Hockey Banter, Week XXI: A Quart Of Pairwise So We'll Have Good Feelings, Ya?

Emily Fahey, BC Heights Sports

We pretend last weekend didn't happen and look at a couple Pairwise scenarios in this week's Banter.

Grant Salzano: So last week never happened, and BC is going to end up 2nd overall in the Pairwise when all is said and done Sunday evening.

We're going to keep things forward-focused in this iteration of the banter. A quart of Pairwise so we'll have good feelings, ya?

Joseph Gravellese: Sounds good.

GS: Given the remaining teams alive for the 15 slot, who is your ideal round 1 opponent?

JG: That is a really tough call. I guess my ideal would probably be to see a really low ranked autobid sneak through in the NCHC and give BC the AHA champion.

Barring that....well, like I said, it's a tough call. If BC ends up playing an autobid team, you're talking about a red hot team vs BC that's been idle for 2 of 3 weeks.

Ideally, you want to see BC face a team that likes to play a fast game and go up and down the ice --- let BC get their groove back a little bit.

That team might be North Dakota. But I don't think anyone wants to face NoDak in the first round.

GS: No, though we have a good history with them. But that's a scary opponent.

You're right about an autobid coming in red hot, but there's only so much "hot" you can have. Keep in mind the "red hot" will have had a week to cool off by the time regionals roll around.

JG: This is sort of a captain obvious alert but Mercyhurst would probably be a good matchup. They give up a lot of shots - around 37 a game - and win a lot of their games by putting up big numbers, scorimg nearly 4 goals a game. Theoretically BC should be able to feast off that kind of a matchup, unless they've regressed worse than we thought. But Mercyhurst is probably a pipe dream.

I would be well beyond stunned if Minnesota doesn't win the B1G.

GS: Well, I'm sure everyone thought the same about Hockey East.

JG: Uh no. Everyone said BC would have trouble with ND.

I'm surprised they lost but I'm not STUNNED. If someone other than Minnesota wins the B1G I will be stunned.

GS: Well, how about the teams around the bubble? I can't imagine North Dakota is your "best case scenario."

JG: Well, Colgate is the team currently sitting at #15. The thing with ECAC teams is that it's really hard to tell how they'll do in the tournament because they don't play nearly as many marquee non-conference games, so I don't want to underestimate them. We all saw how badly Union teed off on BC last year - not to mention how good the ECAC was generally in the tourney.

But the thing with Colgate is that they're not nearly as mysteriously fearsome as a Union. I'm not trying to smack talk them here, I just think that on paper they look like one of the easier matchups.

They're a big mystery, because let's be honest, have you seen them play at all? I haven't, and I watch an absurd amount of college hockey. So I don't have much to go off of.

One of the things I fear with the ECAC teams is that they tend to be a little older and bigger. But Colgate is actually one of the younger teams (average age 21y, 10mo) and actually shorter on average than BC.

So I would feel good about a Colgate matchup. But I don't think it'll happen. I think - and tell me if I'm wrong - they'll slip to the wrong side of the bubble with a loss to Quinnipiac tonight.

GS: Yeah, I haven't had a chance to play around with the scenarios but it might be tough to have everything fall into place. The Kid made it seem like the most likely scenarios are "We play a second autobid" or "we play Michigan."

Is Michigan worst-case?

JG: I think so. They're a good team. I still don't understand how they lost to Penn State. They've actually somehow lost to Penn State three times this year, which is the reason why they are in this PWR predicament despite having an excellent season, including a season-opening win over BC.

They also went up to the Whitt and went 1-0-1 in a weekend series at UNH.

I don't want anything to do with Michigan. But it's looking pretty likely, honestly, which...welp.

GS: Yeah, they would be tough. But like BC they are stumbling to the finish line.

JG: True. Also, Michigan could pretty easily be a case of being fearful based on the name on the front of their jersey. They are #18 in the nation in offense and mid-pack defensively. But in terms of overall talent on the team... They blow away most of the other possible opponents.

I think actual-actual worst case is a cluster-eff situation that would necessitate BC playing another Hockey East team in the first round.

It's highly unlikely, but it's conceivable that BC could end up with NU, Vermont or UNH, depending on how things shake out and how many HEA teams get in. I fear our own league's team's more than most of the other at-larges.

GS: That would be kind of lame although I'll take my chances with a UNH or Vermont type.

JG: True.

It's the Clay Witt factor that makes NU a potentially scary opponent. But they are on a heck of a cold streak.

I don't think we dare start talking about ideal second round matchups; not until BC gets the wind back in their sails. But needless to say I'll probably feel a little better if Notre Dame doesn't end the weekend at #7.

But I bet if you asked the players on the team, they'd want another crack at ND.

I'm all set, though. Ha.

GS: Haha... No kidding.

JG: Let us not forget a little historical tidbit from 2006, of course... BU swept BC in the regular season series, beat BC in the Beanpot final, and beat BC again in the Hockey East final...then BC and BU matched up in Worcester and the Eagles cranked them 5-0 en route to the Frozen Four.

That might not be directly relevant to this situation, but that's always a fun one to remember.

GS: Heh.

Always.

Well I just headed over to the Pairwise Predictor and plugged in what I think will happen. I've got Minnesota, Union, Ferris, NoDak, Mercyhurst, and UNH (lol) winning their respective tournaments.

That gives us Michigan. Lol.

With the semifinal winners I input, of course.

JG: I'm kind of assuming Michigan, but expect the unexpected in college hockey.

We'll see you Sunday to break it all down.

GS: Let the real March Madness begin.

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