Monday, March 10, 2008

Uh Oh

So yesterday was Selection Sunday for the women's NCAA tournament, and it turns out there was a pretty big surprise. Clarkson was not in the field, even though the PWR said they should have been in.

USCHO's David De Remer has a little more explanation. Basically, Clarkson had a better RPI, TUC record, and Common Opponent record than Dartmouth, but Dartmouth was 1-0-1 on the season against Clarkson, and the committee decided to award that last spot to Dartmouth.

First off, I think this decision sucks for Clarkson. But it also raises the question of whether this could happen with the men's tournament. Even though the PWR has correctly predicted the tournament for however many years, it's not the exact formula the committee uses, and they could make some changes.

There's actually a possibility of a similar situation happening on the men's side. There's still plenty of hockey left to play, but it could end up that St. Cloud and Minnesota State fight it out for one of the tournament's last at-large spots. St. Cloud wins that comparison 3-to-2, but Minnesota State won both meetings between the teams this season. The situation is muddied even more because if Michigan Tech drops just three spots in the RPI, Minnesota State would take a 3-2 lead in that comparison.

So would the selection committeee go against tradition in a situation like this? I would hope not. I've always been strongly in favor of total transparency in the NCAA tournament selection process, even if there are a few bugs in the system. Head-to-head is important, and I believe it is counted as so in the Pairwise, but if a team is that much better during the regular season, one odd weekend shouldn't cancel that out.

The selection process could probably use an overhaul. I think everyone cringes at the fact that North Dakota would benefit by losing a game to Michigan Tech this weekend. But the time to make those changes should be the day after this year's field is selected, not the day before it is selected.


Anonymous said...

Didn't it cost UND a #1 seed last year by sweeping Mankato in the first round? Maybe that isn't right but I'm pretty sure that it knocked Mankato out of the TUC list.

blah blah blah said...

Set aside any anti-UND rhetoric for a second and think of this:

How does a coach go out and tell the team pre-game, "OK, boys, let's go out and put on a show for the fans...but be sure that we lose!"

Hakstol won't do that. Lucia won't do that. Shyiak won't even do that. The teams are out there to win.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is saying the teams will go out and try to lose. I agree with Chris saying it is a flaw in the system

Anonymous said...

SCSU also has to worry about where Wisconsin lands. They lose that head to head as well, and the NC$$ wouldn't hesitate to give a berth to the 15th ranked Badgers over the 14th ranked Huskies, if it comes to that.

Anonymous said...

Madison will be a good regional even if the Badgers aren't there.
This process has been completely open the last few years and the pairwise has gotten it right.
If SCSU were bumped for the Badgers, I think there would be hell to pay.

Anonymous said...

"Madison will be a good regional even if the Badgers aren't there."

No it won't.