January 18, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Committee Tweaks Pairwise Criteria for 2011

CHN Staff Report

The NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee has tweaked the Pairwise criteria, returning it to a previous state.

The committee has reverted its definition of "Team Under Consideration" back to an earlier one. Now, a TUC is one with a .500 or better RPI.

The "Pairwise" is the moniker for the system the NCAA uses to select and seed the field for the NCAA Tournament. Its entire process is explained on CHN here.

One criterion of the Pairwise is "Record vs. Other Teams Under Consideration." The definition of a TUC, however, has changed over the years. Since 2006, it's been defined as teams ranked in the Top 25 of the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index, i.e. the NCAA's formula for factoring strength of schedule into a team's record). Now, the committee has reverted the definition back to its prior definition.

Going off the current Pairwise, it extends the amount of Teams Under Consideration from 25 to 34. (See: complete RPI)

The consequence is that, because of the arbitrary nature of picking one definition of TUC vs. the other, the Pairwise looks different now than it did yesterday. It's like an exaggerated version of the "TUC Cliff."

(The "TUC Cliff" is a term used to describe what happens when teams fall in and out of TUC status. When this happens, teams' Records vs. TUC will fluctuate, sometimes drastically, thus affecting their placement in the Pairwise. The 2006 change was meant to mitigate this effect, but it still existed.)

The most dramatic beneficiary is Western Michigan, which moves from No. 16 up to No. 11 due to the re-definition. New Hampshire moved from No. 9 to No. 6.

Conversely, the team most adversely affected is Maine, which went from No. 10 to No. 16 under the re-definition.

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