Sioux Falls is about to have a bunch of Minnesotans visiting this weekend.
The NCAA on Sunday announced the 16-team field for its men’s hockey tournament, and all three Minnesota teams that made – St. Cloud State, Minnesota State Mankato and Minnesota Duluth – were assigned to the West Region at the Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls on Friday and Saturday.
St. Cloud State, the No. 1 overall seed, will play No. 16 Air Force at 3 p.m. Friday (ESPNU). MSU Mankato, the No. 6 overall seed, will face No. 12 Minnesota Duluth at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3 web stream).
The West Regional final is 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.
“We’re really excited. This is a great time of year,’’ St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said on the ESPNU selection show. “Anybody can win this tournament. … It’s a great location for us. I coached in Sioux Falls, two of my kids were born there. I’ve got a person touch back in that city. It’s easy travel for us, but we’ve got to get ready for Air Force. … They can spoil anybody’s trip quickly.’’
The only non-Minnesota team in the West Regional – Air Force – has Minnesota roots, too. Falcons coach Frank Serratore is a Coleraine, Minn., native and a Bemidji State graduate.
Here are the regional matchups with overall seeding in parentheses:
West (Sioux Falls, Friday-Saturday)
1. St. Cloud State vs. 16. Air Force
6. Minnesota State Mankato vs. 12. Minnesota Duluth
Midwest (Allentown, Pa., Saturday-Sunday)
4. Ohio State vs. 14. Princeton
5. Denver vs. 11. Penn State
Northeast (Worcester, Mass., Saturday-Sunday)
3. Cornell vs. 13. Boston University
8. Michigan vs. 9. Northeastern
East (Bridgeport, Conn., Friday-Saturday)
2. Notre Dame vs. 15. Michigan Tech
7. Providence vs. 10. Clarkson
The Frozen Four is April 5 and 7 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The semifinal matchups have the West champion playing the Midwest champion, and the Northeast champion playing the East champion.
Here are the teams by conference:
Big Ten (4): Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State
NCHC (3): St. Cloud State, Denver, Minnesota Duluth
ECAC (3): Cornell, Clarkson, Princeton
Hockey East (3): Providence, Northeastern, Boston University
WCHA (2): Minnesota State Mankato, Michigan Tech
Atlantic Hockey (1): Air Force