Brian: A forgettable weekend for Boston College's winter sports.
The men's basketball team lost to Miami 69-58 on Saturday behind Jack McClinton and a barrage of Hurricane three point buckets. Watching McClinton cross up Joe Trapani on SportsCenter Sunday was pretty painful to watch. The loss drops the Eagles to 19-9 (7-6 in the ACC) with three regular season games to play ... and the NCAA Tournament is far from a lock for the Eagles. Especially after Maryland's upset of North Carolina on Saturday, our signature win over North Carolina isn't looking as great as it once was. Also, Miami's win at the Eagles expense keeps their NCAA tournament bid alive.
The ACC NCAA tournament picture seems like North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State are locks, and Miami (FL), Boston College, Virginia Tech and Maryland are on the bubble.
In my opinion, the Eagles still have work left to do to make the NCAA tournament. So Jeff, what will it take to get the Eagles into the NCAAs?
Jeff: I would say your opinion is certainly correct. The Eagles do have work left to do in order to make the NCAA tourny. Even though the Eagles have two great wins by going 2-0 against UNC and Duke, they have accumulated too many losses to have punched their ticket to the dance yet. Losing out would put them at 7-9 in conference and there is absolutely no chance that the Eagles go to the tournament with a 4 game losing streak to end the regular season unless they win the ACC tournament. Losing their last 3 against Florida State, NC State, and Georgia Tech is very unlikely. Finishing 10-6 is still a possibility with 9-7 the most likely scenario. 10-6 would get them to a point where they can talk about what seed they deserve, possibly a 6 if they can make some noise in the ACC tournament. 9-7 gets them in but as a 8-10 seed. 8-8 in conference would leave them squarely on the bubble where they would really need a win in the ACC tournament to feel good about themselves.
Let me say about the loss in Miami that Miami just shot their way to a victory. They could've easily missed 4 more 3s in which case the Eagles would've won the game or at least had a chance to win at the end. Miami shot 55% from 3 for the game including the demoralizing 69% in the first half. Don't get down on the Eagles for losing this noon ACC road game.
Brian: Meanwhile, the men's hockey team dropped a pair of games to New Hampshire this weekend. The losses left the Eagles at 13-12-5 (8-10-5 Hockey East), good for 6th place in the Hockey East standings. Jerry York's boys have 4 regular season games left - a pair of what I'll consider must-wins against Providence this weekend and a home-and-home series against Hockey East's #1 seed Northeastern. It is crucial to the Eagles to register 4 points this upcoming weekend against Providence (currently 9th place in Hockey East). Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Friars have something to play for as well as they battle Maine for the 8th and final spot in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
If the season ended today, the Eagles are out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001-2002. So what will it take to get the hockey team into the NCAAs?
Jeff: Interesting trend there - Eagles win it all and then fail to make the tournament the following year. The Eagles haven't officially missed the tournament yet this year but it seems pretty close to a certainty that they will at this point. BC has won so few of their games in 2009 that it seems they would have to win out in order to make it. There is no reason to be optimistic about this year's team that they might do just that other than having blind faith in Jerry York.
Brian: You are correct in noting the trend Jeff. That would be 2 for 3 when the Eagles win the NCAA title the prior year and fail to make the NCAAs the following year. In 1950, after our first title, we actually made it back to the Frozen Four (the tournament was just a Frozen Four back then), but we finished in fourth place losing to Colorado College and Michigan, in the consolation game, by an aggregate score of 20-9. Ouch.
While there is certainly no reason to be optimistic, I think the Eagles can still get into the NCAAs without winning the Hockey East tournament championship and receiving the conference's auto bid. The scenario would includes 4 points this weekend against Providence and somehow, somehow managing to sweep Northeastern in the weekend regular season finale. Those 8 points would push the Eagles record to 17-12-5 (12-10-5 HE), which places them back on the bubble. Those 29 points in the Hockey East standings probably leave the Eagles with a 4 or a 5 seed in the Hockey East tournament. A four seed gets you home ice, but the most likely scenario is that the Eagles end up as the 5 seed and play Vermont in the first round. Again, the Eagles will have to be impressive and either sweep the Catamounts or take the series in 3. Even then after all that, that still might not be enough unless the Eagles make a good showing in the Hockey East semis.
Certainly a long shot, indeed, but if the Eagles can go 6-1 or 7-1 down the stretch, and some other teams on the bubble self-destruct, the Eagles can still make the postseason. However, having already lost 2 games to Northeastern this season - unless NU already has the Hockey East #1 seed locked up before next weekend and they have nothing to play for - it is certainly improbable that the Eagles can get 4 points from the red hot Huskies.