Pairwise Live Blog

Posted by: adamw

The “Pairwise” is the familiar moniker given to the NCAA’s process of picking and seeding teams for the NCAA tournament. Each year, we break it down six ways to Sunday. On the CHN main site right now, you can see the current Pairwise … read about how it works, and what it all means with the CHN Primer … and even plug in your own results from this weekend’s games and figure out what the final Pairwise would look like, with “You Are the Committee“.

So, here we are, with the running commentary of how the results effect team’s NCAA hopes, ongoing, throughout the weekend.

Saturday … 11:02 p.m. — OK, the games are done. Go to the main site for our final Bracket Analysis — and remember, the Selection Show is Sunday 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2 — where you can see how we did.

Saturday … 9:31 p.m. — We (MikeM and I) can’t see how BU would go anywhere but Manchester at this point. All signs point that way. No. 2 overall seed is Notre Dame, no matter what, so we figure they go to Grand Rapids. The No. 4 overall will be paired with No. 5 overall Yale, in Bridgeport. No. 4 will be Michigan or Denver. That leaves Minneapolis for the other one. If Northeastern is No. 6 overall, that means it will be in Minneapolis. That leaves No. 8 North Dakota in Manchester, and No. 7 Minn.-Duluth in Grand Rapids.

Saturday … 8:51 p.m. — Still awaiting some finals. Believe it or not, there’s still too many combos, at least when it comes to seeds. The teams are pretty much all set. Ohio State will be in unless Lowell wins HEA. Miami is No. 13 probably. That means that neither CCHA team can play Notre Dame at No. 2 or Michigan at 3 or 4. So this means BU will be stuck with one of them, as opposed to a “lesser” team in Air Force or Bemidji State. This happened to Cornell in 2003, when it had to play Mankato, and won 5-2.

Saturday … 8:10 p.m. — So the top two seeds overall, either way, are BU and Notre Dame. That means they should be in Manchester and Grand Rapids, respectively. Even though UNH is at No. 9 and could be a second-round matchup in Manchester, the committee hasn’t really cared about that in recent years. If Michigan wins the CCHA, it could get to No. 3, but that’s about it.

Saturday … 6:24 p.m. — The stunned media corps found out minutes later that there was a shootout taking place on the ice for the EAC consolation game. It was completely irrelevant — though I’m not sure any St. Lawrence fans knew this. SLU won it – yawn. Question: Should Guy Gadowski have pulled Kalemba in the shootout to make sure he didn’t get hurt?

Saturday … 6:16 p.m. — Indeed Marsh pulled the goalie. What a little mini-drama that was. Princeton had the puck in the St. Lawrence zone most of the last two minutes, so it wasn’t until late that Marsh finally pulled Petizian. It was the right move. It ends in a tie, and St. Lawrence is done. Princeton moves on. First Princeton tie in 2 1/2 years. Oh, the irony.

Saturday … 6:05 p.m. — OT in Albany. Does SLU coach Joe Marsh know to pull his goalie in OT? Does Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky know not to? We’ll find out which coaches know about the Pairwise and which don’t.

Saturday … 5:39 — Found a scenario where Wisconsin loses out to Ohio State by .0002 RPI. It happens if Yale, Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth all win later.

Saturday … 5:37 — If Yale and Notre Dame win, Ohio State hangs onto the comparison with Air Force by a miniscule amount — less than .0001 — and Wisconsin finishes just .0003 behind in RPI.

Saturday … 5:34 p.m. — Wisconsin and Northern Michigan have won consolation games. This helps Ohio State. It looks like the Buckeyes will make it over Minnesota, unless Lowell wins, in which case, OSU is also out. A Cornell win helps even more, but it looks safe even if Yale wins.

Saturday … 3:54 p.m. — Whoops. As Mike Machnik pointed out, that below scenario does NOT keep St. Lawrence out. The tie that would be created at No. 13 between Minnesota and SLU (plug those results into You Are the Committee and see for yourself) would actually go to St. Lawrence. That’s because the committee has been breaking ties in recent years via RPI. So thanks to the person who pointed out that below scenario, but that doesn’t do it. So I go back to what I originally said — that I cannot find a scenario where St. Lawrence wins the consolation and doesn’t make it.

