Hockey pairwise update: On to the Joe

Submitted by mfan_in_ohio on March 13th, 2011 at 3:00 AM

[EDIT: updated with Sunday's results]

Hockey’s Selection Sunday is now but a week away.  Michigan has advanced to the Joe and remains the #4 team in the Pairwise rankings, now tied with Miami (for more on the Pairwise, see here). 

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s significant action:

  • This was on Friday, not Saturday, but still: David Wohlberg was sandwiched hard by two BG players as he reached for the puck, and Red Berenson said that he’s probably done for the season.  Ugh. However, we could have Louie Caporusso back next weekend, so we’ve got that going for us.  Which is nice.
  • Denver completed its sweep of MSU (NTMSU), knocking the Screaming Eagles Mavericks out of the ranks of the TUC, and obliterating Denver’s TUC record as a result.  If you have a problem with how this works, by the way, check out everyone quoting the basketball team’s record against the RPI top 50, which went from something like 1-9 to 6-10 this weekend, thanks to MSU and Penn State.  Anyway, this makes it impossible for Denver to pass Michigan now without Michigan losing.
  • Notre Dame lost to Lake Superior.  You want this to happen again today, which would set up a Michigan-LSSU semifinal.  Should Notre Dame win, Michigan would play the winner of the Western-Ferris series, currently tied 1-1.  Either way, it’s really hard for Notre Dame to pass us now, even if they beat us at the Joe, because our RPI will be much better.
  • Miami swept Alaska, and is now tied with Michigan in the Pairwise.  In fact, if both teams reach the finals, Miami will probably be ahead of Michigan in the Pairwise going into that game.  However, it looks like Michigan would have to lose, either to Miami or to someone else, for Miami to pass Michigan, so the closeness of this comparison is a little irrelevant, since at least one of the two teams will definitely lose.  The most important thing to say is that you are rooting really really hard for Miami to lose. 
  • Merrimack completed its sweep of the same Maine team that embarrassed them just two weeks ago.  This gives Merrimack a lead in their comparison against us.  However, they will play either BC or New Hampshire in the Hockey East semis.  If Merrimack wins out, they win the comparison.  If they play New Hampshire in either the semis or finals, and UNH  beats them, we will win the comparison even with one loss at the Joe, because the Common Opponents record would be tied, and we would win RPI.  If Merrimack loses to BC in the semis, we will win the comparison with higher RPI and tied TUC record, even with one loss at the Joe.  If Merrimack loses to BC in the finals, we win the comparison if we win out.
  • Bemidji State completed its sweep of UNO, so the Mavericks are done, and we will own our comparison against them.  Yay!  By the way, Bemidji has 14 wins in 36 games this year.  They are 5-0-1 against a UNO team that went 21-10-1 against everyone else.  Weird.
  • Union lost to Colgate.  This wiped out their RPI advantage over us to the point where we are basically tied, and means they have to beat Colgate tomorrow to stay alive in the ECAC tournament.  The good news is that Union played Bemidji State earlier in the season and lost.  Bemidji is now a TUC, and should stay that way even if they lose their next game in the WCHA tournament.  This slight wound to Union’s TUC record means that if both teams win out, Michigan would win the comparison. 

Sunday's results:

  • Union lost to Colgate, so they are done.  They can only pass us if we lose both games at the Joe, at which point it doesn't really matter that they passed us.
  • Yale won their quarterfinal, but the Union loss makes that irrelevant.
  • Notre Dame defeated Lake Superior, and Western defeated Ferris.  So the CCHA matchups are Michigan-WMU and Notre Dame-Miami. 
  • Northeastern defeated BU, so Merrimack plays UNH in one Hockey East semifinal, and BC plays Northeastern. 

The upshot:

  • If Michigan wins its two games at the Joe, they will likely get a #1 seed.  Apart from the top 3, only Merrimack would be able to win a comparison against us.  Even then, they might lose a comparison to someone else, and then we’d get the top seed with our better RPI.  Should Michigan and Merrimack win out and Merrimack get the last #1 seed, it will be in St. Louis, and we’d probably be the #2 seed there, and I’m fine with that.  A better way to look at this is: win out and you go to St. Louis, which is far more preferable than all the other regions.
  • The most important teams to root against are now Miami and Merrimack. Unleash all of your psychic rage and voodoo magic upon them.
  • A loss at any point for Michigan almost certainly means a #2 seed, and brings in the possibility that we’d get sent to the east coast to face UNH and BC in Manchester, or be in Yale’s regional in Bridgeport.  If we had to lose, the best loss would be to ND in the finals.

