March 4, 2015

The Road to Ridder: Men's Bracketology, Take III

by Matthew Webb
Contributor, D3hockey.com

The third and final public NCAA rankings were released on Tuesday which means us here at D3hockey.com return for second-to-last installment of 2015 Men's Bracketology. As Sunday's final regional rankings are not released to the public, this is the final Bracketology in which we will be able to operate on known regional rankings.  As always, we will attempt to project the Men's NCAA Tournament field based on the published process the NCAA National Committee should be using to select and seed the NCAA tournament field.

We still project Hobart to come up short in Pool B, but it doesn't mean the Statesmen can't claim a Pool C spot.
Photo: HWS Athletics

As a reminder, our goal is not necessarily to predict the field the committee will ultimately select, but rather to implement the selection process, step-by-step, in the most equitable and fair manner we deem possible. To that end, a few things we always keep in mind:

  • Process, process, process. The published process is the only thing that matters. You might not like it, we might not like parts of it, but it is what it is. To worry about things outside of the process muddies the waters and tends to lead to more confusion amongst fans than it resolves. Learn the process here.
  • It has been numerous years since the tournament selection yielded an outcome that was not easily explained by tenets of the process itself. While some, including us, may have differed with the committee's decisions at times, they nonetheless have fallen completely within the framework of the process.
  • To cross the boundary from interpretation and application to delve into the world of speculation does a disservice to everyone. There is more of that than ever swirling around out there this time of year and it is something we will not engage in.


As we will see as we go through the process, this week's version will feature two notable differences from our second edition. First, Trinity's loss at the hands of Tufts has dropped in the Bantams into the Pool C pot, and second, UMass Boston's loss to Babson has pushed Hobart and Norwich above the Beacons in this week's rankings. This will also alter the Pool C landscape.

And on those notes, away we go....

 

The Tournament

  • The 2015 Men's Division III Ice Hockey Championship will consist of 11 teams.
  • Seven conference playoff champions will receive automatic qualifying bids (Pool A) to the tournament. These conferences are the: ECAC East, ECAC Northeast, MASCAC, MIAC, NCHA, NESCAC & SUNYAC.
  • One team from a conference that does not possess a Pool A bid will receive a Pool B bid. This will be awarded to a team from either the ECAC West or WIAC.
  • Three teams that do not receive Pool A bids nor the Pool B bid will receive at-large (Pool C) bids into the tournament. Every team that did not receive a Pool A or Pool B bid is eligible for a Pool C bid.
  • For the purpose of Pool C selection, as well as team comparisons for regional ranking purposes and tournament seeding, the NCAA committee will rely mainly on what it refers to as its Primary Criteria, which are as follows:

                     
  • Win-lost percentage against Division III opponents (WIN)
  • Division III head-to-head results (H2H)
  • Results versus common Division III opponents (COP)
  • Results versus ranked Division III teams as established by the rankings at the time of selection.  Conference postseason contests are included (RNK)^
  • Division III strength of schedule (SOS)*

              Consisting of:
            -  2/3 Opponents' Average Winning Percentage (OWP)

            -  1/3 Opponents' Opponents' Winning Percentage (OOWP)

  • Win-lost percentage during the last 25% of the season (L25)

 

There are also a pair of Secondary Criterion the committees may look at if they are unable to come to a determination by using only the primary criteria, and they are as follows:

 
  • Non-Division III won-lost percentage
  • Results versus common non-Division III opponents


Regional Rankings

  • The NCAA regional committees will release three editions of regional rankings prior to tournament selection, with the release dates being February 18, 25 and March 3. A fourth will be generated on Selection Sunday, but those are not released to the public.
  • The East Region rankings will contain eight teams, the West Region six.
  • For the sake of RNK, the NCAA considers a team ranked only if it is ranked at the time of tournament selection (in the March 8 final rankings).

NCAA Regional Rankings - February 24

EAST REGION WEST REGION
1. Amherst 1. Adrian
2. Trinity
2. UW-Stevens Point
3. Oswego State
3. St. Norbert
4. Hobart
4. UW-Eau Claire
5. Norwich
5. UW-River Falls
6. UMass Boston
6. St. Thomas
7. Plattsburgh State
 
8. Babson  

 

Pool Selection


  • Pool A

As Bracketology assumes this would be the tournament field were the season to end today, we will use the highest seeds remaining in the Pool A eligible conferences as our automatic qualifiers.  Thus, the seven Pool A bids go to:

 POOL A QUALIFIERS
ECACE: Norwich
ECACNE: Nichols
MASCAC: Plymouth State
MIAC: Saint Mary's
NCHA: Adrian
NESCAC: Amherst
SUNYAC Plattsburgh State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pool B:

As only teams from the ECAC West and WIAC are eligible here, this should be easy enough.  In the past two weeks we have included UW-Eau Claire and/or UW-River Falls, but after last week's outcomes we're going to revert to simply comparing the top ranked ECAC West team, Hobart, with the top-ranked WIAC team, UW-Stevens Point, as regardless of what happens this coming weekend one of these two will get this bid.

