PDA

View Full Version : NCAA Change the Tourney



Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

FreshFish
03-28-2011, 02:25 PM
While I am clearly a novice when it comes to college hockey, I do have some experience in reconciling different opinions to reach an agreeable consensus.

What appears to me to be happening here is that many of us are skipping from step 1 to step 3 without following step 2; or are introducing step 2 considerations after step 3 proposals have already been made.

Step 1: Identify the problem. Done. No need to repeat;

Step 2: Identify priorities, parameters, constraints. This is the step at which broad-based agreement is important, as it helps in developing....

Step 3: Propose solutions that solve the problem that also are consistent with priorities and constraints of Step 2.


One obvious constraint is that the number of teams selected be a multiple of 4: 12, 16, 24 are the most likely numbers, with 16 the most likely.

Second is that you have autobids and seeding.

Then you have to find what other criteria are important, on a relative basis. "sure, attendance is important, but money is more important than attendance" or just the opposite for that matter is one example. What criteria are important, and how important is each each one relative to all the others? Do you assign a weighting system? (you could add up the weights assigned to each criteria to rank your proposed solutions, for example).

There seems to be a conflict over 12 vs 16 team field, and also a concern over how to structure the post-season (two weekends of games, or three? for example. Timing and scheduling of games, for another. These go beyond location alone).

One thing that could be done with a 16-team field that would have the advantages of a 12-team field would be analogous to Big East basketball tournament: seeds 1 - 4 get bye into quarterfinals; seeds 5 - 8 get bye into sweet sixteen, seeds 9 -16 play first round. This kind of format works over over three scheduled weekends instead of two (keep the 'off week' in there somewhere if needed, adjust schedule accordingly). It might address several different concerns raised by others:
> first round might be at higher-seeded team's home ice (teams 5 - 8 that is; there'd be a one-game 9 vs 16 etc and winners play 5 - 8 accordingly
> next round everyone would know well in advance where 1 - 4 are playing (at least two weeks' advance notice if not more);
> then you have final four (excuse me, frozen four) after that.

That is not so much a proposal as an example, based on criteria which seem implicit in other people's proposals, of how the criteria can be used to shape the proposal (e.g, keep 16 teams while also improving prospects for attendance in early-roudn games while also retaining pre-scheduled Regionals the last playing weekend before the Frozen Four).

Just a thought; the main criteria seem to be attendance, ease of access to fans, scheduling logistics, money, and respecting the seeding. Depending on how people rank these criteria; they will be drawn toward different solutions. :rolleyes:

CLS
03-28-2011, 02:54 PM
You're comparing apples and oranges. Basketball is about 1/3 power teams and 2/3 happy-to-be-theres. Hockey is about 80% power teams and 20% happy-to-be-theres. If you look at the number of at-large bids compared to the teams that would generally be competitive for them assuming a good season, I think the ratios right now are about right for both basketball and hockey. Dropping the hockey tournament back to twelve would be a terrible idea.
I'm not sure who the "happy-to-be-theres" were in hockey. RPI? Two four seeds won, and the team that got there on the basis of an autobid took the tournament one-seed team to OT.

I think 16 is fine for hockey.

RITProf
03-28-2011, 02:54 PM
If they earn a higher seed they will get it, like Air Force did in 2009.

And I believe RIT was #15 last year.

Jim
03-28-2011, 03:07 PM
I'm not sure if you don't understand the system or what, but they are not being "automatically" seeded #16. The seedings are done according to the Pairwise Rankings (PWR). If you HAD taken the top 16 teams, Air Force would not even be included. They were ranked T22. As it was, they had to be "jumped" over six teams just to get them in. So, OK, let's just take the top 16 then, OK? You wouldn't even HAVE an AHA team without the autobid. Be happy they're there at all!

I understand how the PWR works. Just think its silly is all. As it is, AHA teams have shown they can play with pretty much anyone, at least at the top of the league. The PWR system merely confirms what are in effect pre-season predjudices. By the way, they weren't jumped over six teams. The system, as virtually every NCAA sponsored team sport championship does, awards a bid to every legitimate league. If they got selected as an at-large team, that would be a reasonable argument, but it doesn't really apply in this case.

