Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Headlines: An Uphill Battle for BC

Brian: The men's hockey team reappears in this week's USCHO.com/CBS Sports Division I Men's poll. The Eagles are ranked in the final spot in the poll, #20. Earlier I had mentioned that the Eagles could get lucky if teams above them in the PairWise rankings fizzle out down the stretch and the Eagles surge.

The problem with looking at the PairWise is it isn't as simple as taking the Top 16 teams and creating a tournament given that you have to factor in the conference auto-bids. The bad news for the Eagles is that RIT and Niagara are assumed to be the CHA and Atlantic Hockey conference autobids, respectively. And both team don't rate in the Top 16 of the PairWise rankings. So in order to secure the last NCAA at-large bid, I suspect the Eagles would have to finish 14th. The Eagles are currently tied with Colorado College and St. Cloud State for 17th in the PairWise and would need to jump 3 teams not including Colorado Coll. and SCSU to make the field of 16. This also assumes that no team ranked in the PairWise below BC will win their conference tournament and the auto-bid.

Here is a look at the other teams on the Division I Men's tournament bubble.

T-14Ohio State
Record20-12-4, 13-11-4-3 CCHA
Record Rank16
RPI Rank14
PWR Comparisons WonSt. Lawrence, Minnesota, Colorado College, Boston College, Air Force, Wisconsin, Lowell, Minnesota State, Alaska, RIT
Games Remaining03/06/2009 vs. Bowling Green (CCHA Tournament)

03/07/2009 vs. Bowling Green (CCHA Tournament)

Analysis - BGSU is 11-22-3, 8-19-1-0 CCHA this season, good for last in the CCHA and going nowhere fast. Ohio State swept the regular season series on the road, so I can't expect anything less than a Buckeye sweep next weekend. Chances that BC overtakes Ohio State in the PairWise are not very good.

T-14St. Lawrence
Record19-11-4, 11-7-4 ECAC
Record Rank15
RPI Rank15
PWR Comparisons WonMinnesota, Colorado College, Boston College, St. Cloud St., Air Force, Wisconsin, Lowell, Minnesota State, Alaska, RIT
Games Remaining03/13/2009 ECAC Quarterfinal Game 1 TBD

03/14/2009 ECAC Quarterfinal Game 2 TBD

Analysis - Hard to project out anything for St. Lawrence given that their ECAC Quarterfinal opponent is yet to be determined. St. Lawrence finished in the top 4 in the ECAC regular season standings so they receive a first round bye in the ECAC tournament. If they are swept out of the quarterfinals, though, there is a chance BC could overtake them with some points this weekend.

Record14-11-7, 11-10-5 WCHA
Record Rank21t
RPI Rank16
PWR Comparisons WonColorado College, Boston College, St. Cloud St., Air Force, Wisconsin, Lowell, Minnesota State, Alaska, RIT
Games Remaining03/06/2009 @ Michigan Tech

03/07/2009 @ Michigan Tech

WCHA Opening Round games

Analysis - Minnesota went 1-0-1 against Michigan Tech back in November. Michigan Tech hasn't won a game in 2009 (0-7-5). Minnesota should pick up two Ws this weekend easily, making the likelihood of BC jumping the Gophers slim.

T-17Colorado College
Record16-10-9, 12-9-6 WCHA
Record Rank18
RPI Rank17
PWR Comparisons WonBoston College, St. Cloud St., Wisconsin, Lowell, Minnesota State, Alaska, RIT
Games Remaining03/07/09 @ Denver

WCHA Opening Round games TBD

Analysis - CC is 1-0-1 against Denver this season but Denver has the edge in the WCHA standings. If CC loses at Denver this weekend and BC gets 3-4 points this weekend, the Eagles will likely overtake Colorado College in the PWR heading into the conference tournaments.

T-17Boston College
Record15-12-5, 10-10-5 Hockey East
Record Rank21t
RPI Rank18
PWR Comparisons WonSt. Cloud St., Air Force, Wisconsin, Lowell, Minnesota State, Alaska, RIT
Games Remaining03/06/2009 @ Northeastern

03/07/2009 vs. Northeastern

Hockey East quarterfinals TBD

Analysis - The Eagles easily the toughest draw remaining for the teams in this pack. The Eagles were able to pull it off down the stretch last year, but this year the road is that much tougher.

T-17St. Cloud State
Record18-14-2, 13-12-1 WCHA
Record Rank20
RPI Rank19
PWR Comparisons WonOhio State, Air Force, Wisconsin, Lowell, Minnesota State, Alaska, RIT
Games Remaining03/06/2009 vs. Minnesota State

03/07/2009 @ Minnesota State

WCHA Opening Round games TBD

Analysis - SCSU and Minnesota State currently hold down the 7 and 8 seeds in the WCHA. SCSU has already beaten Minnesota State 4-2 back in December. Best possible outcome for the Eagles is SCSU drops their last two to Minnesota State.

Overall, unless BC has a very strong showing this weekend and in the Hockey East quarterfinals, I don't think they will have enough to overtake the teams above them. Looks like too little, too late this season unless the Eagles can find a way to win the Hockey East tournament and get the conference's auto-bid.

BC has had a forgettable 2009 for sure, posting a pedestrian 6-7-3 record. If the Eagles miss the postseason for the first time since 2001-2002, in my opinion you have to look at the 1 point weekend against Lowell back on February 13-14 as the straw that broke the camel's back.


BCMike said...

Anything can happen...but it's really all on Muse. For those who may not recall, Muse played below average (and that's being very kind) for most of last year up until the Beanpot...then he just turned it on and stood on his head the rest of the season. This year he's started out slow and has gotten slower---but that doesn't mean he's incapable, far from it. We just need him to right the ship upstairs and we could win the Hockey East tourney and earn our bid...because it ain't happenin' any other way this year.

Andrew said...

Following up that 1-pt. Lowell weekend with a 0-pt. UNH weekend was the nail in the coffin. BC needs to sweep NU, then get to the HE Championship game for any hope of an at-large bid, I believe. Look, this team does not have the confidence we saw with last year's squad. I don't know if it was the loss of Gerbe, but I think it has more to do with the loss of Brennan and Bertram, two glue guys that could whip the team into shape. This team is young and penalty prone, and don't have the energy on some nights. Hopefully, this team takes the beating this year and learns from it and gets better for it, like the 01-02 team did.

Andrew said...

Oh, and thank God we won the Nat'l Championship last year, because otherwise I don't know how I would be able to take a year when BU and ND are the 2 undisputed best team in the nation. Please don't give us a BU-ND matchup!

Brian said...

Andrew - FWIW, I think Northeastern, Vermont, Michigan or North Dakota all have a legit shot at the Frozen Four. Here's hoping one of those teams breaks up a BU-ND final (gross).

BC Bills Fan said...

Brian- I haven't seen Vermont or North Dakota, but I agree with you that NU and Michigan have a good chance of getting to the Frozen Four. All that is holding NU back is lack of big game experience, and I really like Michigan's squad this year. I think Denver can be a force as well. Just please, no BU or ND!