Basically it compares each team in the rpi top 25 head to head in several categories like record against top 25, common opponents, etc. if you want detail then do a google search for it.
OT: Pair Wise How Does it Work?
I wrote a midseason recap that includes a primer on how the Pairwise works. It is based solely on on-ice performance, as opposed to the USCHO rankings, which are based on voting and don't really count for anything.
8 of 11 CCHA teams are in the top 16 with MSU nearby at #19.
We have 12 games remaining. Of those, 2 are against #1 OSU, 2 against #3 ND, 2 against #6 Northern Michigan, and 2 against #11 Miami (plus 2 against BGSU). That's pretty brutal. We'll know soon enough whether we belong in the tournament
41st on the PP is good enough for the tourney because if the season ended now we'd be in. We'll probably need to improve that if we want to get in and make some noise, but teams have probably won titles with more glaring weaknesses than ours
It compares teams on their RPI, their record against teams under consideration (top 25 in RPI) and record versus common opponents. For each of those three each team wins they get a point. Then head to head games are taken into account with one point assigned for each win. Whoever has more points wins the comparison. The teams are then ranked based on number of comparisons won.
On a side note, I'm not loving pairwise lately. I don't know how Michigan is in the top 10 given their early struggles (not that I'm not happy about it). On the other hand, a team like Cornell loses positions in the pairwise after going 1-0-1 at a top 10 team in Colorado College this weekend...doesn't make much sense.
I don't know how Michigan is in the top 10 given their early struggles (not that I'm not happy about it).
Even top-10 teams will have rough patches when >2/3 of the teams in the conference are tourney caliber. KRACH has them at 8.
The CCHA was absolutely dominant this year in nonconference games. Since the biggest component of the Pairwise is RPI, which mostly depends on your opponents' records (and their opponents' records), being part of a dominant conference dramatically inflates all of the teams' RPIs in that conference.
Right now, there are a number of teams in other conferences whose record against teams under consideration does not count, because they haven't played ten such games yet. As a result, the Pairwise is even more heavily dependent on RPI. That will lessen as the year goes on, so Michigan is still going to need (probably) to go better than .500 in the next 8 games. With Merrill back, and hopefully a healthy Hunwick, they have a much better shot at the tournament than they did a month ago.
About as well as the BCS