But that really is a different argument and I'm sorry I brought it up. What I'd really like to see is two super-regionals, played in hockey areas with mostly "local" teams. that is, this year the East regional would have been Yale, Union, RPI, Boston College,Merrimack, UNH, maybe Notre Dame (not an "eastern" team, I know, but they are a national draw in pretty much every sport, and maybe an Ohio school to fill out the braket. In a way, Air Force creates a bit of a problem when they win the AHA bid, being an outlier western program in an Eastern league, and maybe there is no good way to deal with that, just like there is no good region to put Huntsville in the event they qualify some year. But basically, if you care about attendance I think you want to keep regional schools together. My guess is that a even if you end up with BC-UNH replay of the Hockey East Final some year, it going to put way more fannies in the seats than some of the alternatives. What do you think the second night attendance would have been at Bridgeport for Air Force-UMD? I mean beside the ticket takers?

I also have to say I don't love the 2 out of 3 idea in the opening round. For one thing it seems to me that it has things backwards. You play best of 3 for the opening round but 1 and done for the championship? I know most (all?) conferences do that but it is still sort of a bass ackwards approach in my mind. And I don't love the idea of "protecting" higher seeds any more than they are already by getting their high seeds and presumably playing weaker teams in their opening rounds.

wylie
03-28-2011, 03:18 PM
Neutral sites are a joke! Bring the game to the fans NOT the other way around. Figure a way to rotate the playoff games throughout the different regions at the Division 1 schools/arenas. Yea, once in a while a game will be played at an arena that happens to have their team playing in it but so what. Since finding any of these games on TV is a joke as well (unless you have some super premium package) I would prefer going to these games than try to follow some tweet. NCAA is really screwed-up (in more ways than this) so we probably shouldn't get our hopes up about any common sense changes.

chickod
03-28-2011, 03:19 PM
[QUOTE=Jim;5105063]I understand how the PWR works. Just think its silly is all./QUOTE]

Well, they thought that would make it more "objective" and eliminate the "smoky back room" scenarios. As for everything else, I think we pretty much agree. The only problem with a "super regional" is that you would have to forego the "ticket package" idea. You can't expect people to buy tickets for three sessions if their team loses the first day. But other than that, it's a good idea. And, yes, it DOES all come down to money - at least for me. When BU won in 2009, we were lucky, because we could drive to the regionals (one hour away in Manchester) and we could drive to the FF (Washington, DC - about eight hours). But do you blame, for example, the BC fans this year? They would have had to fly to St. Louis and then turn around and fly to Minneapolis. Not to mention that you can't get a round-trip ticket for less than $1000 when you have to book three days in advance. So the basketball argument doesn't work, because hockey doesn't have as widespread an appeal. You are correct in that it must be kept in "hockey" areas.

slurpees
03-28-2011, 03:20 PM
Step 1: Identify the problem. Done. No need to repeat;

Step 2: Identify priorities, parameters, constraints. This is the step at which broad-based agreement is important, as it helps in developing....

Step 3: Propose solutions that solve the problem that also are consistent with priorities and constraints of Step 2.


Your steps are out of order. You forgot the clear and obvious Step 2: ?, and the clear and obvious concluding, now fifth, step: Profit.

slurpees
03-28-2011, 03:42 PM
[QUOTE=Jim;5105063]I understand how the PWR works. Just think its silly is all./QUOTE]

Well, they thought that would make it more "objective" and eliminate the "smoky back room" scenarios. As for everything else, I think we pretty much agree. The only problem with a "super regional" is that you would have to forego the "ticket package" idea. You can't expect people to buy tickets for three sessions if their team loses the first day. But other than that, it's a good idea. And, yes, it DOES all come down to money - at least for me. When BU won in 2009, we were lucky, because we could drive to the regionals (one hour away in Manchester) and we could drive to the FF (Washington, DC - about eight hours). But do you blame, for example, the BC fans this year? They would have had to fly to St. Louis and then turn around and fly to Minneapolis. Not to mention that you can't get a round-trip ticket for less than $1000 when you have to book three days in advance. So the basketball argument doesn't work, because hockey doesn't have as widespread an appeal. You are correct in that it must be kept in "hockey" areas.

