Monday, March 03, 2008

The WCHA and the PWR

There's been a fair amount of complaining recently about the WCHA, especially since, as it stands right now, 8 WCHA teams are in the top 14 of the Pairwise Rankings.

The Blog that Yost Built took a look at the WCHA's OOC performance. He brings up a ton of evidence against the WCHA, though all of it is still anecdotal. Wouldn't it be great if there was a system that took into account *every* game and objectively measured the quality of every opponent? Oh wait, you mean there already is a system like that? Ultimately, the beef here is with the ranking system that was agreed upon before the season started, not with the WCHA itself.

Elliot Olshansky had a similar rant, saying that teams shouldn't be eligible for the tournament if they finish below .500 in conference play. I think that kind of defeats the purpose of the at-large bid. We already have autobids to make sure every conference in represented. At-large bids are there to allow the next best teams into the tournament, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

I think we can all agree that North Dakota, Michigan, New Hampshire, Colorado College, and Miami are all solid tournament teams. If those six teams had formed their own conference prior to the start of the season, one of two things would have happened: Either everyone would have finished .500, or somebody would have had a losing record. Should they be excluded from the tournament because of that? The same is true in the WCHA, though to a lesser extent. If somebody wins a game, that means somebody else has to lose, even if both teams are good hockey teams.

Elliot said he'd rather see Notre Dame, Providence, and Princeton in the tournament than Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, and Wisconsin. But what is there, other than overall record, to suggest that any of those teams belongs in the tournament more than the three WCHA teams? If you're going to take that step, why even bother with strength of schedule at all?

Overall, I think this speaks to a much bigger issue that I'll get into a lot more during the offseason. Basically, the WCHA's success hasn't happened by accident. It's the result of a lot of investment by even the smaller schools in the league, which I don't think you see universally from other leagues.


wcha said...

that little dweeb elliot is a moron. what a friken nerd,nice picture. wow. anyways the wcha will only get 5 teams in. the way the 1st round of the wcha tourney is set up and may end up the locks are und,cc and du. the winners between uw,scsu,um,msu in a best of 2 of 3 will figure the other 2 spots the wcha gets. 5 it will be, just sit back and watch...go wcha..elliots blog sucks

Chris said...

Elliot is a good guy, and has always been a good friend to this site. There's no need to attack him.

I've always respected his opinions, and appreciate having someone to debate with.

hobey#1 said...

hes all about the east coast, cant stand that at all. we all know where the best hockey is and the best players. wcha/ccha for the most part. his blog sucks for sure as i agree with the top guy. this blog blows him away and is a top one out there. just look at the frozen 4 winners the last 10 years. only a couple hockey east teams have won it and always crap out. wcha for the most part has ruled lately as we know. state had a nice run last year. the sioux look to be the team to beat and i say a sioux/unh or sioux/mich title game. they seem to be able to win in different situations through their streak. i agree the wcha will get 5 in witha couple knocking eachother out...

Anonymous said...

Elliot needs to get laid...will it take a girl that goes to a western conference school to change his mind? Or, if he faces north and use his left hand (hand facing the west) to jerk-off with, will he realize how good the West really is...?

The world may never know...

wchaer said...

elliots ok, hes a east coaster that thinks hockey doesnt exist west of michigan..pretty funny

wcha get 5 teams in like stated in this thread. und-cc-du-msu-scsu
maybe um

phil edges porter out for the hobey with nothing but 1 goal games and shutouts..hahahaha

BadgeerBrett said...

Elliot don't listen to these clowns. There just jealous that you actually had a job associated with college hockey. If you ever met him he's one of the nicest, repectful, knowledgable fans there are. He's great for college hockey. I actually don't agree with his opinion, but you attack for having an opinion.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I agree there's no need to attack the guy. While I've never agreed with his views since most of the time he's always yacking about Eastern teams(in which I could care less about) yet it's understandable since he is from the East coast.

Yet again when he does ever mention the WCHA he most of the time has nothing but good to say about the league. Exceptions are for those idiotic WCHA fans who think the league is almighty and supreme(which some would say is true).

And hobey#1 give me a break...this blog one of the top ones? Yeah right. Maybe if he was a little bit more objective then I'd maybe consider this blog alright. Yet after blog posts that are useful the guy makes an extremely biased post about the big bad Sioux. Heck I'm surprised he hasn't done another Color Me Surprised post developing a conspiracy claiming that the Fighting Sioux somehow caused the scrum between SCSU and the Badgers! I'd take this guy serious if he was a bit more objective on viewing things.

zooomx said...

I don't understand when people give bloggers like Chris crap about being objective. He doesn't write for an established publication. This blog, like many others is an opinion outlet. He can write whatever he wants... it's his blog.

