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osualum86
02-17-2014, 11:53 AM
Hard to believe the last regular season games are here. Seems like not that long ago I was saying how I could not wait for the season to start! Coming into this weekend, the Buckeyes are setting in 5th place in the WCHA. They lead Bemidji State by 4 points at 28 to 24. If the Buckeyes can pick up three points this weekend, they will stay in 5th place. Back in October, the Buckeyes were able to get a split with North Dakota on the road, losing Friday's game 5-2, then bouncing back to win Saturday's game 2-1. These are important games for North Dakota as Minnesota-Duluth, mathematically at least, is within striking distance five points behind (48 to 43). However, in order to overtake North Dakota, UMD would need to get six points at Minnesota and North Dakota would need to be swept by Ohio State. Should be an interesting last weekend of regular season hockey in the WCHA, then the playoffs start next weekend!

robertearle
02-17-2014, 12:32 PM
Hard to believe the last regular season games are here. Seems like not that long ago I was saying how I could not wait for the season to start! Coming into this weekend, the Buckeyes are setting in 5th place in the WCHA. They lead Bemidji State by 4 points at 28 to 24. If the Buckeyes can pick up three points this weekend, they will stay in 5th place. Back in October, the Buckeyes were able to get a split with North Dakota on the road, losing Friday's game 5-2, then bouncing back to win Saturday's game 2-1. These are important games for North Dakota as Minnesota-Duluth, mathematically at least, is within striking distance five points behind (48 to 43). However, in order to overtake North Dakota, UMD would need to get six points at Minnesota and North Dakota would need to be swept by Ohio State. Should be an interesting last weekend of regular season hockey in the WCHA, then the playoffs start next weekend!

They are huge games for North Dakota also because of the Pairwise Rankings; not only because of RPI, but also because Ohio State is a 'common opponent' between UND and both Robert Morris and Mercyhurst, the two teams they need to beat out in the Pairwise.

osualum86
02-17-2014, 07:36 PM
They are huge games for North Dakota also because of the Pairwise Rankings; not only because of RPI, but also because Ohio State is a 'common opponent' between UND and both Robert Morris and Mercyhurst, the two teams they need to beat out in the Pairwise.

That is interesting as Ohio State played both once this season, beating Mercyhurst in OT and losing a 2-1 game vs RMU. So, have the Olympics taken many of your players this season? We have been fortunate in that regard as we do not have any Olympians on our team. Unfortunately, though, we have four players injured who will likely not be ready this weekend. Most notable is Julia McKinnon who had been playing very well before she was injured in the Wisconsin series a couple weekends ago. I know you are without Michelle Karvinen, but I was not sure if any of your other players were on Olympic squads or not. I don't think you are in any danger of losing your spot in the WCHA standings this weekend. I am just hoping we can get three points and stay ahead of Bemidji (they get St. Cloud this weekend so they could sweep). I would rather see us playing UMD for the first round of the playoffs than North Dakota. Good luck this weekend!

ARM
02-17-2014, 08:00 PM
I know you are without Michelle Karvinen, but I was not sure if any of your other players were on Olympic squads or not.Susanna Tapani is also a Finish Olympian; Tanja Eisenschmid plays for Germany.

As for Robert, he's a Wisconsin fan.

robertearle
02-17-2014, 08:02 PM
As for Robert, he's a Wisconsin fan.

But decidedly NOT a fan of the Pairwise. :-)

ARM
02-17-2014, 08:04 PM
But decidedly NOT a fan of the Pairwise. :-)Who is? Even the people don't hate it know that it is lousy, it just hasn't burned them yet.

osualum86
02-18-2014, 01:38 PM
It seems to me the whole goal of the PairWise and NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is to make sure that only 2 or 3 WCHA teams make the NCAA (even if 4 are deserving), and then make sure they all play each other in the quarterfinals so only one of them gets to the Frozen Four. God forbid the best conference in the country year in and year out actually get two teams into the Frozen Four. This is coming from an OSU fan whose team has yet to even get to the NCAA Tournament, and I can see how the selection committee treats the WCHA.

osualum86
02-18-2014, 01:38 PM
ARM, thank you for the information on North Dakota. Should be interesting this weekend.

Eeyore
02-18-2014, 01:57 PM
It seems to me the whole goal of the PairWise and NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is to make sure that only 2 or 3 WCHA teams make the NCAA (even if 4 are deserving), and then make sure they all play each other in the quarterfinals so only one of them gets to the Frozen Four. God forbid the best conference in the country year in and year out actually get two teams into the Frozen Four. This is coming from an OSU fan whose team has yet to even get to the NCAA Tournament, and I can see how the selection committee treats the WCHA.