Even with respect to basketball, if you look at attendance figures from the regional finals this past weekend, the only ones that sold out were Anaheim and Newark. Anaheim had SDSU and Arizona which were both short trips for those fans, plus two eastern teams with good travelling fan bases, so a sellout there was to be expected. Newark had probably the two biggest travelling fan bases in the country in UNC and Kentucky, plus Ohio State isn't terribly far, and there are so many college basketball fans in the NY/NJ area that a sellout there was expected.

But looking at the other two in San Anotonio and New Orleans, attendance there was nowhere near a sellout. Sure, the Alamodome is huge, and a sellout wasn't expected, but they drew <13,000 for the KU-VCU game. Lots of KU fans looked at the weekend and assumed they'd breeze through it, so they saved their money for the Final Four. Whoops. The other three schools were not drivable, and have relatively small fan bases, comparatively similar to the case if a team like Merrimack was sent out west. The same went for New Orleans where the closest team was Florida, and they're still 500+ miles away. Those games barely had 12,000 people at them, and from the looks of TV, that number is pushing it, there were full sections in the upper level that appeared totally empty. Of the four regionals, the only one you could pretty much guarantee a sellout for before knowing the brackets was Newark. Even if it were BYU, Arizona, San Diego State, and Washington (which would never happen) there are enough basketball fans in the area who would fill the seats. Places like San Antonio, New Orleans, and other midwestern sites are gambles because if there's not a big shot local team in the bracket, or if you get a far away mid major with a small fan base, your attendance will dwindle. I'm sure the San Antonio organizers went apeshiz when Notre Dame lost to FSU and Louisville didn't come out of their subregional, both of whom would've spiked the attendance big time, and forced Kansas fans to actually care about showing up.

Point, attendance is down across the board. Fans can't afford to travel quickly to far away destinations for regional finals when they can roll the dice and save for a potential Final/Frozen Four trip.

Alton
03-28-2011, 03:50 PM
I think it's helpful to show what exactly I am talking about when I recommend a format that is the same as the men's Division I lacrosse tournament. The lacrosse tournament's general structure is exactly the same as hockey--16 teams over 3 weeks with 4 teams at the final site--so a transition to their format would be essentially painless, with no need to reschedule the regular season or the already-booked frozen fours.

The priorities in the first round--(1) Seeds 1-8 host seeds 9-16, (2) avoid intraconference matchups, (3) minimize flights, (4) bracket integrity. If this is adapted for hockey, it could be single-elimination like the other 3 rounds, or it could be best-of-3. Let's say it's single-elimination.

FIRST ROUND
Colorado College at #1 Yale
Notre Dame at #2 North Dakota
Rensselaer at #3 Boston College
Nebraska-Omaha at #4 Miami
Minnesota-Duluth at #5 Michigan
Western Michigan at #6 Merrimack
Air Force at #7 Denver
New Hampshire at #8 Union

The quarterfinals in men's lacrosse are held at sites determined before the start of the season, one doubleheader in each region. Let's say that this year, they are in Milwaukee and Manchester. The quarterfinals are paired by straight seeding, assuming the highest seeds advance. The matchups must be 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5.

QUARTERFINALS

East Quarterfinals at Manchester, NH
#3 Boston College/Rensselaer winner v #6 Merrimack/Western Michigan winner
#1 Yale/Colorado College winner v #8 Union/New Hampshire winner

West Quarterfinals at Milwaukee, WI
#2 North Dakota/Notre Dame winner v #7 Denver/Air Force winner
#4 Miami/Nebraska-Omaha winner v #5 Michigan/Minnesota-Duluth winner

The frozen four will be paired as usual, bracketing the teams so that #1 plays #4 if they advance, and #2 plays #3.

