Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Its Time To Dump Pairwise, RPI, Brackologists, Bonus Wins & Fan Confusion

Over two million fans attended college hockey games this winter and yet you'd be hard pressed to find 50 fans in the entire country who can coherently describe the PairWise System and how the "At-Large" teams are selected for the NCAA Tournament. To make matters worse you can't find too many coaches that understand the process either.

Head coach Mike Eaves was unhappy with a result that saw just three WCHA teams get in.

"It was disappointing. We knew it was a slim chance, but still to see the teams on the wall was disappointing.

"It sure would be interesting to talk to someone on the committee. Because how does the WCHA only get three teams in there? To me, that's the biggest question that I have. You get past our own disappointment, and I look at our league and how strong our league is."


Red Berenson can't figure out why Michigan wasn't sent to Grand Rapids:
"It's about the system, and that's the way it works," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "I don't fully understand it, but that's how it works. We've got to play somewhere. It's how we play, that's the most important thing. Grand Rapids has been a good place to play, but we've lost there too."

George Gwozdecky regrets DU's late season slide and yet DU almost made the tournament until Wisconsin defeated St Cloud & Dartmouth beat St. Lawrence.
"When you don't have any power over your fate, you have to use that to educate and learn for the future," DU coach George Gwozdecky said. "We controlled our own destiny at one point but we didn't do a good enough job down the stretch. If we have everyone return who is eligible to return, we should be in good shape. But that is yet to be determined."

And yet a simple solution exists that would be easy to understand, was used by college hockey for many years to select the field and would allow more "Cinderella Teams" to make the Final 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Allow the conference playoff decide the NCAA Field. No excuses, no confusion and no misunderstandings. The teams that play well at the end of the season would be rewarded accordingly.

The final four teams in the WCHA, CHAA & Hockey East playoffs would make the Tournament. The ECAC would receive two spots reserved for their playoff Champion & runner-up. Finally the AHA & CHA would receive one spot.

How would the teams be seeded in the Tournament? Easy, based on their playoff tournament position the positions would be known before the season started, minus any changes for attendance purposes. Then in future years the field could be rotated.

The LetsGoDU College Hockey Playoff System


Note: I assumed that BU defeated UMass in the imaginary HE Consolation game, but they could be switched.

West - Denver
WCHA #1 (Minnesota)
ECAC #2 (Quinnipiac)
HE #3 (Boston U)
CHA #1 (Air Force)

Midwest - Grand Rapids
CCHA #1 (Notre Dame)
HE #2 (UNH)
WCHA #4 (SCSU)
HE #4 (UMass)

Northeast - Rochester
ECAC #1 (Clarkson)
WCHA #2 (North Dakota)
CCHA #3 (Michigan State)
CCHA #4 (Lake Superior)

East - Manchester
HE #1 (Boston College)
CCHA #2 (Michigan)
WCHA #3 (Wisconsin)
AHA #4 (AL-Huntsville)

You'd swap UNH & Michigan for attendance purposes and the field would be complete.

Every second year you could rotate the formula & you'd come up with:

West - Denver
WCHA #1 (Minnesota)
CCHA #2 (Michigan)
HE #3 (Boston U)
AHA #1 (Air Force)

Midwest - Grand Rapids
CCHA #1 (Notre Dame)
WCHA #2 (North Dakota)
CCHA #3 (Michigan State)
HE #4 (UMass)

Northeast- Rochester
ECAC #1 (Clarkson)
HE #2 (New Hampshire)
WCHA #4 (St. Cloud)
CCHA #4 (Lake Superior)

East - Manchester
HE #1 (Boston College)
ECAC #2 (Quinnipiac)
WCHA #3 (Wisconsin)
CHA #1 (AL-Huntsville)

Under this scenario you'd swap New Hampshire & Quinnipiac.

Q & A:


Q: What happened if the regular season champs lost in the first round of the playoffs?
A: Tough Nookie. They're out.

Q: Would it hurt regional attendance?
A: Probably, but in the long run you'd have far for intersectional matchups.

Q: Why wouldn't the ECAC get three teams?
A: you could go with three ECAC, HE, WCHA & CCHA teams. I just went with the historical average of the number of teams from each conference.

Q: Could teams from the same conference meet in the first round?
A: Yes, if that's what it took to get a Regional host to play at home.

Q: How did you come up with the brackets?
A: In the first scenario I made the WCHA an imaginary #1 seed & HE a #2 seed. In the second scenario I went with HE as a #1 seed & WCHA as a #2. You could keep rotating the formula so that the CCHA & ECAC were the #1 seeds every fourth year.

7 comments:

Matt said...

I like your idea... it's consistent, and it's fair. It also rewards late season performance.

If you make the autobids 3, 3, 3, and 3 for the Big 4 conferences, with both AHA and CHA getting 1, that's a 14 team field... what if you then go by RPI/PWR/KRACH to award the last two autobids? This protects dominant teams that slip up in a game or two at the end of the year but are clearly deserving of a chance at the title, and allows for the dominant conference(s) in any given year to be rewarded with an extra bid or two.

~whitty

du78 said...

You have Air Force twice in scenario 2 and you forgot UAH in that scenraio

Anonymous said...

Sheets, Wow you really woke up stupid today.

ron said...

Are you on crack DG?

People look at the PWR all backwards and say that it was "out of their hands" but at the top teams have shown, if you keep winning, it's in your hands.

Every team already has a shot at the NCAA tournament. Giving a 1-20-7 team a NCAA berth because they finish 2nd in a conference tournament is ridiculous.

I think the NCAA needs to better figure out the "regional" system first. This screwing around with seedings because a lower-seed is a host, or because they need to sell tickets is dumb. Put regionals in hockey hot-beds, touristy towns and leave them there and rotate every five years IMHO.

dggoddard said...

Ronnie,

OK, you caught me. I was smoking a little crack on my way to work today.

Anonymous said...

If you use the playoffs as the only determining factor for the NCAA tournament, what happens to the importance of the regular season?

dggoddard said...

Your regular season determines your playoff seeding just like every other sport.