I don't think we need to invoke malice here; incompetence quite suffices as an explanation. The largest problem with the "Pairwise is an attempt to screw the WCHA" hypothesis is that the NCAA uses pretty much the same system for men's hockey, where (prior to this year's realignment) it sometimes screwed the WCHA, sometimes screwed Hockey East, and always was a joke. Those who follow that side will have to see how it plays out in the new world. I'm pretty sure that the people running things really don't understand that the RPI is as badly flawed as it is nor would they understand the math if anyone tried to explain it to them; it's the same basic rating system they use for all of their sports, though hockey is the only one that I'm aware of where they have said that they will go by the numbers exclusively.

And I honestly don't think that the quarterfinal matchups, which really have nothing to do with the PWR, are an attempt to screw the WCHA, either. Again, I think that the NCAA's claim that they are too cheap to run a national tournament suffices as an explanation. I'm sure that they would prefer to see an eastern team win the title sometime soon but I don't see them stacking the deck.

pgb-ohio
02-20-2014, 12:15 AM
On the Men's Hockey side, the NCAA tournament was a four team field for over three decades. By design, it was made up of two Western teams and two Eastern teams. The tournament field grew to five in 1979 and to eight in 1981. So the original format has been gone for over 30 years. And yet my perception is that our friends from the East still, to this day, feel an entitlement to have Eastern representatives in final group of four teams.

With regard to the pairwise itself, I'd say you're largely correct. At its core, the pairwise is a clumsy attempt at objectivity. I'd agree that's there's an "absence of malice" on the statistical side.

With those acknowledgements made, I nevertheless believe there's a long term pattern of the Easterners attempting to take care of their own when setting up the hockey tournaments. All-Western Men's FFs in 1981 and 2005 were viewed in apocalyptic terms. There's been an ongoing quest to find facially neutral selection and seeding criteria that have the practical effect of making sure there isn't another apocalypse.

For a period of years, this has taken the form of limiting travel for budgetary reasons, and keeping higher seeds at home. At one highly unfortunate juncture, the September 11 terrorist attacks were trotted out as a justification to limit travel at tournament time. Thankfully that ugly line of reasoning vanished from the scene pretty quickly. But it did give us a glimpse at the underlying mindset: There's a clear desired result, in search of a supporting rationale.

There are, of course, legitimate arguments for these policies. Beyond thrift, it tends to allow more fans to watch their team's NCAA games in person. But it also has the practical effect of pitting the strongest teams in the West against each other in the early rounds. Much worse, the rules push the tournament in the direction of intra-conference rematches. I guess one could view these results as nothing more than an inexplicable string of unfortunate accidents. My belief differs.

Last but not least, I wouldn't claim that the Women's WCHA has been singled out for unusually harsh treatment in comparison with Men's Hockey. I'd characterize the Women's Hockey format as just one more chapter in a regional tug of war that's been going on for decades.

Eeyore
02-20-2014, 01:28 AM
The rules of the men's tournament actually push away from intra-conference rematches, not towards them; teams are reseeded every year to prevent first round conference match-ups. And setting up the regionals with attendance in mind is actually a necessity in order to get bids. It has been shown repeatedly that if you don't end up with nearby teams in a venue, attendance tanks. That's true in both the east and the west. So long as regionals were held on campus sites, it was enough to guarantee that a host team would play at home if they made the field. When the NCAA decided that campus sites would not be used (a decision that I can assure you was pushed by western schools in the wake of the 1998 and 2002 regionals in Ann Arbor), the only way they can get places to be willing to host is to assure them that the attendance will be protected. It has nothing at all to do with the easterners trying to pit the top western schools against each other.

As for minimizing travel on the women's side, that assertion is undercut by the fact that this is actually a concern in tournament seeding for all non-revenue sports, not just women's hockey. It's something that is imposed from a level well above anyone in hockey. It's dumb, but it's not an eastern conspiracy.

I've been listening to these arguments for a long time. Over and over again, it's apparent that there are a lot of people who try very hard to fit the data to their preconceived notions rather than figuring out what it actually suggests.

pgb-ohio
02-20-2014, 08:59 AM
The rules of the men's tournament actually push away from intra-conference rematches, not towards them; teams are reseeded every year to prevent first round conference match-ups.In the Men's Round of 16, that's been the policy for a while and I'm satisfied that said policy has been pursued in good faith. The main concern is whether the path to the Frozen Four is fair for all. The fact that there's been more fairness in the Round of 16 is a good thing, but that's only a small part of the question.


