have it, in my WAY too early predictions, the Big Ten will win the Challenge 7-5. A much closer race then previous years, but I do have a feeling this will come down to just a few games. Now all we can do is wait for basketball season and see how ridiculous some of these predictions actually turn out to be. Either way the 2012 Big Ten-ACC challenge is guarenteed to be exciting, especially with some of the super-power teams facing off this year. November 27th couldn't come sooner, could it?

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 14 May 2012

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A record breaking season was not enough to vault the Badgers' softball team to an NCAA Tournament berth. Conference champion Michigan and Northwestern were the only two Big Ten teams selected to participate in the 64-team tournament that is set to begin Friday.

The Badgers finished the season 34-19 overall and 13-10 in the Big Ten. The 34 wins tied the school record for wins in a season and the 13 conference victories were the most in school history.

Big Ten hockey made a significant stride Tuesday as they tabbed Steve Piotrowski as supervisor for officials. Piotrowski currently holds the same position with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. He will assume his position with the Big Ten in time for its inagural season in 2013.

Former men's hockey forward Craig Smith recorded an assist for Team USA in their 5-0 win over Finland on Sunday in the IIHF World Championships. The Americans are currently 3-1 and in thrid place in Group H. The top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. Team USA takes on Switzerland tomorrow in their final game of the preliminary round.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 14 May 2012

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Border Battle

Wisconsin and Minnesota have long been football and hockey rivals, but in the past 8 years the two have competed in the Border Battle with an updated points system that includes all sports both teams compete in, even if they aren't in direct competion (ie swimming, track, cross-country).  Unfortunately the University of East Dakota has taken the title in the majority of the 8 years, going into this year leading 4-3 and having won the Border Battle each of the last 3 years.  

Thanks to the results at the Big Ten Track & Field Championships where the Badger men won the conference crown the Badgers have taken back the Border Battle, winning this season 455 to 425. (sports are given 40 points total and are divided by 10 per time they meet during the season).  

With the conference crown last weekend along with a higher finish in rowing and Women's Track & Field the Badgers claimed the Border Battle Title.

Here are the results this season and the all time Border Battle Standings for you:

2011-12 Sport by Sport Results: 

(courtesy our friend at Gopherhole.com)

 All-Time Results (since 2004 when Cup was introduced): 

Year Minnesota Wisconsin
2004-05 205 215
2005-06 530 350
2006-07 435 445
2007-08 415 465
2008-09 535 345
2009-10 550 330
2010-11 455 425
2011-12 425 455

As you can see it's been a very close competition every year the Badgers have won it and that's got a lot to do with Women's sports and the non-revenue generating sports in general.  Wisconsin will go in to next season hoping to retain the Border Battle title for the 2nd year in a row, tying the most times it's consecutively held the crown, if they do it.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 14 May 2012

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In an announcement earlier this afternoon ESPN gave their full lineup for the 2012 Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Wisconsin drew hosting duties against the University of Virginia.  The game will take place on November 28th at a time and on a channel to be determined at the moment.

Wisconsin returns home after a few years of road games in the challenge, most recent of which was the narrow loss to North Carolina last season.  Overall the Badgers have a 6-7 record in the challenge, which is 3rd best amongst the Big Ten participants, trailing only Ohio State (6-5) and Michigan State (6-6).  

Virginia has a 7-5 record in the Challenge which puts them just 5th on the ACC side of the ledger. Boston College leads the way with a 5-1 record while Duke sports an 11-2 record for 2nd best and is followed by Wake Forest at 10-2 and finally Maryland at 6-4, ahead of Virginia.

The most interesting part of this matchup is that Wisconsin will be facing off against a team that's molded pretty much in the same manner as itself, with a bit of an offensive twist or two though.  You want good fundamental basketball that won't be played at a fast break pace, this is the one to watch for sure.

It's also Bo Ryan vs. Tony Bennett in what could be one of the best coach vs. coach matchups in the challenge.  Tony is of course the son of former Badger head coach Dick Bennett and was an assistant on his staff at Wisconsin as well as under Brad Soderberg and Bo before leaving to assist his dad when he took over at Washington State.  

Overall the Badgers and Cavaliers have only met twice before, both on neutral floors with UVa winning in 1974 and Wisconsin taking the latest matchup in 1998.  For the third time in last four seasons the Badgers opponent will be coming off of an NCAA tournament appearance of their own.

