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College Hockey:
USCHO.com Debuts PairWise Rankings

— U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) is pleased to announce the release of the 2002-2003 edition of its PairWise Ranking (PWR) system for college hockey.

The PWR mimics the selection process used in determining teams for the NCAA postseason tournament. It has accurately predicted the teams each of the six seasons it has been used, since it was first announced by USCHO in the 1996-1997 season. The PWR is computed dynamically from USCHO’s database of games.

Each team under consideration is compared with every other team in each of four criteria: record against common opponents, head to head competition, record against other teams under consideration, and the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). To be included, a team must have an RPI of 0.5000 or better. For each comparison won, a team is awarded one point, and then teams are ranked based on the number of comparisons won.

Maine is currently ranked first in the PWR, which takes into account all games through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2003. There are 30 other teams presently under consideration, and Maine wins comparisons with each of them, earning a total of 30 comparison points.

Cornell, North Dakota and Colorado College all have 28 comparison points and are therefore tied for second. Three more teams, St. Cloud State, Boston College and Boston University are tied for fifth. New Hampshire is No. 8, Michigan No. 9, and Minnesota, Dartmouth and Ferris State are tied at No. 10.

There were a few significant changes to the NCAA’s selection criteria, and hence to the PWR, since last season.

The first is the definition of a team under consideration changed from a team with a 0.500 or better winning percentage to a team with a 0.5000 or better RPI. This was put into place to compensate for teams playing insular schedules and therefore having an artificially inflated winning percentage.

The second change is that one criterion from previous seasons has been eliminated. In the past, a fifth comparison was each team’s record in its last 16 games. This criterion was removed due to vagaries of schedule strength and drastically different season lengths.

USCHO has also slightly modified its presentation of the PWR, in addition to the changes the NCAA ordered. In past years, ties in comparison points were broken by the RPI. This year, teams that are tied are still listed as being tied, but are still ordered by RPI. So in past years, Cornell would be No. 2, North Dakota No. 3, and Colorado College No. 4. This year, the teams are listed in the same order, but are shown as tied for second.

This season marks an eagerly-awaited expansion in the NCAA tournament to 16 teams, with four regional tournaments determining the participants in the Frozen Four, this year to be held in HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., on April 10 and 12, 2003. Past tournaments have had fields of 12 participating schools. The four regionals will be held in Worcester, Mass., Providence, R.I., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Minneapolis.

Placement and seeding of teams in those regionals is governed by more complicated rules.

The 2002 NCAA champion is Minnesota, which won its national championship at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., last April. So far this season, Minnesota is tied for No. 10 in the PWR with 20 comparison points.

U.S. College Hockey Online, also referred to as USCHO.com, is in its seventh season of operation, and is generally acknowledged as the most comprehensive repository of college hockey statistics, award-winning college hockey correspondents, and interactive fan features like the USCHO.com Fan Forum and the annual Vote For Hobey. USCHO covers more than 200 varsity teams in six divisions, with extensive coverage in men’s and women’s hockey. USCHO has a staff of over 20 people located throughout the college hockey world.


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