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College Hockey:
NCAA proposes tweak to common opponents criteria for tournament selection

A proposed change to the formula that selects the at-large teams for the NCAA Division I men’s hockey tournament could lessen the advantage given for beating common opponents multiple times.

The tweak that the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee is forwarding to the Division I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet involves the calculation of the results versus common opponents component of the selection criteria.

If approved, the criteria will be scored by adding the winning percentages against individual opponents. In the past, teams were compared by their overall record against common opponents. (See sidebar for example.)

The change would mean that a team that has a 5-0 record against a common opponent gets the same amount of points as a team with a 1-0 record against the same opponent.

Conversely, going 0-1 against a team would mean the same as going 0-5, decreasing the negative impact on a team’s score.

The results against common opponents is one of four criteria by which teams under consideration for the NCAA tournament (those with a Ratings Percentage Index of .500 or better) are compared to all other teams under consideration. The others are head-to-head competition, record against teams under consideration if both teams have played at least 10 such games and the RPI.

USCHO and other media outlets compile those results as the PairWise Rankings. (See USCHO’s PairWise Rankings explanation for more details.)

The Division I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet is set to act on the proposal Sept. 14.


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  • Thefightingman

    They forgot to add one:  whatever team has a home NCAA tournament game, they will do everything in their power to get them in for attendance sake.  See Wisconsin, 2008.

  • Joe C

    This is a nice way to reward schools that try to schedule tougher matchups out of conference and also to minimize season sweeps in conference.

    • Astrocyte

      I agree. Beating the 52nd ranked team in the country 4 times a year shouldn’t elevate team A above team B who beat them once. Those teams that are at-large at the end of the season should be strong enough to sweep lower-ranked teams, anyway. 

      • Goalie Fan

        This should keep a team like Yale (not saying they were not good, just not #1) from becoming the top team in the country last year….   Everyone knew they were not the team to beat yet they remained at the top!  Because of the flaw in the way the bullsh~it NCAA does things, it actually hurt them in the end as the eventual bulldogs proved that the WCHA is the best and strongest conference in the nation.  You can bet that              ~Sioux Forever!~

      • Joe C

        It helps when you win a non-conference game. Take last year. Notre Dame went to BU and beat them soundly. BC and Merrimack (IIRC) did very well against BU. BU was on the bubble. However, under the old formula, BC and Merrimack got “more credit” for beating BU several times even if they lost a game to BU.

        By the same token, it can also add weight to matchups at the end of the regular season and in conference tournaments. In the past, one more win or loss against a conference foe did not have as great an impact. Now, being 4-0 is worth .250 more than being 3-1 against a common opponent (1.000 v .750). That .250 might be the difference between being a seeding or being on the bubble.

        But this BU alum still thinks BU did not do enough to get into last year’s tournament.

  • http://twitter.com/blackbear93 John Forsyth

    I have completed an analysis of last year’s Pairwise looking at instances among tournament teams and those on the bubble where a change in this component would flip the comparison.  Not a single thing changed.  So whatever the reason for this change, it isn’t the usual “We didn’t like what happened last year so we’re making a rule against it so it never happens again (see: Wisconsin and Vermont).”

  • KEEP D1 Hockey Safegaurded

    This needs to be looked at from the perspective of keeping any and all BCS type factors out of COllege hockey, ensuring that all teams have the same fair and equal opportunity to compete for National Championships regardless of the Conference Flag they play under.
    So does this formula in some create an easier path for more  teams from any single “super conference, or so called top conference”to gain multiple entrants, at the expense of those considered to not be. 
    Should this prove to be a move by big conferences, it needs to be negated right away.  College hockey needs to remain as unbiased as possible in NCAA selections.   The way the Big Ten and other money conferences ruined college football can not be allowed to happen in hockey.

  • Vod_Katonic

    Does any of this really matter when you have the likes of Mike McShane (McShame) , Norwich Head Coach is on the selection committee that gets to “choose the teams” they want in the D3 Bracket?  A bad example of this is how they kept Castleton State out (number 3 in the country and had beaten Norwich at home as well) of the NCAA tournament.  They can juggle the numbers all they want for the smoke and mirrors.  However, there is an old boy network in place that is used to make sure only marquee programs get in (other than winning their conference).

  • KEEP D1 Hockey Safegaurded

    “Conversely, going 0–1 against a team would mean the same as going 0–5, decreasing the negative impact on a team’s score.”This alone speaks volumes as to the intent of the proposed change.  The change is by design being put up by the “power” confrences so as to aid them in gaining multiple selections for the NCAA.  There for a bottom feeder like ohio state, if they get squashed as they will in the B10-CCHA and fair well in OCC play they are more likely to earn a NCAA birth.  This can not be allowed to happen.  It has to remain teams with the best records, period.  Thus if ohio state looses 3 to Western, 2 to BGSU and 4 MSU they do not earn a birth.  It has to be and remain do well in your CONFERENCE, not that you play in some ” better conference in speculation” but that you take care of business.I have no thoughts on d3 but it too should be free of selection comittiesI personally feel that they could and should take only the top teams from each confernces, as evenyl distributed as possible.

  • KEEP D1 Hockey Safegaurded

    Further, when we examine the NCAA and their compulsion to pick and choose topics of PC banter I say enough is enough. College hockey needs to break from the NCAA and establish its own college amateur governing body.  ONE THAT IS NOT POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. 
    The fighting SIOUX WILL FOREVER BE THE FIGHTING SIOUX, JUST AS THE MIAMI REDSKINS ARE FOREVER REDSKINS.

    • Duluth06ChE

      Get over it UND fans. Seriously. No one cares.

    • Thefightingman

      I thought North Dakota was already out of the NCAA – joining some mystery hockey conference with little television coverage in the Upper Midwest, getting many of their players from Canada, and leaving D-II otherwise to have little chance at the other sports.  Might as well become an NAIA school at this point so you can do whatever you want.

    • kuhn & Friends

      apparently they don’t teach proper spelling in Sioux land, good thing you’re keeping it guarded* ….FYI I love the Sioux nickname and plan on getting a jersey before they are gone

  • Theflyingscotsman48

    Sounds like more NCAA BCS crap to me …