Last season the Cavaliers finished 22-10 (and made the NCAA tournament where they lost 71-45 to Flordia in their opening matchup.  We'll be breaking this game down a ton and look for us to be featuring the work of our fellow Bloguin brothers over at Lambeth Field for the UVa perspective on this game.

We'll also be breaking down the full field with early-reactions from our resident basketball reporter, Cole Brown, later today, so check back often for updates!

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 13 May 2012

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(photo courtesy @Badger_Track) 

Sunday was all about the drama at the McClimon Complex as the Wisconsin Men's Track & Field team took home their first outdoor conference championship since 2007 on their home track.  It wasn't easy as the Badgers needed to outpace Nebraska in the day's final event - the 4x400 relay - to win in front of the home crowd.

Coming into that event the Badgers trailed by 1.5 points and the guys came through with a 2nd place finish in the event to secure the title in front of a packed house in Madison.  Wisconsin won the event with 121 points with Nebraska 2nd with 115.5 points and Indiana finishing 3rd with 115 points.  

In the pivital event of the day Wisconsin finished 2nd to score 8 points, while Nebraska faltered and their 4x400 relay finished last, only scoring them one point and thus securing the team victory for the Badgers.

The Badgers came in to the day leading the competition and got huge performances from a ton of individuals to keep pace with the Huskers and Indiana throughout the day.  

No performance was better than that of Mohammed Ahmed and the Badgers distance runners.  Ahmed won the 5,000 meter event with a meet record breaking time of 13 minutes, 41.06 seconds.  He was joined in scoring points for Wisconsin by Elliot Krause (5th) and Maverick Darling (6th) for a team total of 17 points in the event.

Ahmed's time broke a meet record that stood since 1987 and was held by another Badger runner, Scott Fry (13:47.39).

The Badgers picked up 7 points in the 1500 meters by Rob Finnerty and Connor Reed who finished 5th and 6th respectively while no Nebraska athlete made the finals in the event, allowing the Badgers to keep things close at that point.

Derek Steinbach also chipped in important points by placing 2nd in the Javelin with a throw of 66.14 meters, giving the Badgers 8 points and a 3 point advantage over Nebraska in the event.  At that point the Badgers trailed by the margin it would come down to at the end, 1.5 points (97.5 to 96).

On the Women's side of the event Wisconsin couldn't hold on to the lead it took going in to today and finished the event 5th with 78 points.  The Big Ten Women's Champions were Ohio State with 117 points, followed by Illinois (110), and Nebraska (110). 

Up next for the Men & Women is NCAA Regional action at the University of Texas on May 24-26th. 

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 12 May 2012

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Sometimes there's nothing like a little home cooking, well that and a ton of really good performances.  After two days of competition at the Dan McClimon complex the Badgers Men's and Women's track teams stand atop the team standings in the Big Ten Outdoor Track Championships.

The Women's team currently is on top with 52 team points and are being chased by Purdue in 2nd with 32 points after the completion of day two.  Wisconsin used a 1-2-3 finish from their ladies in the Heptathlon to score 24 team points.  

Jessica Flax led the way, earning the Badgers sixth straight conference crown in the event.  She also rewrote the school record books with 5,772 points which is fourth best in the nation this year to date.  Following her were Dorcas Akinniyi and Deanna Latham in 2nd and 3rd respectively.  The podium sweep was the Badgers third straight season sweeping the titles in the pentathlon (indoor) and heptathlon (outdoor).

Adding to the record performance was the fact that this was the first 1-2-3 finish for any set of teammates in the indoor and outdoor events in the same season in conference history.  

The heptathletes weren't the only ones scoring points for the Badgers Women's track and field team as a trio of field athletes added to the point totals.  Kelsey Card and Taylor Smith added points by finishing 4th and 5th in the shot put and senior Meghann Rennhack took 4th in the javelin.  

Also adding points was Ashley Beutler, who scored a 4th place finish in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.  Her time of 10:27.92 set a personal best for her and ranked her 2nd all-time at Wisconsin.

Over on the men's side of the ledger it was record breaking performances that put the Badgers in the drivers seat heading in to the final day of action.  Wisconsin currently stands a top the team point totals with 62 points and a full 20 points ahead of 2nd place Indiana, who's just ahead of Nebraska in their first ever Big Ten Championships.  

A pair of Dan's led the Badger effort on day two as Dan Grzesiak took third in the decathlon with 7,897 points.  That performance put him 3rd all-time at Wisconsin in the event on the strength of four-personal bests.