So...what would attendance be like? Even if the first round is single-elimination, I would conservatively expect 44,000 fans, which is the total attendance for the fourth-largest crowd in each arena this season. The second round would draw, conservatively, 13,000 fans, for a total of 57,000 fans in 10 sessions for the first two rounds. This year's regionals drew about 46,000 fans in 8 sessions. I think the lacrosse system is a net gain.

What about travel? Under this year's system, 11 teams had to fly to their regional sites. Under the men's lacrosse system, 5 teams would have to fly in the first round and, assuming the higher seeds win, 3 teams would be flying to their second-round game, for a total of 8 flights for the first 2 rounds.

The men's lacrosse system will draw more fans, will reduce travel and hotel costs, and make more money than the current system is making, all without having to cut the tournament down to 12.

chickod
03-28-2011, 03:54 PM
Point, attendance is down across the board. Fans can't afford to travel quickly to far away destinations for regional finals when they can roll the dice and save for a potential Final/Frozen Four trip.

To augment this, I spoke with the BU broadcasters upon their return from Tulsa. Doug said that the team is "required" to be at the site two days before (so BU had to be there Wednesday for their Friday game vs Kansas). Since the selection show was Sunday evening, that left exactly three days to secure travel plans. He said that after much searching, he could not find a round-trip airfare to Tulsa for LESS THAN $1000. So the school did the only logical thing and chartered a plane. So the point is well taken. How can fans possibly afford this? As I said, BU was lucky in 2009 - we drove to EVERYTHING easily (Hockey East quarters at BU - semis and finals at TD Garden - regionals in Manchester and FF in DC). The only reasonable conclusion is the closer you can keep the teams to their fans, the better the attendance. Not that anyone is arguing this...just wanted to reaffirm the sentiments of many on this board...

Rover
03-28-2011, 03:58 PM
Neutral sites are a joke! Bring the game to the fans NOT the other way around. Figure a way to rotate the playoff games throughout the different regions at the Division 1 schools/arenas. Yea, once in a while a game will be played at an arena that happens to have their team playing in it but so what. Since finding any of these games on TV is a joke as well (unless you have some super premium package) I would prefer going to these games than try to follow some tweet. NCAA is really screwed-up (in more ways than this) so we probably shouldn't get our hopes up about any common sense changes.

Not sure where you're located, but my Verizon package had all the games, and its a pretty standard one. You don't get the ESPN channels? I can maybe see using the arenas of teams in the West provided they were big enough (as in around 10K which would leave Wisconsin, Minny, North Dakota, CC and ....? anybody else?)

Moving on, I'm still not sure what a super regional is supposed to accomplish. Does one ticket get you into every game? If so aren't you still going to have the problem of fans not showing up for the game their team isn't participating in? Also, don't you force more fans to travel a greater distance to get to the event?

CLS
03-28-2011, 04:37 PM
...What about travel? Under this year's system, 11 teams had to fly to their regional sites. Under the men's lacrosse system, 5 teams would have to fly in the first round and, assuming the higher seeds win, 3 teams would be flying to their second-round game, for a total of 8 flights for the first 2 rounds.

In fairness, though (assuming I understand you correctly) you have the potential for teams having to travel three consecutive weeks, or if you keep the bye week, three weekends out of four. And there's some IMO pretty horrific travel scheules (e.g. Western Michigan playing consecutive weeks in North Andover, MA., Manchester, and St. Paul; or CC playing consecutive weeks in New Haven, Manchester, and St. Paul.

lah02476
03-28-2011, 05:15 PM
I think it's helpful to show what exactly I am talking about when I recommend a format that is the same as the men's Division I lacrosse tournament. The lacrosse tournament's general structure is exactly the same as hockey--16 teams over 3 weeks with 4 teams at the final site--so a transition to their format would be essentially painless, with no need to reschedule the regular season or the already-booked frozen fours.