We can disagree with him all we want (Mankato is a crap town with a crap team), but really why all the personal attacks on him or Elliot (Hockey East is overrated). Any East Coast hockey fan probably think Chris is a homer for the entire WCHA, so it is all perspective.

I like coming on this blog because he will write something off the beaten path. If you want lip service to your team, read the Grand Forks Herald (it's available at all farm implement stores), or listen to Dubay jump on and off the U of M bandwagon on KFAN

What is disappointing is there is nowhere on-line to have anything resembling a civil, good natured debate on college hockey. I think Chris does a pretty good job "trying" to cover all western teams. Sure, call him to task when he is wrong, but put forth a well-thought argument, not a juvenile attack. That would be fun to read.

Blogged Out said...

The attacks on Elliot demonstrate a trend that has really reached a cresendo this year. For the most part the college hockey blogs serve little purpose than to provide an outlet for engaging in debate previously relegated to alcohol induced arguments at the bar.

This is not meant to offend the owners of said blogs - although I am certain they will take offense. It is a simple fact of life. Mainstream discourse on an issue is controlled by the lowest common denominator. Here, and on other college hockey blogs, that is unfortunately represented by inflamatory comments, personal attacks, and overall general ignorance.

I actually had quit reading the blogs earlier this year. I saw this link on College Hockey News and got sucked in because its an issue worthy of debate. Alas, I now remember what I knew a couple months ago; there is really no such thing as a meaningful debate on forums like this.

Anonymous said...

My problem with what he says is that he makes excuses for UMD. Then conveniently forgets besides Goligoski and Johnson leaving early, the Gophers are without O'Brien, Stoa, and Okposo. While former departures were expected latter losses were unexpected. The Gophers have underachieved this season but what about Maine last year? They lost four straight games before the NCAAs and lost six of their last eight. Why not arbitrarily say you need a winning record in your last ten games?

Either count strength of schedule or don't. But don't whine about it when it gives you results you don't agree with.

Bouncyball has a terrible system because it is hidden and the criteria are unknown. I like that Hockey uses numbers and not back-room dealing to award Tournament berths.

It's funny that Chris, to his credit, rarely complains about charges of bias, but there is always someone defending him. He is free to write what he wants and until he removes the comments option we are free to respond.

zooomx said...

anonymous 8:40:

I totally agree that we are all free to respond. I would just like to see more civil responses (Like the one you just wrote). We should make our points, have a little fun at the expense of the host or other teams and refrain from the hate and personal attacks.

Also, it would be cool if when people comment they would use the "name/url" option and sign their comments. You can make up a name, but sign something so we can remember you in future postings.

As regards to the U of M. They have had a tough season and I think most rational hockey fans would say they were in a semi-rebuilding year, but you do have to acknowledge that early in the year, Gopher fans were talking a lot of smack that they would still kick butt in the WCHA.

The Gophers honestly are like the Yankees... anything short of a championship is disappointing to their own fans more than anyone.

That said, anyone can make excuses. SCSU lost the best goalie in Bobby G, and their leader in Gordon. I am still disappointed in their season. They should have won more games. Now, with Weslowsky getting hot and some great scorers, maybe we can make some noise in the playoffs. We have to sneak a couple points off the Sioux first though.

Anonymous said...

My problem is that, at some point, somebody has to subjectively rate the WCHA higher. The top 10 strength of schedule teams are all 10 WCHA teams. The first non WCHA team is New Hampshire with the 11th "toughest" schedule. That is the main difference between a .500 CCHA team and a .500 WCHA team. The .500 WCHA has a better strength of schedule because they have to play a "better conference schedule".

For example:

Ferris State: #5 in the CCHA, 12-12-4 in conference, 15-14-5 overall

Wisconsin: #4 in the WCHA, 11-12-5 in conference, 15-14-7 overall

And, of Wisconsin's 8 non-conference games, 5 are against teams from the "inferior" CCHA (2-2-1), 2 against Robert Morris and 1 against Colgate.

Wisconsin is fighting for a spot in tournament and Ferris has to rely on an auto bid to get in.

obe24 said...

The last comment shows some typical ignorance when it comes to the rankings. No, someone does not subjectively rate the WCHA higher. The only subjective rankings in college hockey are the polls, which mean exactly squat when it comes to tournament teams. Strength of sked, RPI, and Pairwise are all MATHEMATICAL formulas. Now if you want to debate the criteria and/or the math, that's one thing. But the whole "subjective ranking" argument is a common misperception and is completely wrong.

As to the "fairness" thing, keep crying easties. By any of the OBJECTIVE formulas out there, the WCHA places 7 or 8 teams in the top 15, so it's obviously not just one flawed system or another. The difference is that this year the WCHA has far more depth than any of the other conferences. This basically means that every single victory helps the RPI more, and every loss hurts it less. There is no conspiracy, it's just all about depth.