  HOBART STEVENS POINT
WIN  .7690  .7960
SOS  .5440  .5470
RNK  0-2-0 (.0000)
 7-3-0 (.7000)
H2H  -  -
COP  -
 -
L25  7-0-0 (1.000)  5-1-1 (.7860)


Analysis:
We still find this a rather elementary comparison. It goes to Stevens Point. The Pointers hold the edge in WIN and SOS, as well as a commanding edge in RNK. Hobart does claim the L25 edge but it is nowhere near significant enough to swing this comparison in its favor. A Stevens Point win over River Falls this weekend locks the Pointers into Pool B even if Hobart downs Neumann to claim the ECAC West title.  The curious situation is what happens if Stevens Point loses and Hobart wins, but we'll cross that bridge on Sunday if we have to. Besides, whoever doesn't claim this bid can always claim a Pool C spot...

The Pool B bid is awarded to: UW-Stevens Point

 

  • Pool C:

We now must consider which teams will get at-large bids to the tournament. That requires looking at the highest ranked teams in the regional rankings that are not projected to win Pool A, and those are:

East: Trinity, Oswego State, Hobart

West: St. Norbert, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls

Let's begin by constructing a table that shows each of these six teams' relative winning percentage (WIN), strength-of-schedule (SOS), record against ranked teams (RNK) and last 25% of their season (L25).  We'll eye things up and see if we can come to any obvious conclusions.

  WIN SOS RNK L25
Trinity
 .8600  .5250  .5000 (2-2-0)
 .8333 (6-1-0)
Hobart  .7690  .5440  .0000 (0-2-0)
 1.000 (7-0-0)
Oswego State
 .8333  .5180  .8333 (2-0-1)
 .7500 (4-1-1)
St. Norbert
 .7780  .5120  .2500 (1-3-0)
 .8570 (6-1-0)
UW-Eau Claire  .7040  .5630  .4444 (5-6-0)
 .7140 (5-2-0)
UW-River Falls
 .7220  .5280  .1888 (2-7-1)
 .5710 (4-3-0)


Analysis:
Trinity is new to the picture this week and Hobart returns to it after bouncing up a spot in the East Region rankings. However, though the lyrics have changed our song here remains the same: The East Region teams are very strong.

St. Norbert remains the highest-ranked West Region team in this mix and it is very difficult to see how the Green Knights could outpace Trinity, Oswego State or Hobart for one of the three bids. We just don't see it which makes our analysis fairly elementary: for the third week in a row we're taking the Eastern trio.

Now, as is the case every year, the results of this weekend's conference finals will alter the Pool C picture we look at in our Bracketology Final Call this Sunday, so we're not going to worry about running through endless theoreticals as to how this might change based on those results. Will we simply wait for the games to play out, which means we make our decisions as things stand now and that means all Pool C's again go East. And just to put it out there...we still like Eau Claire's numbers here.

The Pool C bids are awarded to: Trinity, Oswego State, Hobart

 

Setting The Field

  • Thus, our full tournament field is:
NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
ECACE: Norwich
ECACNE: Nichols
MASCAC: Plymouth State
MIAC: Saint Mary's
NCHA: Adrian
NESCAC: Amherst
SUNYAC: Plattsburgh State
Pool B: UW-Stevens Point
Pool C: Trinity
Pool C: Oswego State
Pool C: Hobart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeding the Field

  • Now the field must be seeded by region.  Using this week's regional rankings, it would look something like this:
EAST
WEST
1. Amherst 1. Adrian
2. Trinity
2. UW-Stevens Point
3. Oswego State
3. Saint Mary's
4. Hobart

5. Norwich

6. Plattsburgh State

7. Nichols

8. Plymouth State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Bracket

This might be the easiest 8-3 we ever could have asked for, and here's why: Hobart is back in the field in this week's projection and its regional seed is perfect when it comes to settling the weekly dilemma of what to do with Adrian. So, simply put, we're sending Hobart to Adrian for a quarterfinal.