The priorities in the first round--(1) Seeds 1-8 host seeds 9-16, (2) avoid intraconference matchups, (3) minimize flights, (4) bracket integrity. If this is adapted for hockey, it could be single-elimination like the other 3 rounds, or it could be best-of-3. Let's say it's single-elimination.

FIRST ROUND
Colorado College at #1 Yale
Notre Dame at #2 North Dakota
Rensselaer at #3 Boston College
Nebraska-Omaha at #4 Miami
Minnesota-Duluth at #5 Michigan
Western Michigan at #6 Merrimack
Air Force at #7 Denver
New Hampshire at #8 Union

The quarterfinals in men's lacrosse are held at sites determined before the start of the season, one doubleheader in each region. Let's say that this year, they are in Milwaukee and Manchester. The quarterfinals are paired by straight seeding, assuming the highest seeds advance. The matchups must be 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5.

QUARTERFINALS

East Quarterfinals at Manchester, NH
#3 Boston College/Rensselaer winner v #6 Merrimack/Western Michigan winner
#1 Yale/Colorado College winner v #8 Union/New Hampshire winner

West Quarterfinals at Milwaukee, WI
#2 North Dakota/Notre Dame winner v #7 Denver/Air Force winner
#4 Miami/Nebraska-Omaha winner v #5 Michigan/Minnesota-Duluth winner

The frozen four will be paired as usual, bracketing the teams so that #1 plays #4 if they advance, and #2 plays #3.

So...what would attendance be like? Even if the first round is single-elimination, I would conservatively expect 44,000 fans, which is the total attendance for the fourth-largest crowd in each arena this season. The second round would draw, conservatively, 13,000 fans, for a total of 57,000 fans in 10 sessions for the first two rounds. This year's regionals drew about 46,000 fans in 8 sessions. I think the lacrosse system is a net gain.

What about travel? Under this year's system, 11 teams had to fly to their regional sites. Under the men's lacrosse system, 5 teams would have to fly in the first round and, assuming the higher seeds win, 3 teams would be flying to their second-round game, for a total of 8 flights for the first 2 rounds.

The men's lacrosse system will draw more fans, will reduce travel and hotel costs, and make more money than the current system is making, all without having to cut the tournament down to 12.

Brilliant idea, Alton! :D
Which is why the NC$$ will not do this. :(

Craig P.
03-28-2011, 05:16 PM
I'm not sure who the "happy-to-be-theres" were in hockey. RPI? Two four seeds won, and the team that got there on the basis of an autobid took the tournament one-seed team to OT.

I think 16 is fine for hockey.

"Happy to be there" is AHA. Power conferences is everyone else. Obviously, there's room for some debate about the ECAC, but they got three at-large teams into the field this season. The point is, the thing that's interesting for quality of tournament is not the ratio of total bids to total sponsorship, it's the ratio of at-large bids to the number of teams that are reasonably in competition for them.

Rover
03-28-2011, 05:31 PM
I understand better what Alton is trying to do, but my first impresssion is six of one, half dozen of the other. It solves some problems (less travel for fans of home teams) but the flip side is less access for road teams to get tickets. Depends on your personal preference I guess. For me its all about access to the game. I'd rather have a 12K arena with four thousand empty seats than have two thousand people not able to get tickets because a playoff game was being played at a home team's too small arena (say Michigan is going to Miami-Ohio or UNH to Merrimac).

All in all though, not a bad proposal. Just not sure if net-net we're better off.

HockeyMan2000
03-28-2011, 05:55 PM
The main issues I see with Alton's concept:

1. It's expanding the length of the tournament by adding another weekend into the pre-existing format -- given the lack of interest in the current regional format (for a variety of reasons we've outlined), I just don't see that being something they'd seriously consider (who knows, but that's just my gut feeling).

