Despite struggling in a three game series with #9 Vermont, Boston College hockey is on to the TD Garden for the Hockey East semifinals, where they'll face off against red hot Northeastern on Friday at 8 PM.
While what's primarily at stake is the Hockey East title, this weekend will also determine seeding for the NCAA tournament. The selection show is Sunday morning, and the NCAA Regionals are next weekend.
Boston College is definitely in the NCAA tournament no matter what happens, sitting at #5 in the Pairwise as of right now. Realistically, one of two things will likely happen. If BC advances further than Providence in this weekend's Hockey East tournament, BC will end up #4 or maybe #3, pinning down a 1 seed. If they don't, they will end up probably as the #5 team, and therefore the tournament's top 2 seed.
However, there are some outlier scenarios that would produce best and worst results for BC.
According to College Hockey News' Probability Matrix, BC has less than a 0.1% chance of earning the tournament's #1 overall seed. I'm pretty positive there's only one way this can happen and it requires everything going right, in a bunch of unlikely ways.
In order to get this scenario, BC needs to obviously win the Hockey East tournament, and the tourney final win would have to come over Providence, not Lowell. They also need Army to defeat RIT in the AHC championship game. They'll need Wisconsin and Ohio State to win the B1G tournament quarterfinal games, with Ohio State ultimately beating Michigan in the conference final. Harvard beats Dartmouth in the ECAC final. Minnesota Duluth beats Denver in the NCHC final, while SCSU beats North Dakota in the NCHC consolation game. Lastly, Michigan Tech tops Bowling Green in the WCHA final.
Needless to say, all of these things coming together is unlikely.
The next best thing
Getting to #1 overall and getting to play the AHC champ would be nice but realistically what would be really helpful for BC if they're aiming for Worcester instead of Albany or a potential Western shuffle would be to get ahead of Quinnipiac on the 1 seed list.
BC can also possibly get up to #2 overall, which would likely earn BC a date with the WCHA or B1G champ, a team that's likely to be an easier matchup on paper than potential 4 seeds like Duluth or possibly Yale.
If BC wins the Hockey East title, they COULD pass Quinnipiac, but they need some very specific things to happen. QU needs to either lose in the semifinal to Dartmouth, OR QU can lose in the final ONLY to St. Lawrence while BC wins in the final ONLY against Providence. If QU makes the final and loses to Harvard, or if BC makes the final and beats Lowell instead of Providence, it won't do enough to flip BC and QU.
(Probably. I might be missing the way some other oddball results could screw with things, but this seems generally correct.)
BC can also pass #2 St. Cloud St in a few scenarios.
If BC wins the HEA title vs. UML AND SCSU drops both the NCHC semifinal and third place game, OR
If BC wins the HEA title vs. PC AND SCSU loses their semifinal game.
If both things come together, with BC passing SCSU and QU, the Eagles could get all the way up to #2.
Worst Case Scenario
The worst BC can do in the Pairwise is finish 6th, something that CHN says has a 4% chance of happening.
Pretty much the only way this happens as far as I can tell is... Denver wins the NCHC title, and BC loses this weekend to either Northeastern or UMass Lowell. Not totally far fetched, but very specific.
This would actually create a pretty screwy situation where I believe Providence, BC and BU would all be 2 seeds, so have fun with that one, committee.
With 6 Hockey East teams likely to make the NCAA tournament, the process of slotting teams in to regionals will be fascinating. It should be interesting to see how it all shakes out.