By the way, I think it’s about time we got to host our own regional again.  The Northeast regional is always within an hour drive of Boston.  Yale is hosting this year and next.  The Frozen Four is in Minneapolis-St. Paul this year, and they host a regional next year.  Green Bay hosts this year and next, if Wisconsin could every get there.  And that means that there are regionals in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, which is stupid.  Why is Michigan punished for having better fans than everyone else?  If you don’t want it in Yost, I understand (although I think it's time we stopped having to pay for the 1998 championship), but can we at least have a Detroit regional?  /rant

Edit: I get that the regional-hosting decision, at least the decision to even bid, is based on money, which is why the Joe doesn't host.  There are some sites that haven't hosted, though, that I'm surprised haven't bid (or haven't won a bid).  I think Toledo would be a good regional site, as well as Cleveland.  Actually, with Dan Gilbert being a MSU guy, maybe someone could prevail upon him to bring a regional, or even the Frozen Four, to Cleveland, so that 1) I can go, and 2) he can bring in a bunch of outside people to rent his arena and go to his hopefully-soon-to-open casino.  Half of the CCHA is within a very reasonable drive of Cleveland, as are a couple others (Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, Niagara, Penn State).   While it is the Worst State Ever, it's a lot closer than St. Louis.

And now, on to the Joe. Go Blue!




March 13th, 2011 at 3:18 AM ^

at least give us one within reasonable distance of the whole lower peninsula. whats up with having 2 regionals and the frozen four on WCHA turf and 2 regionals all the way out on the east coast.

ann arbor needs to get a regional but we probably won't get it because it's, as brian put it i think, "where higher rated wcha teams go to die" and people dont like that. but detroit, grand rapids, kalamazoo(??), etc would be great

why send the team with the best fans hundreds of miles from its fans? and hundreds of miles from the entire ccha. is the ncaa determined to keep attendance low?

919 Brown

March 13th, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

It was in Grand Rapids at Van Andel Arena, not in Kalamazoo. I went to the ND - Bemidji State game that year and I'm pretty sure there were just as many Beavers as there were Irish.  I was also there in 2005 for that crushing loss to Colorado College, ugh. Anyway, a good place to watch hockey and a good city to host a regional.


March 14th, 2011 at 1:05 PM ^

Brian addressed this a bit after the playoffs last season, but I don't know why the NCAA wants to move away from schools hosting Regional brackets.  After the meh attendance at Fort Wayne, I think the NCAA would like to see a packed and crazed Yost crowd.

...besides, we're going to have sweet new scoreboards next season....we're ready man!


March 13th, 2011 at 8:47 AM ^

I know the Big Chill was a one time deal, but imagine if they were able to swing a hockey playoff at the Big House. Talk about ticket sales.


March 13th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

I think it was colder by game time.  Also, 65 degrees on a late March afternoon is not unheard of.  The NCAA would want a little more certainty with their regional sites.  Plus, they have enough trouble filling 12,000 -seat arenas for regionals.  A half-empty Big House might lose a lot of money.


March 13th, 2011 at 9:27 AM ^

I was asking those questions about the regionals a couple days ago.

Let me see if I get this straight:

Two regionals are being hosted on the East Coast by Yale and New Hampshire

One regional is in Green Bay, and I'm assuming is hosted by Wisky (even though they might not make the dance)

The final regional is hosted be the entire CCHA and is in SAINT LOUIS?!?!

IMO, since the Saint Louis regional is hosted by the CCHA, the highest seeded CCHA team should automatically go there.

I know we might end up there anyway if we can hold onto the 1 seed.

But if we fall to the 2 we are probably going east even if we are the highest CCHA team in the tournament.

In fact, I think they should get rid of individual teams hosting regionals all together.

Have each regional hosted by a conference: CCHA, WCHA, HE, and ECAC (Atlantic Hockey is left out but we could do a rotation if need me)

Then, as I said earlier, the highest seeded team from each conference would be guaranteed a spot in that regional. 

I think hockey is heavily favored/biased toward the East Coast right now, and its not surprising that HE has dominated the last 3 national championships. 

We need to have some more consistency. 


March 13th, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^

The reason we don't have regionals in Detroit is that there is no arena in Detroit that is both (1) capable of hosting a regional and (2) interested in hosting a regional.  The only arena that fits category (1) is Joe Louis Arena, and they emphatically do not fit category (2).  With the NCAA's ban on alcohol sales and advertising at NCAA tournament events, the event was a massive money loser for Joe Louis Arena the two times they hosted.  Olympia Entertainment made it very public that they are never going to host an NCAA event again.

There are a handful of arenas in CCHA territory that have bid on regionals or might be interested in doing so.  Grand Rapids and Fort Wayne, obviously, but I think Toledo would be an excellent regional site as well with their new arena.  The regionals do need to be distributed more evenly throughout the country, avoiding the western regionals being in Green Bay & St. Louis (this year) and, even more absurdly, Green Bay & Minneapolis (next year).  Note that Michigan Tech is the host in Green Bay, not Wisconsin.

Given that the regional sites have not been determined past next year, I think we might see the NCAA go to the lacrosse-like format of the first round being at the top 8 seeded teams (possibly best-of-3) and the quarterfinal round being at pre-determined neutral sites during what is now the off week between regionals and frozen four.