Saturday .. 3:04 p.m. — OK, here’s the results that leave St. Lawrence out even with a win. It does require Lowell winning, and taking the 14th spot away. I thought SLU would be safe at No. 13 regardless, but apparently can slip to No. 14 in this scenario.

  • Hockey East Championship game: Mass.-Lowell defeats Boston University.
  • ECAC Championship game: Yale defeats Cornell.
  • ECAC Consolation game: St. Lawrence defeats Princeton.
  • Atlantic Hockey Championship game: Mercyhurst defeats Air Force.
  • CCHA Championship game: Notre Dame defeats Michigan.
  • CCHA Consolation game: Northern Michigan defeats Alaska.
  • WCHA Championship game: Denver defeats Minnesota-Duluth.
  • WCHA Consolation game: North Dakota defeats Wisconsin.

Saturday … 1:49 p.m. — So, we’re back in the Albany press room, and let’s follow up with the last post from last night. Playing around more with the wacky Ohio State-Minnesota situation, it appears that things come down — in most cases — to whether Ohio State can flip the comparison with Air Force. Doing so, requires staying ahead of Air Force in the RPI. If Air Force wins Atlantic Hockey, that will require help elsewhere, but the “help elsewhere” has basically no bearing on Ohio State directly, it’s just the way the wacky RPI works, with the strengths of opponents and opponents’ opponents, etc… For example, if Cornell defeats Yale today, it provides a nice RPI boost to Ohio State. Alaska winning the CCHA consolation also provides some RPI “points,” as does a Michigan win over Notre Dame.

We’re talking about splitting minute hairs here. Ohio State, in some cases, beats out Air Force by .0001 in the RPI. These shifts are within a range of .0018 or so. It’s crazy. And it has nothing to do with anything Ohio State or Minnesota is doing directly.

A St. Lawrence win, meanwhile, helps Minnesota, because in most cases, it flips the Minnesota-Princeton comparison in the Gophers’ favor, sometimes by as little as .0001 in RPI.

There is also a crazy scenario where Wisconsin wins the consolation and Mercyhurst wins Atlantic, and somehow that gets the Badgers within .0003 RPI of Ohio State. So that close to getting in the NCAAs. I can’t find any way to actually get Wisconsin in, however.

Someone on the Cornell message board said there was a scenario where St. Lawrence wins the ECAC consolation, Mercyhurst wins Atlantic, and so SLU still doesn’t make the NCAAs. But I have not been able to replicate that.

Saturday … 1:24 a.m. — Just wrapping up things in Albany for the evening. The weirdest thing about this year’s Pairwise, is that Minnesota and Ohio State, two teams that were knocked out by Thursday, are wavering back and forth for the last spot, all dependent on results elsewhere. Their respective RPIs teeter around a few percentage points here and there depending on other results all over the country. Depending on various combos, one or the other makes it. Meanwhile, the only other spot up for grabs is the winner of the Princeton-SLU ECAC consolation. Also, of course, if Lowell wins Hockey East, it knocks out Minnesota and Ohio State. Miami looks safe. We’ll go more into the seedings during Saturday afternoon.

Friday … 11:05 p.m. — Cornell wins in 2nd OT. Princeton and St. Lawrence to play for an NCAA bid Saturday. Princeton gets in with a tie, SLU doesn’t.

Friday … 10:49 p.m. — Minnesota-Duluth stuns North Dakota with shutout win. Bulldogs are IN. Book it. North Dakota, 2 seed at best.

Friday … 10:05 p.m. — Another stunner out East, with Cornell scoring two late goals to force OT with Princeton. The winner gets a bid. Loser has to win tomorrow in the consolation. Meanwhile, BU and BC are 0-0, and teams like Ohio State are sweating that one out. If BC wins, it means Hockey East will get another bid.

