August 19, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Committee Approves Tournament Criteria Change

CHN Staff Report

The NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee has approved a change to the selection criteria for entrance into the NCAA Tournament. It is expected to be finalized when the NCAA's Championships Cabinet meets on Sept. 14.

The change affects the "Record vs. Common Opponents" criterion to the selection process. In hockey, the field is chosen via a completely objective methodology, commonly known as the Pairwise. The Pairwise is comprised of four criteria, with each team compared to each other team on the basis of those criteria. The teams with the most comparisons "won" are selected to the NCAAs, and seeded accordingly.

Until now, the "Record vs. Common Opponents" was calculated with a straight won-loss percentage. After the change, it will be calculated by totaling the won-loss percentages against each of the teams that are common.

For instance, take the following example:

Team A

Record vs. Team C ... 3-0 ... 1.000
Record vs. Team D ... 0-2 ... 0.000

Team B

Record vs. Team C ... 1-0 ... 1.000
Record vs. Team D ... 1-2 ... 0.333

In this example, Teams C and D are Common Opponents of Teams A and B. In the past, in comparing Team A and B to each other, Team A would have a common opponents record of 3-2 (.600), and Team B would have a common opponents record of 2-2 (.500). Team A would win this criteria.

Going forward, instead, Team A will have a Common Opponents score of 1.000 (1.000 + 0.000), while Team B would have a Common Opponents score of 1.333 (1.000 + 0.333). Team B would win this criteria under the new rule.

The change is meant to even out the impact of defeating a weak opponent numerous times. Likewise, it will help teams that lose to a strong opponent numerous times. Its long-term impact remains to be seen.

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