Should M Hockey... tank a game????

Submitted by Wolverine In Exile on February 12th, 2009 at 11:57 AM

So I was parusing my usual USCHO.com Bracketology by Jason Moy reading for today and I had a disturbing thought.

Michigan hockey is in line for #1 seed which is good. But if Notre Dame finished ahead of us, they likely would get the #1 seed in the region closest to them which is Grand Rapids, likely pushing us out to the Western regional in Minnesota. Not too bad yet.

HOWEVER, Minnesota still has a shot of getting in as a #4 seed which since they're the host school for the Western regional, that means they get to play home games at theri campus rink as #4 seed. I'm sure the astute Michigan hockey fan will remember the advantage we received playing as the lower seed in Yost when we took out St Cloud St and one of those Colorado schools (Denver, right??) who was the #1 seed that year. So I don't want to get screwed by being a #1 seed and having to go to a "Region of Death" accentuated by the #4 seed being the home team.

That brings up the interesting dilemma... do we take the final day/weekend of the CCHA regular season off to lower our RPI so we're not a #1 seed. You say, "But W.I.E., even if we're a #2 seed that doesn't mean we won't get into a region of death". True, we still could be the #2 seed, get shipped to Minnesota's region anyway and still possibly play them in a regional final.

I hate doing this thought exercise, but let's take a hypothetical. Say we do this and get the #2 seed. Then say the NCAA decides to act on the proposed "geographic limitation rule" for all tourneys except basketball where a conscious effort is made to keep all teams as close to campus as possible. This would mean as a #2 seed we would likely be kept in Grand Rapids with Notre Dame as the #1 and a third CCHA team as the #3 seed (Ohio State by the latest bracketology). Outside of IMO having a better chance to win the region overall, the atmosphere in that place would be electric and provide some very entertaining rivalry hockey.

Now Minnesota could make this all moot by losing their at-large bid through continuing to descend the last couple weeks of the season (I'll take my chances with a Wisconsin #4 seed in Minneapolis). And I hate losing no matter what. But what say you M-hockey nation? Would you consider tanking against Ferris if it meant avoiding a Region of Death and getting our own non-#1 seed home regional in grand rapids?

Comments

Michigan Arrogance

February 12th, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

if M gets the 5 overall seed, they would probably put them in GR for two reasons: geography and the best #2 should get the best regional location of all the 2 seeds. these, combined with the fact that M & ND would lead to a big regional turnout AND no 1st round CCHA match-up, means they'd be in business.

then, i'd guess that the NCAA would push OSU to travel to Minny or back east to avoid a CCHA heavy regional and 1st round in-conf matchup.

wile_e8

February 12th, 2009 at 12:09 PM ^

Minor nitpick: No intra-conference matchups in round one of the NCAA tournament. So if they do end up as the #2 seed to ND's #1 seed in GR, the other two teams would be from other conferences (no OSU or any other CCHA team).

HooverStreetGeoff

February 12th, 2009 at 12:33 PM ^

First of all, I saw the same scenario coming a couple days ago: http://hooverstreetrag.blogspot.com/2009/02/hsr-bracketology.html

Secondly, tanking a game in the regular season would be a terrible idea, since so many things can still happen in the conference tournaments that would affect the ever-volatile Pairwise rankings. Besides, if we ended up beating Notre Dame in the CCHA tournament, there may be an opportunity leapfrog them into a hypothetical #3 overall seed.

wooderson

February 12th, 2009 at 12:42 PM ^

Actually, this week's USCHO mock bracket set up what in my mind is the ideal scenario: A Michigan-free Grand Rapids regional with Air Force, Miami, Notre Dame and Cornell gets about 30% attendence. Meanwhile the other 3 regions with their host teams are packed to the rafters, and Yost sits quiet and empty. Michigan is shipped out to Minneapolis but makes the Frozen Four anyway by crushing TWO host teams (Minnesota and Minn-Duluth) in succession. WCHA fans, WCHA AD's and Paula Weston go home crying. The End.

sdl.9109

February 12th, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

Discounting the conference tournaments (which have the potential to radically change up the Pairwise rankings, as top teams will be playing each other a lot), there appears to be a good chance that Minnesota will lose its at-large status. The teams that are within 3 comparisons (http://www.uscho.com/rankings/pwr.php?grid=&roadbon=&neutbon=&homebon= and http://www.uscho.com/rankings/pwr.php?grid=1&roadbon=&neutbon=&homebon= ) with Minnesota, thus making it reasonable to assume that they could switch up with Minnesota include UNH (14 pts.), Minn-Duluth (13 pts.) OSU (11 pts., tied w/ Minn), BC (10 pts.), Wisc (9 pts.), and North Dakota (9 pts.).

A look at each of these teams and Minnesota's chances of passing them or being passed by them. Use http://www.uscho.com/FAQs/?data=pwrexplanation for an explanation of the Pairwise Rankings, if you need one. To summarize, the Pairwise system compares the top 25 teams in the country based on RPI, record against top 25 teams, record against common opponents, and head-to-head competition.

UNH: UNH leads Minn by 3 comparisons. However, they win a lot of comparisons by the skin of their teeth and have a series with BC to end the year, meaning that their position is very tenuous and Minn could easily pass them.

Minn-Duluth: Minn-Duluth plays a 2 game series with Minn at Minn near the end of the season. A split or a sweep by Duluth all but ensures that Minn will not pass them, but beating Minn on the road is rather difficult.

OSU: OSU has not played Minn and has a pretty solid advantage in the RPI, which won't change unless OSU tanks to end the year. As OSU has 2 games against MSU, a game that Minn tied, OSU is likely to win the comparison in the Pairwise and stay ahead of Minn, unless BC winds up winning the comparison against OSU, which is likely to happen if Michigan sweeps OSU. A tie (shootouts don't count in the Pairwise) with Michigan likely keeps them ahead of BC and a win basically clinches it.

BC: BC hasn't played Minn and Minn has a pretty decisive advantage in two of the three comparisons, so BC is likely to remain behind Minn unless they manage to win 3 of 4 against UNH and Northeastern, with room to maybe lose one other game. This is almost certainly not going to happen.

Wisc: Wisconsin needs to sweep Minn-State (likely) and compile a .500 record against North Dakota and Denver (up in the air) to pass Minn. Anything could happen here.

UND: UND needs to compile as many wins and ties as Minn does in order to pass them, as the RPI difference between the teams is very small and UND plays against stronger competition to end the year, so they will win that comparison, which will allow them to win the comparison against Minn, resulting in UND ranking above Minn.

Another notable possibility is that Minn will lose ground when they travel to Colorado College this year. If Colorado College sweeps Minn, they win the comparison and Minn falls to 10 pts., lessening their chances of getting through further.

Please note that these scenarios are based on the assumption that none of these teams screw up in any significant way against weak competition. As it is likely that one or more of these teams will, these conclusions may be inaccurate.