The other performance by a Dan was from Dan Block who set a school record in the discus with a throw of 195 feet, 8 inches, which was also good for the Big Ten title in the event.  

Wisconsin wasn't done scoring from the field events for the night either as Japheth Cato set a personal best in the long jump, going 25 feed, 1 3/4 inches and finishing fourth for the event.

The Badgers continued to rack up points in the high jump as Paul Annear and Collin Taylor finished 7th and 8th with equal jumps of 6-11.

Just because Wisconsin performed so well in the events over the first two days doesn't mean it's a forgone conclusion that they'll win either the Men's or Women's title at the end of Sunday.  But the Men's team has 8 guys qualified for event finals while the women have 13 competing in events on the final day so if they can get some points on the boards and stay steady in their performances a sweep of the titles aren't out of the question.  

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 10 May 2012

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Out of the 90's and into the 80's we go today in the MTB College Sports Bucket List.  It's been fun so far and we've given you some of the lesser known, but equally strong games so far.  Today, it's time we switch things up and give you look at a college sports event that isn't just a game.  

As always, don't forget to see where we went with our No. 90 pick - Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence in Division I Hockey!!

Without further wait, here's our newest addition to the list!!  

No. 89: NCAA College Soccer Cup Finals (Division I Soccer): 

College soccer is a very different animal.  Just because you're a "big conference" school doesn't mean you are going to be successful at the collegiate soccer level.  In fact many times it's smaller schools that dominate the sport.  But that's part of the charm of the College Soccer Cup Finals, seeing teams from schools you may not know yet seeing some amazing soccer being played.  

The current incarnation of the Division I tournament has it's final four and is more commonlyCollege Cup known as the College Cup in the sport and rightfully so.  As it stands there are just 48 teams that participate in the tournament which culminates in a Final Four weekend at a destination stadium.  

What makes this event a must see is watching some players that will go on to become massive stars in MLS and abroad while also experiencing a fan level of passion that you don't see from any other sport at the collegiate level.  It's also unique because the college soccer community is similar to the hockey community in it's tight knit nature, but a bit more on the wild side of things.  

The student sections are way more creative than what you'd see at your Saturday afternoon football games and are a ton more dedicated to the team.  Take Indiana's Hoosier Army for example.  They are known to follow the team no matter where they are playing and have really created an atmosphere that can rival some of the professional team fan bases.  

Heck even West Virginia gets really in on the act:

But the Final Four of this event really has the best of the best and seeing the future stars of this country is always an opportunity you can't pass up.  Overall St. Louis leads with 10 National Titles and is followed by Indiana with 7 and Virginia with 4.  

Why else would I want to see this event?  Well, even our beloved Badgers have a national title in soccer, coming in 1995 with a 2-0 win over the Duke Blue Devils!  

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 09 May 2012

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Every once in a while there's just something that really, really steams me up and something of that nature has been building for a few weeks now. Today I'm taking you on a journey to expose something that needs to stop and that's the "Selective Outrage" that the national media outlets and their talking heads have been able to get away with for far, far too long.  

This "Selective Outrage" has it's roots in how the media has handled issues involving Badger basketball head coach Bo Ryan and Marquette basketball head coach Buzz Williams and how they treated two players.

Chances are April 21, 2012 came and went without much changing in your life just like most days.  However, if your name is Aaron Durley it's a date that you won't soon forget.

It is a date that's important to Aaron Durley because it was the date that he was released from hisDurley National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Marquette University.  I know, I know, we cover Wisconsin basketball and not that school to the east and you're right.  Just stay with me though because this one's just getting started.  

Now, just roll back your memories a few weeks and the news of the day was that Jarrod Uthoff was to transfer out of the University of Wisconsin.  Remember the firestorm and controversy that blew up out of nowhere in the aftermath of Bo Ryan's decision to restrict where Uthoff would be able to transfer to?

Yeah, I'm sure you do and the talking heads on E!SPN (TV, Internet, and Radio) and others in the national forefront of college basketball coverage wouldn't let you forget how much of a "bitter old man" and horrible human being Bo was for placing those restrictions on Uthoff.  Most of the lines of argument went like this: "The player is making a choice that's best for him, who are you to tell him where he can and can't go after he leaves?" 

Heck, Bo even went on to Mike & Mike in the Morning to try and defend himself the day that the decision on lifting some of the restrictions on Uthoff would come down.  You couldn't turn on SportsCenter, PTI, or listen to Jim Rome or other national radio shows without hearing about this "controversy."