2. You are asking fans to devote more time to attending pre-Frozen Four games and likewise pay to support another weekend of playoffs. Even if it's on campus sites and doesn't require travel for the home team, you are still talking about additional time/money being taken into account for everyone. How many fans are going to be interested in attending 3 straight nights in a campus site playoff series, then going again to a neutral site for regionals the following week, THEN the Frozen Four? Add in the conference tournaments the week before the NCAAs start, and the conference quarterfinals the week before that -- even in the current set-up, you can see the need for taking a bye week before the Frozen Four. His concept would add even more clutter to the pre-existing schedule...I mean, if you were to implement his concept, and keep the bye week, you're then talking about having the Frozen Four in the middle of April, when a lot of people are already into the spring time and other sports/interests.

Or look at it this way: he's made the regionals more appealing by having them at only 2 sites (something we all would prefer I believe). But that's going to be off-set by the fact that there's a whole other round of games now before that weekend. I just can't see some fans being interested in attending both sets of pre-Frozen Four NCAA playoff weekends with the FF looming ahead and all the conference playoffs right before it. And if some folks right now in a bad economy don't want to support the regionals because it's not the FF, simply adding more games into the mix (both campus-sites and a regional format as he suggests) isn't going to help any.

3. Logistically it would get less exposure on television. Right now every game is being televised and it is good exposure for the game. There's no chance of televising his proposed first round on a scale like you can now.

So ultimately, as many issues as some folks think there are with a "Super Regional" (and I concede there are logistical issues), I see even more drawbacks with adding a whole round of campus-site games before a regional round. It's good that you're not expanding/contracting the amount of teams in his format but you are extending both the length of the tournament and also the demands on the fans in terms of supporting it with their time/money. Again -- even if the current regional format isn't drawing for a number of factors we can all argue about -- I can't see them considering this given the lack of support for the current format, which only comprises one weekend as it is.

billmich88888
03-28-2011, 06:03 PM
3. Logistically it would get less exposure on television. Right now every game is being televised and it is good exposure for the game. There's no chance of televising his proposed first round on a scale like you can now.


a big time bummer, but maybe this is the small step back the tourney needs at this point. I'm thinking that espn3.com could pick up any and all feeds from 1st round sites. i doubt all 1st round sites would be televised but from the Alton scenario i would conclude that: NoDak (WDAZ-fox college sports) BC (nesn) ; Miami (ONN) Michigan (comcast 900 or fsn detroit); denver (fsn RM/altitude) and union (TW cable sports) would all have the possibility of some sort of local coverage; Im not so sure about yale/afa or Merrimack/WMU coverage

amherstblackbear
03-28-2011, 06:07 PM
You're comparing apples and oranges. Basketball is about 1/3 power teams and 2/3 happy-to-be-theres. Hockey is about 80% power teams and 20% happy-to-be-theres. If you look at the number of at-large bids compared to the teams that would generally be competitive for them assuming a good season, I think the ratios right now are about right for both basketball and hockey. Dropping the hockey tournament back to twelve would be a terrible idea.

The fact that there are so many "power" teams (as you describe them) is a good thing, in my view. I see a 12-team field with 10-11 power teams as an improvement on a 16-team field with . . . 10-11 power teams.

Why?
Because those extra at-larges don't bring anything to the table. They make their fanbases happy, but their effect is a net negative.

Why?
Because a regional with 4-6 power teams is indescribably more appealing than a regional with 1-3 power teams.

You're exactly right that hoops and hockey are different. It's for that very reason that I'm not overly concerned with maximizing the number of happy-to-be-theres. To even approximate the situation in basketball, we'd have to open the hockey tournament to every D1 team.

billmich88888
03-28-2011, 06:09 PM
who are the non power teams , Only ecac and aha teams? Was UNH not a power team due to being a #4 seed this year?

HockeyMan2000
03-28-2011, 06:21 PM
a big time bummer, but maybe this is the small step back the tourney needs at this point.

But adding another weekend of NCAA playoff games isn't really a step backwards. It's going to be demanding even more in terms of time/monetary commitment on the part of fans than even the current system.

I think the bottom line is if you want to do campus sites, then do them. If you want to do regionals, then do that. You can't have it both ways. There's not going to be enough overall fan interest IMO to do both as he's proposing.