Friday … 8:09 p.m. — Lowell stuns Northeastern with a late goal, then a win in OT. This means Northeastern will be a respectable No. 2 seed. A Lowell win upsets the apple cart for the likes of Ohio State. Still looking for a way for the ECAC to get four teams in. It doesn’t look like a tie helps St. Lawrence enough, however.

Friday … 7:20 p.m. — Notre Dame also gets a stunner. It keeps everything lined up with the higher seeds so far. This helps teams like Ohio State, in particular.

Friday … 6:36 p.m. — I’m trying to get St. Lawrence and the 2nd game ECACs loser in the NCAAs – a tie doesn’t seem to help SLU enough. Trying to see if SLU wins the consolation, if there’s any way for Princeton/Cornell to get in … Princeton, in one scenario, misses out by .0006 RPI

Friday … 6:28 p.m. — A stunning ECAC finish. St. Lawrence, poised to win, keep things in line for a possible 4 ECAC bids … and all of a sudden, Yale scores twice in about 20 seconds, both with under two minutes left, to steal the game. This means, the loser of Saturday’s ECAC consolation game, most likely will not get in. As we said earlier in the week — they should agree to tie.

Friday … 5:40 p.m. — I punched in North Dakota winning the WCHA, Northeastern winning HEA, and Yale in ECAC, and none of them were able to pass Denver. Pioneers will be a No. 1 seed for sure.

Friday … 5:33 p.m. — Denver has defeated Wisconsin, eliminating the Badgers once and for all. Denver may have locked up a No. 1 seed. Going to crunch some numbers.

Friday … 3:52 p.m. — Games are about to begin in Albany. The ECAC could get 4 teams in the NCAAs for the first time, but the best chance for that is St. Lawrence beating Yale in this game.

8 Responses to “Pairwise Live Blog”

  1. egfhosejockey Says:

    What are Minnesota chances now after the lost last night?

  2. adamw Says:

    Minnesota slipped to No. 14 after last night. Which is actually fine. Since they are done, they can’t lose again. And if UMD loses the next two, it would slip back down below Minnesota. The Gophers might be OK, depending on what happens elsewhere — i.e. no big upsets. But stay tuned here.

  3. egfhosejockey Says:

    If St Lawerence wins what teams if any would drop out? Would this put MN out?

  4. NmDPlm Says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, Adam, but how can Denver pull the #1 seed even if North Dakota wins the WCHA Final Five? Especially if they BEAT Denver in the Final?

    Just curious if I’m overlooking something.

  5. NmDPlm Says:

    Of course we all know now that UND got routed by an impressive UMD squad. But I’m still wondering how Denver would have been the #1 in the other instance.

  6. Mike Machnik Says:

    Looking to me like the top four seeds are locked in as BU, Notre Dame, Denver, Michigan in some order.

  7. byeweek Says:

    Oops, that didn’t show up well, try this:

    1 Michigan (4)
    4 St. Lawrence (13)
    2 Yale (5)
    3 Minnesota Duluth (11)

    1 Boston University (1)
    4 Bemidji State (16)
    2 Cornell (7)
    3 New Hampshire (10)

    1 Notre Dame (2)
    4 Air Force (15)
    2 Northeastern (8)
    3 Miami (12)

    1 Denver (3)
    4 Ohio State (14)
    2 North Dakota (6)
    3 Vermont (9)

  8. NJHockey Says:

    In looking at the tournament, it’s hard to believe that Wisconsin would be left out over either Princeton or St. Lawrence but it appears with pairwise that is the case. Could you see this happening with the NCAA basketball committee?

    No doubt the Badgers, Ohio State and in all likelihood Boston College would all be admitted before the winner of the ECAC consolation game had hockey used another method.

    On the downside, it’s hard to see any fairness in teams like Northeastern, Vermont, and Miami all being “locks” despite their performance at the end of the year.

    It just seems like it lends itself to chickanery come league tournament time.