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College Hockey:
What a difference a game makes

Friday afternoon, we were discussing among the USCHO staff what one game that evening would have the greatest impact on the PairWise Rankings. We zeroed in on Merrimack at New Hampshire.

Why? That contest got the Warriors to 10 games against Teams Under Consideration (TUC) — and that’s the number needed for that criterion to be considered.

Merrimack’s 6-2-2 record against TUC matches favorably against most teams. That was enough to move the Warriors to No. 6 in the PairWise Rankings as of Saturday morning.

But because the TUC does not include head-to-head games against other TUC, that criterion has yet to come into play against Boston College and UNH. Merrimack will need its game against UNH on Saturday and two at Maine in two weeks to have enough TUC games for that to figure into head-to-head comparisons with those two Hockey East foes.

Merrimack currently wins PairWise comparisons with North Dakota and Denver. With a strong regular-season finish and success in the Hockey East playoffs, Merrimack could even end up a No. 1 regional seed.

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  • Anonymous

    Bittersweet – DaCosta went down :(

    • HENH10

      I am happy for Merrimack, glad to see them having a great year. They looked very fast and talented last night, am hoping UNH can salvage a split, but Lawler is a tough place to play. Tough luck on DaCosta, hopefully he won’t miss much time. I was there, it was a nasty knee on knee, I’m surprised they both didn’t get hurt.

  • Gregoryfam1

    Wow….. Go Warriors

  • B.D.

    I disagree with your statement of “Merrimack currently wins PairWise comparisons with North Dakota and Denver.”

    I believe it assumes an inflated level of quality in the teams Merrrimack has faced.

    • B.D.

      Okay, I think I see what you are getting at. PWR = Gus beats john, who beat jim, who beat frank, who beat Sam, who beat howie, ergo Gus beats Howie.

      • Ed Trefzger

        No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I know you want to believe in some sort of conspiracy, but this is all mathematics. Go to the Pairwise Rankings page linked above and click on Switch to Pairwise Rankings Comparison Grid. That grid page allows you to see the comparisons the NCAA uses for each pair of teams under consideration. Merrimack wins the comparison with those two teams by NCAA criteria.

        • Just askin

          Don’t waste your time. These UND guys are convinced the whole world is against them – and by now it probably is because they whine so much.

          • FightingSioux4ever

            Hey pal, opinions are like earholes: everbody has one. Your’s just stinks more.

          • Just askin

            You sure told me!

          • Bulldogs07

            Agreed. All I’ve heard from the get go is whining and complaining from NoDak fans about how their team has been disrespected. They’ve been moaning about east coast bias for years, and no league is good enough to match the WCHA in their eyes (ignoring the fact that Hockey East has had the last three champs).

            In short, let them whine…their racist team nickname is finally getting axed, and apparently the only thing to do in the High Plains is whine about teams that are better than theirs.

          • WCHA

            Must be a disgruntled Yale fan.

          • UND whines too much

            The “I know you are but what am I” defense. Are you five years old?

          • WCHA

            Six.

          • UND whines too much

            At least you have a sense of humor! But seriously, B.D. has no idea how the Pairwise works.

        • B.D.

          Ed:
          No insult or conspiracy intended, just recapping how the PWR methodology works. If team A beats Team B, then B Beats C, and C beats D, in theory A beats D.

          Its logic flow thus follows that everything gets thrown into flux if at the last game A loses to D. Correct?

        • B.D.

          If the model I listed above is accurate, then it does not take a strong schedule into effect. In effect, a pair of wins against two seperate highly ranked teams could hyper inflate ones standing in a PWR ranking while the team maintains a normal schedule of pretty substandard games.

          Just curious, how does the current model used adjust to strength of schedule?

          • Ed Trefzger

            There is a thorough explanation here:

            http://www.uscho.com/faq/pairwise-rankings-explanation/

            Your description is incorrect.

            RPI is one component. It takes strength of schedule into account. Merrimack loses to Denver and NoDak in that category.

            Another is record against teams under consideration and the RPI is the gatekeeper for which teams are in that category. So strength of schedule is a major factor again. Merrimack beats both in record against teams under consideration.

            Another is record against common opponents. Merrimack again beats both — those two losses to Maine loom large there for the Sioux in this comparison. Even if Merrimack loses its remaining games to Maine, it still will have a better record against them than North Dakota.

            Last is record head-to-head. Neither DU or North Dakota has played Merrimack.

  • wchafan

    Is this the Merrimack team that gave up six goals in a loss to Mass-Lowell? A Mass-Lowell team that had lost 13 in a row? How’s that strength of schedule again?

    • Trey

      As opposed to, say, North Dakota who gave up seven goals and lost twice to the fifth place team in Hockey East?

      • Anonymous

        Or BC who lost to Vermont. People have the dumbest arguments sometimes. Throw out Merrimack’s great season because they had a bad game against Umass Lowell. And ignore the fact that they beat UML in their two other games with them.

        • HENH10

          They are having a great season, nobody can take that away from them. Now, maybe they can upgrade some facilities and they can keep getting some good talent.

  • Anonymous

    Merrimack has beaten the number one ranked team twice this season. This shouldn’t really surprise people. And the “no big road wins” argument just went out the door last night.

    • Lefty

      Folks, you can wait until Monday afternoon to see the updated Top 20, but I’ll give it to you now in advance as I have a built-in pairwise calculator:

      Division 1 Men’s Poll (February 14, 2011)

      1. BC
      2. North Dakota
      3. Yale
      4. Denver
      5. MN-Duluth
      6. Merrimack
      7. Union
      8. Notre Dame
      9. UNH
      10. Wisconsin
      11. RPI
      12. Michigan
      13. Miami
      14. BU
      15. Nebraska-Omaha
      16. Dartmouth
      17. W. Michigan
      18. Maine
      19. Colorado College
      20. Ferris State

      • Beanpot101

        Yea…thanks for not having it 100% right

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