Anonymous said...


I agree with your points. I wished I had remembered to say this. But I have not been paying much attention to POWER or KRACH because I didn't think the Gophers had much chance or really deserved to make the NCAAs. My gripe is according to the criteria they do have a chance, so why single out the WCHA which is acknowledged as the most competitive conference because after the criteria are applied the Gophers may still be a Tournament team.

The Gophers are definitely having a mediocre year. They have lost or tied a lot of games they had a chance to win. As for talking smack, St. Cloud's fans also talked their fair share.

Most of the fan-bases have posters who go out of bounds. I admit I have. But the fan-bases also have hyper-sensitive fans who can never be pleased. I try not to do this.


Anonymous said...

What, then, is the MATHEMATICAL formula for strength of schedule?

Almington said...

The next question (and more important question) should be, if the CCHA and WCHA have similar NC records against the major conferences why does the WCHA fair so much better in the PWR?

The PWR/RPI is a totally objective system so there has to be some results based explanation of why so many of the WCHA teams are in the top 15.

Anonymous said...

ha ha. notre dame, princetown, and who else was it? oh. providence. my god. any wcha team would work them to pieces. last place uaa could play them. they tied the gophers this friday(althouh the goof's suck this year)

Anonymous said...

oh and what the hell? scsu and the badgers fought this week. they must be total goons. my god. lay off the sioux. that stuff happens in the nhl. thats where sioux players go, so thats how they play. they're at that next level. miami and ya;ll are out playin house hockey.

Anonymous said...

I saw Clarkson play CC this year in 2 lopsided losses. Clarkson is terrible. CC made them look like a mid-level high school team. I am not a CC fan by the way. I just happened to go and watch. CC was doing the Harlem Globetrotters around them. They were so bad CC probably will never schedule them again because it does nothing to toughen them up for the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

The Gophers have only been defeated four times since Jan 1.

Since Jan 1 the Gophers have given up 2 or less goals per game in eleven of sixteen games.

Three of the Gophers thirteen losses this season have been in OT.

Nine of the thirteen Gopher losses this season have been by two or less goals.

The Gophers have been competetive all season despite having a somewhat down year by their standards. A couple of goals here or there and their record would be quite different. Taking into consideration the players that they have lost to early defections this season they are still a dangerous team to face.

Puck luck has been in short supply for them this season so far. The law of averages is working in their favor in that regard.

If the Gophers do in fact get into the NCAA's it will be because they earned their way in. If some other fans don't like it, too bad because it will be accomplished by the criterea established prior to the season.

zooomx said...

saying that 9 of the Gopher losses have been by 2 or less goals this year, is like saying a football team lost by an average of ONLY 2 touchdowns.

2 goals in hockey is a pretty big spread. The rest of your comment makes sense. The Gophs are looking better and are still a ranked team.

I'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

No kidding...2 goal differential is huge. Fact is the gophers couldn't sweep Alaska, and will be on the road for the WCHA playoffs. In true Don Lucia/Holy Cross form, the Gophs will be one series and done in the WCHA playoffs and should not even be considered for further play.

Anonymous said...

The point I was trying to make is that the Gophers have been competetive. They haven't been getting clobbered in the majority of games they have lost.

In the five games lost by two goals the score was 2-1 going into the third period in three of the games. In a 4-2 loss to NoDak it was 0-0 after two. It was 1-1 after two in a 3-1 loss to St. Cloud with the third goal being an empty net goal.

The 4-2 loss to NoDak in Grand Forks the Gophers controlled most of that game. It was a burst by the Sioux late in the game that made the difference. Gophers won 4-3 the following night. Again the Gophers controlled most of the game. Sioux woke up late and got the game closer than the score indicated.

The touchdown analogy is a bit off. I'd say more like a baseball analogy points wise. Close games but losses nonetheless. All games they were in however but unable to win, or tie.

To reiterate, the Gophers have been very competitive despite heavy losses due to injury and early/in season defections. Not trying to make excuses, just trying to shine a little light on their record.

They haven't been giving up many goals and come tourney time defense wins games. Their goal scoring woes can't last forever.

I can't think of too many teams that would want to play them come tourney time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think St. Cloud or CC or UND or Michigan would mind playing Minnesota come tourney time

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for. UND despite having a nice run are leaking oil. No Genoway, Trupp and no Oshie hurt too. Gophers and Michigan have split this year. St. Cloud not exactly a powerhouse either.

Gophers have looked good and they have looked bad. Capable of either. In an important tourney game they won't be a pushover for anybody.

UND is in trouble if Oshie is hurt too. If he is hurt last weekend may have been his last game as a Fighting Sioux.