Last year I waited for the NCAA to release its first rankings of the season before attempting to sort out the great cluster-you-know-what that is the selection process. We at USCHO attempt to mimic the process via our Pairwise Rankings. I’m going to use these for the initial attempt and then probably switch to the NCAA criteria once they are available, at least for in-region comparisons. A couple of caveats:
- Our PWR does not include one criterion: record against teams ranked by the NCAA. This is of course coming on 2/13.
- The other criteria follow. Note that while USCHO applies them equally, the NCAA committee does not.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Win Percentage
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Quality of Wins
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Head-to-Head Results
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Record Against Common Opponents Within Region
- We’ll use the regional PWRs to seed teams within region, and the national PWR to compare teams from different regions. Note that the NCAA does not produce a single, national ranking. More on this below.
That said, we can make some assumptions and pretend we are the committee and select and seed the NCAA field using the ranking and seeding process as if the season ended today. Here’s what we’ll do:
1. Assign automatic qualifiers to the league champions. The tournament winner of each of the six conferences eligible for an AQ (ECAC East, ECAC Northeast, MIAC, NCHA, NESCAC and SUNYAC) gets an automatic bid to the NCAAs. Our big assumption here is the team currently in first place will win the league title. In the event of a tie, league tiebreakers are used. If it still can’t be resolved, then the team with the highest PWR rating will be chosen.
2. The remaining four NCAA bids will be handed out using the PWR. Pool B, which consists of teams the ECAC West and MCHA, is guaranteed one of the four spots, so the highest team currently among those teams will get the nod here. The remaining three at-large teams (Pool C) will be the next two highest teams in the PWR. Using the PWR, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll first look at a teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s overall ranking, and then at individual comparisons to teams that are near it.
3. We will be using USCHOÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s national PWR. There are also regional PWRs, since that’s the way the NCAA will do their rankings. However, come Selection Sunday, the NCAA does compare teams from the East and West regions to select the Pool B and Pool C teams, so we’ll use a similar process here.
4. Once the ten teams are selected, we’ll seed them using the PWRs and then use the same guidelines the NCAA uses concerning travel restrictions, etc. to make the brackets.
5. The standings, PWR, etc. we’ll use include games played through Thursday, February 18.
Based on the current standings, AQs would be handed out to the following teams:
ECAC East Ã¢â‚¬â€ Southern Maine (wins tiebreaker with Castleton)
ECAC Northeast Ã¢â‚¬â€ UMass-Dartmouth (wins tiebreaker with Curry)
MIAC Ã¢â‚¬â€ Gustavus Adolphus
NCHA Ã¢â‚¬â€ Wisconsin-Stout
NESCAC Ã¢â‚¬â€ Wesleyan
SUNYAC Ã¢â‚¬â€ Oswego
Using the PWR:
The Pool B bid goes to Manhattanville, which is the top Pool B team in the PWR and is 3-0-1 in individual matchups over Neumann, the next closest at-large team.
The Pool C bids at the moment go to St. Norbert, Neumann and UW-River Falls, based on the assumption made above.
That leaves us a field of (ranked by PWR):
- Southern Maine
- St. Norbert
- UW-River Falls
- Gustavus Adolphus
This would mean the first round would be:
- Southern Maine at Mass-Dartmouth
- Wesleyan At Neumann
Quaterfinals would be:
- S. Maine/UMD at Manhattanville
- Wesleyan/Neumann at Oswego
- Gustavus Adolphus at UW-Stout
- UW-River Falls at St. Norbert
Winners meet in Superior. Speaking of Superior, they’re on the bubble, along with Norwich and Hobart. Lots of hockey left to be played – I’ll update this next week with the official NCAA rankings.