O.k., so back to Aaron Durley.  Why do I bring his name up and what the heck does it have to do with the Uthoff transfer or "Selective Outrage?"   no comments

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 09 May 2012

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Collegefootballnews.com released it's post-spring football ranking this week and the Badgers tip the scales at No. 10. To find out more about how the Badgers are projected to shake out, be sure to check out the article.

Freshman forward Tyler Lapic and junior goaltender Mitch Thompson announced Monday that they will be transferring away from the men's hockey program to the Division III level. The moves add to what has already been an interesting offseason for head coach Mike Eaves, who lost freshman Patrick Daly to Division III St. Thomas just last week.

Lapic, who saw ice time in four contests last season, is reportedly considering Gustavus Adolphus of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Thompson, who only saw five minutes of action during his three-year stint in Madison, is said to be looking at St. John's University who also competes in the MIAC.

imageIn other hockey news, the U.S. National team extended and invitation to former Badgers' forward Craig Smith to compete in the IHF World Championships. This will mark the second consecutive time Smith has earned a spot on the roster.

Former Wisconsin assistant coach Kyle Rechlicz has left her position with the women's basketball program to become the next head coach at UWM. She inherits a Panthers' program that went 9-21 last season with a 5-13 mark in Horizon League play.The Panthers have not had a winning season since the 2007-08 campaign when they were 17-14 overall and 11-7 in conference.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 09 May 2012

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Hopefully you've enjoyed the list to date, but things really begin to pick up steam starting with today's game that's for sure.  Ironically it might also be the coldes game in the lower 48.  We're talking hockey of course and let's not waste any more time.  

Reminder, here's No. 91 from yesterday!

No. 90: Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence (DI Hockey): 

If you are a student, resident, alumni, or just fan of these schools to you this is known as "College Hockey's Greatest Rivalry" and that claim may just be right.  I know, chances are if you are a fan of the Badgers and reading this you might just think I'm crazy, but we tend to focus on the "big schools" like Wisconsin vs. Minnesota and while that's a good one, it may not have the passion and intensity that the Golden Knights vs. Skating Saints has, and by a lot.  

What makes this one so great is not only are they geographically linked (schools are only 10 miles apart), but they are also very competitive teams in conference and from time to time on theSLU vs. Clarkson national level.  St. Lawrence has won 2 regular season ECAC titles and 6 ECAC tournament titles and has been to 16 NCAA tournaments and 9 Frozen Fours, with it's most recent Frozen Four coming in 2000.  On the other hand Clarkson has been a bit more competitive on the regular season front having won 10 regular season ECAC titles (2008 was last) and 5 ECAC tournament titles as well as making 20 NCAA tournament appearances with 7 Frozen Fours (1991 was last) and 3 Championship game appearances as well.

This rivalry can get swept under the rug by the casual college hockey person because it involves two schools that chances are you haven't heard of.  Well, Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence has been a long standing tradition in what's known in New York state as the "North Country" (20-30 miles from Canada).  This series dates all the way back to the 1925-26 season.  It's been played 190 times with Clarkson holding a pretty decided advantage over the Skating Saints of St. Lawrence at 116-65-9.  

It may well be true that there are closer rivalries in terms of results, but few have the longevity and bitterness that this one holds.  Heck, it has even spilled over to the Women's teams as they've become bitter rivals over the last few years as well with their programs up and running at a competitive level.  

You might even say because of the dominance of Clarkson in the games it's actually added some fuel to the fire.  A great example of this is during the 1990's when Clarkson won 9 straight matchups between the two schools.  Due to this some clever Knights fans decided to post signs, one for each victory, every few yards along Route 11 (the road that goes from Clarkson's town to St. Lawrence's town) and kept adding to it until the streak stopped.  

St. Lawrence has even incorporated their hate into every home game as they chant "and Clarkson still sucks!" after every final minute of the period announcement.  

While Badger and Gopher fans love to poke fun at each other, what makes this rivalry so unique is that these are schools that aren't full DI members and come from very small towns in an area of New York that doesn't get much attention.  So, chances are if you are living in these towns this series means the world to you and is something everyone is paying attention to, not just the fans of the sport itself.  That's a layer of the rivalry story that doesn't exist in the bigger schools because so much attention is focused on other sports in the state and university.  

Don't sleep on this small town rivalry, as it truly is one of the best college hockey rivalries out there.  Plus taking in a game at St. Lawrence allows you to see one of America's great "Old Barns" of hockey, where the game was meant to be played in the first place.

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