And setting up the regionals with attendance in mind is actually a necessity in order to get bids. It has been shown repeatedly that if you don't end up with nearby teams in a venue, attendance tanks. That's true in both the east and the west. So long as regionals were held on campus sites, it was enough to guarantee that a host team would play at home if they made the field. When the NCAA decided that campus sites would not be used (a decision that I can assure you was pushed by western schools in the wake of the 1998 and 2002 regionals in Ann Arbor), the only way they can get places to be willing to host is to assure them that the attendance will be protected. It has nothing at all to do with the easterners trying to pit the top western schools against each other.I've commented on this at enormous length in other threads and won't repeat that material here. Short answer is that I mostly agree with you on the attendance point, but will point out one nuance. In things political, alliances do shift from one question to the next. On the issue of Men's Regionals at Yost and Mariucci, there's no question that a number of smaller schools "ganged up" on Michigan and Minnesota, and that included many Western schools. Obviously that hit you where it hurts twice over. But more to the point, I agree that there was no East/West dimension on that issue. Still, that doesn't demonstrate that there's never an East/West dimension on any issue.


As for minimizing travel on the women's side, that assertion is undercut by the fact that this is actually a concern in tournament seeding for all non-revenue sports, not just women's hockey. It's something that is imposed from a level well above anyone in hockey. It's dumb, but it's not an eastern conspiracy.There you go again. Anyone who disagrees with you can't possibly have anything to offer; they're just a conspiracy theorist.

A fair reading of my post? I've acknowledged that setting up the tournaments is a complicated matter, and that there are legitimate reasons that things are the way they are. And yes, "constraints from above" can be added to the list.


I've been listening to these arguments for a long time. Over and over again, it's apparent that there are a lot of people who try very hard to fit the data to their preconceived notions rather than figuring out what it actually suggests.I've been observing college hockey for a long time, and the long term pattern is pretty apparent -- in decision after decision.

Another example comes the 12 team field era. In those days, there were two regional sites, hosting six teams apiece. Eastern-based teams were seeded #1 through #6, Western-based teams were seeded #1 through #6. In both cases, the top 4 teams got to stay home; the bottom 2 teams had to travel to the "other" regional. If more than 6 teams from Western conferences were selected for the tournament, they tended to be placed at the bottom of the Eastern list, and were therefore "sent" West.

What do I take from that example? Other things being equal, Easterners want to keep East Regional sites "Eastern" to the extent politically possible. Sure it's complicated. Sure there's some willingness to compromise. But it's not a coincidence that when Western teams are sent East, it's generally the lower seeded clubs. It's subtler now than it was in the 12 team era, but the undercurrent is still there.

Why does this matter? Getting to the Frozen Four is seen as a major accomplishment by all. Qualifying for the NCAA field, but falling short of the FF, is seen as a failure by many. Everyone wants a "fair" path to the peak event. But there is an enduring regional difference as to what constitutes fairness. The prevailing view in the West is that the NCAA tournament should be a national competition at all stages. If you wind up having to play a conference mate in Frozen Four, bring it on; that result speaks well of the conference. But in the earlier round(s), you should be matched against teams you don't ordinarily play. The prevailing view in the East is simply different. Eastern teams should play Eastern teams in the earlier round(s), then play Western teams on the big stage. It's not really "malicious" on anyone's part, it's more of a difference in guiding principles.

2014 is actually in interesting juncture on the Men's side. With the massive realignment generated by the formation of B1G, the Eastern approach may actually make more sense to the Western eye. B1G vs. NCHC or B1G vs. New WCHA match-ups seem appealing and appropriate for NCAA play. Avoiding intra-conference match-ups in the first two rounds should be more doable. With luck that will be the result.

Obviously that sort of solution won't be available anytime soon on the Women's side.

That's more than enough for now. Back to USA vs. Canada. Back to OSU vs. UND.

Eeyore
02-20-2014, 01:04 PM
Short answer is that I mostly agree with you on the attendance point, but will point out one nuance.

The path that gets you from, "There's been an ongoing quest to find facially neutral selection and seeding criteria that have the practical effect of making sure there isn't another apocalypse," to mostly agreeing with me is pretty elusive. And, frankly, mostly agreeing with me on the attendance point leaves you without much of an argument. Either the seeding for attendance is a part of a quest to find ensure Eastern participation in the Frozen Four or it's actually about attendance. Do you think you could come up with a consistent explanation as to what the primary motivation is?