March 13th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

You have no idea what you are talking about.

When both the regionals and the Frozen Four was in Denver a couple of years ago, the Pepsi center covered up all the advertising and professional sports stuff (hung black curtains, rolled up banners, etc.) and beer was allowed on the suite level only.  The Pepsi center had security stationed to make sure nobody took alcohol out of the suites.

So there are ways to comply with NCAA rules.  Nobody in the Detroit Metro area has put forth the effort that's all.


March 13th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

Do you think any of what you said contradicts what I said?

Joe Louis Arena found hockey regionals to be huge money losers, because of the ban on alcohol sales (I'm not talking about the suites; I'm talking about the arena selling alcohol to patrons) and alcohol advertising.  Joe Louis Arena put forth the effort to host 2 regionals in the early 1990s, and has not bid on NCAA regionals since then, and they will tell you why if you ask--alcohol sales and advertising.



March 13th, 2011 at 10:55 PM ^

So how does a cow town like Denver do it then?  How does a hockey oasis, when compared to Michigan, put on two very successful NCAA hockey events without booze and ads and without a home/host team nonetheless, but "hockeytown" cannot.  Sorry, not buying it.


March 13th, 2011 at 11:32 PM ^

Sorry, but I have come to the conclusion that I just don't understand your point.  What did Denver "do"?  You mean that they hosted a regional?  Do you think they made money on the regional?  I think they lost money but they had to host a regional to get the Frozen Four there.  Quid pro quo from the NCAA.

Do you think Joe Louis is bidding to host the regionals?  They are not.  The evidence is out there; you can find lists of venues that bid for regionals.  So given the fact that Joe Louis is not bidding for the regionals, why do you think they aren't?

It doesn't matter if you are "buying it" or not--Olympia Entertainment has not bid on a regional since the early 1990s, and they have given no indication that they will start doing it. 


March 14th, 2011 at 12:09 AM ^


What I took from your OP is that Olympia won't bid on a NCAA event because the ban on booze and ads hurts their bottom line.

I countered with doubt and offered that if a non-traditional hockey market could do it -- very successfully -- TWICE, then there is no excuse that it cannot be held at JLA for other any other reason than people not being committed to it.  Anything else, like booze or ads, are just a weak excuse.

> Do you think they made money on the regional?  I think they lost money but

Nobody can say that for certain as the NCAA doesn't publish such stats and the CoC wasn't bitching either.

> Do you think Joe Louis is bidding to host the regionals?  They are not.

I never said that.  It's plain to see that JLA isn't bidding on squat.

> It doesn't matter if you are "buying it" or not--Olympia Entertainment has not bid on a

> regional since the early 1990s, and they have given no indication that they will start

> doing it.

Right.  I acknowledge that bids are not being made.  But what I took from your posts is the reasons why JLA/Olympia is NOT is because of booze and ads.  To that I say baloney.  In 2008,  Denver had over 55K in attendance for the three games.

NCAA hockey has a niche following.  If a place where hockey is NOT part of the culture can throw a successful tourney then a place like Michigan should be able to do reasonably well too.  Ford Field was a mixed bag.  The NCAA was happy with attendance but there was lots of bitching about the venue by some fans and the media.

This is NOT Gary Bettman trying to make hockey stick in markets where it doesn't belong. 

I think Olympia is taking the easy way out by blaming booze and ads... there's more to it and the public isn't being told the rest of the story.



March 13th, 2011 at 11:06 AM ^

If Miami loses in the semis next weekend to ND and then we lose to ND in the finals, how do the comparisons look? Will we win the Miami comparison? And how far do we drop in the overall standings (2 seed in St. Louis?)


March 14th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

Both teams would have a win against ND and a loss against FSU/WMU, so it shouldn't change anything.  As for seeding, the #1 seed is still a possibility at that point, but Denver and Merrimack would have to lose as well.  Of course, none of those three are probably the favorites in their conference tournaments anyway, so it's possible.


March 13th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

I agree on the regional host argument but I've always thought the top 4 seeds should host the regionals. This would give the teams that earned it during the season a small advantage and with all the upsets that can happen in college hockey's one and done style I think it's only fair. And it would probably fill the arenas unlike Fort Wayne last year amongst many others.


March 13th, 2011 at 6:48 PM ^

Toledo has a brand new arena The Huntington Center downtown for our Walleye minor league hockey team with about 8000 capacity and hotels all around it.  It's a beautiful facility and a fairly neutral venue.  It is easily accesible to many of the CCHA teams.  I would push for that if the Joe is considered too much of a home venue for UM and MSU since they play there regularly. 


March 13th, 2011 at 10:35 PM ^

I was also at the Michigan vs. Colorado College game in GR.  Great place to watch a hockey game.  The game was awesome until the third period.