NCAA tourney bad news, four vie for league crown, and a statistical oddity

These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. If the season ended today, Hockey East would only get three teams into the NCAA tournament.

After this weekend’s action, only Boston University, UMass Lowell, and Providence are on pace to earn selections. All three teams are in the top 10 of the PairWise, but beyond that, there’s trouble.

Notre Dame, Vermont, and Boston College now sit just outside of the tournament, ranking as the top three excluded teams.

There’s still one more week of regular season action, followed by the playoffs, so all three could play their way in, but they’re on the precipice.

And no, if Boston College wins the regular season title, that earns them nothing in terms of an automatic berth. That goes to the winner of the Hockey East tournament (as it should).

2. Four teams will go head-to-head for the regular season crown.

Only four teams can finish first and those four play each other this upcoming weekend. Boston College and Lowell, currently in first and fourth place, respectively, play a Thursday and Friday home-and-home series.

Second-place Boston University, two points behind BC, hosts third-place Notre Dame.

The league office couldn’t have drawn it up any better.

3. Two teams never trailed this weekend, but only came away with a total of three points.

Boston College never trailed Vermont, but had to settle for only two ties, a potentially disastrous result as noted above.

Maine never trailed Merrimack, but fared even worse, getting only a single point after losing on Friday and settling for a tie one night later. The Black Bears are now locked in at 11th place.

(That last item courtesy of Jim Connelly.)

8 COMMENTS

  1. I hope Northeastern wins the HE Championship again and gets an NCAA tourney autobid. That will throw a wrench into the pairings, seedings, venues, pretty much everything. With that offense, they can do it too.

    • I’m not sure, then Dave, why bother with a regular season (“if BC doesn’t win the regular season title, if gets them nothing, ….as it should”) And this is not about BC; it’s about THE PROCESS.
      I mean, play 30+ games, you win your league title, have a strong SOS, and your only reward is to get to play the 1st round of playoffs at home (which the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishing teams get equally as well.) The semis and finals, then, literally are played “on the road.” Since the methodology of placing teams in various arenas for the NCAA tourney is so very skewed per the prescribed methodology (read Jason Malloy,) let alone how several teams with near 0 legitimate qualifications according to the prescribed methodology (Pairwise) are then selected omitting much more qualified teams, why then, fuss with a regular season at all. Why not do it like the Baseball’s All Star Game…..let the fans vote every year on who gets selected.
      It would be no more ridiculous!

    • Northeastern has the second worst goalie in the league. And in conference play, they’ve given up two less goals than they’ve scored. So even if they get anywhere near the tournament, they’re not going far.

      • They have the same goalie who won the HE Championship in 2016. I’d like to see any team get into a track meet with NU. Or take a bunch of bad penalties against them.

        • I agree, but the same could be said of UML, except their D and goaltending are better. Usually though HEA tournament games are lower scoring affairs. I think had UML not played two games with PC the night before, they were looking at a 3rd consecutive HEA championship.

          • Actually it would have been 3 in 4 years as Lowell had lost to BU the year before. But agreed on the 3OTs vs PC the night before as they were more or less running on fumes vs NU which did them in.

          • You have made a very good point. UML still gave NU all they could handle last year, considering what they did less than 24 hours before the championship game. If Lowell shows up and plays their system for 60 minutes, they could really make a run in the HEA and NCAA tournament this year.

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