In things political, alliances do shift from one question to the next. On the issue of Men's Regionals at Yost and Mariucci, there's no question that a number of smaller schools "ganged up" on Michigan and Minnesota, and that included many Western schools. Obviously that hit you where it hurts twice over. But more to the point, I agree that there was no East/West dimension on that issue. Still, that doesn't demonstrate that there's never an East/West dimension on any issue.

The problem with saying that there was no East/West motivation on that particular dimension is that you then have nothing left. That dimension is the driving force behind why teams are reseeded into more local regionals. And it's pretty clear that you recognize this as you shift rhetoric from the strong claim that the current seeding process is a quest to ensure eastern representation to the much, much weaker claim that there might be some pro-eastern motivation in there somewhere. I'm not going to argue that there is no element of this at all, but that claim is a lot less than where you were before.


There you go again. Anyone who disagrees with you can't possibly have anything to offer; they're just a conspiracy theorist.

My advice is that if you don't want to be called a conspiracy theorist, you probably shouldn't write posts like #10 that are nothing but an extended claim of a conspiracy.


A fair reading of my post? I've acknowledged that setting up the tournaments is a complicated matter, and that there are legitimate reasons that things are the way they are. And yes, "constraints from above" can be added to the list.

The technical term for this is "weaseling". You make strong claims and then when those are disputed you fade away into a morass of hedging to the point that leaves me wondering what you're actually claiming. Is the current format of the men's tournament seeding a quest to prevent an all-West Frozen Four or is it a minor element in the midst of a bunch of legitimate reasons for why it's done this way?


Another example comes the 12 team field era. In those days, there were two regional sites, hosting six teams apiece. Eastern-based teams were seeded #1 through #6, Western-based teams were seeded #1 through #6. In both cases, the top 4 teams got to stay home; the bottom 2 teams had to travel to the "other" regional. If more than 6 teams from Western conferences were selected for the tournament, they tended to be placed at the bottom of the Eastern list, and were therefore "sent" West.

The 12 team era went through a lot of permutations, none of which lasted more than a couple of years. It would be surprising if you couldn't find one of them that supported your hypothesis in isolation.


What do I take from that example? Other things being equal, Easterners want to keep East Regional sites "Eastern" to the extent politically possible. Sure it's complicated. Sure there's some willingness to compromise. But it's not a coincidence that when Western teams are sent East, it's generally the lower seeded clubs. It's subtler now than it was in the 12 team era, but the undercurrent is still there.

This is hedged to the point of complete mushiness.


Why does this matter? Getting to the Frozen Four is seen as a major accomplishment by all. Qualifying for the NCAA field, but falling short of the FF, is seen as a failure by many. Everyone wants a "fair" path to the peak event. But there is an enduring regional difference as to what constitutes fairness. The prevailing view in the West is that the NCAA tournament should be a national competition at all stages. If you wind up having to play a conference mate in Frozen Four, bring it on; that result speaks well of the conference. But in the earlier round(s), you should be matched against teams you don't ordinarily play. The prevailing view in the East is simply different. Eastern teams should play Eastern teams in the earlier round(s), then play Western teams on the big stage. It's not really "malicious" on anyone's part, it's more of a difference in guiding principles.

Are we talking about the men or the women here? In the case of the men, one of the highest priorities is to avoid intraconference matchups in the first round. So the facts don't support your thesis at all. In the case of the women, this again has nothing to do with the motivation you assert; it's a policy handed down to the selection committee by people that have no real interest in hockey one way or the other. So whether anyone involved really wants it to work out such that the western teams are forced to meet each other is entirely irrelevant to what actually happens.

pgb-ohio
02-20-2014, 09:14 PM
I owe you a clarification on the attendance issue.
...And, frankly, mostly agreeing with me on the attendance point leaves you without much of an argument. Either the seeding for attendance is a part of a quest to find ensure Eastern participation in the Frozen Four or it's actually about attendance.While I'm not eager to repeat material I've posted numerous times, most of those posts were on the Men's Board. So my quick take on NCAA tournament attendance is as follows:

1. Attendance at the Men's Frozen Four is healthy, regardless of site. Attendance at the Women's Frozen fluctuates with the circumstances of each particular season, but I have no complaint about the sites that have been selected.

2. For the pre-Frozen Four games, experience has shown that drawing an adequate crowd requires that one of the teams be reasonably local. This factor needs to be taken into account when planning the preliminary rounds. That's what I thought we were agreeing on. In any event, putting Men's regionals in cities that virtually no one with a rooting interest travels to needs to stop.

3. Instead, I'd favor a Lacrosse type format where all first round games are played on campus sites. As long as home ice is earned with a better body of work, there is no unfairness to the road team. If you played well enough to get into the tournament, but didn't accomplish enough to earn home ice, so be it. Go on the road and take your best shot. That plan was first put forward by Alton, a Michigan poster. Alton offers more detail, particularly on possible second round arrangements for the Men's tourney. But this approach shouldn't be a great mystery; it's what we already do for the Women's Hockey Round of 8!

4. At the same time, there is no need to have TWO local teams to generate a decent crowd. The idea that only route to adequate NCAA crowds is to eliminate East/West match-ups simply isn't true.

Bottom Line? From time to time, I have objected to the pairings. I don't think site selection has been biased. I do think the Men's format needs to be changed to improve attendance. The Women's format is fine as is. Again, I thought we were more or less on the same page on this part, with the possible exception of #4.


Do you think you could come up with a consistent explanation as to what the primary motivation is?


I'm not going to argue that there is no element of this at all, but that claim is a lot less than where you were before.


Is the current format of the men's tournament seeding a quest to prevent an all-West Frozen Four or is it a minor element in the midst of a bunch of legitimate reasons for why it's done this way?Look, I read your original post as denying that the East/West dimension was even relevant. If now you're acknowledging that it's part of the equation, then this is more a case of overblown rhetoric than major disagreement.

Primary motivation? Minor Element? No Element at All? Frankly this entire line of questioning amounts to a false dilemma. The real story is that it varies from year-to-year. Sometimes everything falls into place and everyone is pleased with the pairings. Sometimes it feels like the East/West dimension played a minor role. Sometimes it appears to be the primary motivation. I'm really not trying to be cute here. It's simply my belief, based on decades of observation, that there is a constant underlying current that occasionally evidences itself in tournament pairings.

How does the process work? As outsiders we can't know precisely what goes on in the "black box." And we probably shouldn't. But I highly doubt that the members of the NCAA Hockey Committees are the helpless puppets you make them out to be. Bureaucratic politics is a process of give and take. If committee members really want to make changes on the operational level, they'll either have the discretion to do so, or the "higher-ups" will at least give them the opportunity to make their case. Committee members are also going to negotiate with each other when they feel a need to represent their respective constituencies. The resulting compromises can be difficult to read. But that isn't going to stop those of us on the Message Board from trying. Nor should it.

pgb-ohio
02-21-2014, 09:51 AM
The 12 team era went through a lot of permutations, none of which lasted more than a couple of years. It would be surprising if you couldn't find one of them that supported your hypothesis in isolation.I need to add the following: I don't accept this characterization as accurate. Sure there a series of tweaks. As an example, keeping host teams at their own regional on a guaranteed basis was added along the way -- IIRC.

But to the very best of my recollection, the key element of keeping the top 4 teams in each geographic region "at home" persisted throughout the 12 team era. Notice how difficult this makes it to "steal" one of the other region's FF berths. In the first round, you have a long trip to unfamiliar surroundings. Your opponent has a short trip, or maybe even a commute from their own beds. While the seeding numbers don't conclusively prove the "home" team is more talented, you aren't going in as the favorite. Then, if you survive the first round test, you play a rested team with a bye -- who's also more at home than you are. And BTW, that rested team was ranked one of the top 4 teams in the tournament going in.

Can't you see and agree that the teams coming in from the outside faced a stacked deck? And it was all above board. No smoked filled rooms, no secrecy, no conspiracy.

Back in the 90's I attended three of these six team regionals; twice at Munn, once at Yost. Again to the best of my recollection, all three of those tournaments were structured in the manner that I've described.

As for the rest of the 12 team era, my memory isn't crystal clear. We are talking about a previous century.;) Resolving this factual disagreement would take some digging. Maybe that would be a good off-season project. But be all that as it may, I can tell you with certainty that the "stacked deck" persisted for multiple seasons. It most definitely was not an isolated occurrence.

northhockey
02-21-2014, 02:21 PM
Go UND!

northhockey
02-21-2014, 06:48 PM
Karvinen back in the lineup tonight in Ohio!

northhockey
02-21-2014, 09:04 PM
Ohio St fans: Does your net always come off every other play?

robertearle
02-21-2014, 09:26 PM
Karvinen back in the lineup tonight in Ohio!

I can certainly understand why, but that means she didn't get to march in the opening ceremonies (because of early game time the next AM) and now won't get to march in the closing ceremonies. A shame.

FiveHoleFrenzy
02-21-2014, 09:48 PM
North Dakota with the loss tonight is 10th in the pairwise. Playing themselves right out of the tournament.