Adrian/Hobart makes for a 1W v 4E quarterfinal, which is utterly perfect by seed and also allows sets up the top two seeds in each region to host quarterfinals. However, it's not completely perfect as a number two regional seed, Trinity, is stuck in an opening rounder but it's either the Bantams or Stevens Point that is forced into that situation by travel restrictions.  Our best guess that Stevens Point would be a higher overall seed than Trinity at this point so we're sending the Pointers right to a quarterfinal. This route also avoids the potential of a 1W v 2W quarterfinal and instead offers potential quarterfinal match-ups, by regional seed, of 2W v 3W, 1W v 4E, 1E v 5E and 2E v 3E. That's as good as it gets.

While not completely perfect due to the unfortunate inevitability of one of the number two regional seeds having to play in the first round, we believe that with these eleven teams this is as absolutely close as we or anyone else can get to a truly equitable bracket that falls within NCAA guidelines.

One other note: we keep seeing talk about how Adrian playing an East Region team in a quarterfinal is some sort of absurdity. Well, it's not. It's happened twice before and early-round play between teams from different regions occurs all the time in most other Division III sports. We just didn't see it pre-Adrian due to hockey's highly unique geographical distribution of schools.

 

First Round

8E Plymouth State @ 2E Trinity

7E Nichols @ 3E Oswego State

6E Plattsburgh State @ 5E Norwich

 

Quarterfinals

3W Saint Mary's @ 2W UW-Stevens Point

4E Hobart @ 1W Adrian

Plattsburgh State/Norwich @ 1E Amherst

Nichols/Oswego State v. Trinity/Plymouth State

 

Analysis: 

A very similar bracket construct as last week though teams and seeds have shuffled around a bit. Now all we have to do is decide who plays who in the semifinals. Without knowing what the overall seeds would be this is a tough one as it's tough to slot Amherst, Trinity, Adrian, UW-Stevens Point, and/or Oswego into seeds 1-4 with complete certaintly. So, we'll keep it simple and put the top regional seeds on the opposite side of the bracket, which leaves us with potential semifinal match-ups of:

Saint Mary's/UW-Stevens Point v. Norwich/Plattsburgh State/Amherst
Adrian/Hobart v. Trinity/Plymouth State/Oswego State/Nichols

 

Thoughts?

Questions, comments, you'd like further explanation or you simply think we're nuts?  No problem, we'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to jump with your own ideas in the Bracketology Discussion over on the D3sports forums.  Or you can always yell at us on twitter @d3hky.

 

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March 4, 2015

The end of an era: Beaney announces retirement

More news about: Middlebury

Compiled by D3hockey.com staff

College hockey has reached the end of an era as legendary Middlebury coach Bill Beaney announced that he is stepping down from his position as men's ice hockey coach at a press conference in Middlebury on Wednesday afternoon.

Bill Beaney speaks at Wednesday's press conference.
Photo: Middlebury Athletics

"I have been truly blessed to have had the chance to coach at Middlebury College, a place that believes deeply in the concept of the student-athlete," said Beaney. "A coach is only one part of a successful program. It requires the commitment of the entire institution, from the president to the director of athletics, from the faculty to the entire coaching staff, and of course to the quality and character of the players."

Beaney spent 28 seasons behind the Panthers' bench where he guided the program to a 516-184-51 mark. Including seven seasons as head coach at New England College, Beaney's career mark stands at 602-260-59 and his 602 career wins in Division III stand as the 11th most in NCAA history across all divisions and the most attained by any coach at the Division III level.

His 516 wins at Middlebury level stand as the most achieved by a coach at a single Division III institution.

Beaney-by-the-year
1977-78     N. England College     7-13-2
1978-79     N. England College     10-13-2
1979-80     N. England College     9-13-0
1980-81     N. England College     16-8-0
1981-82     N. England College     15-10-1
1982-83     N. England College     13-11-0
1983-84     N. England College     16-8-3
1986-87     Middlebury     7-16-1
1987-88     Middlebury     7-16-1
1988-89     Middlebury     11-12-1
1989-90     Middlebury     21-5-1
1990-91     Middlebury     22-3-1
1991-92     Middlebury     21-5-0
1992-93     Middlebury     18-4-2
1993-94     Middlebury     13-10-0
1994-95     Middlebury     23-2-2*
1995-96     Middlebury     26-2-0*
1996-97     Middlebury     22-3-2*
1997-98     Middlebury     24-2-2*
1998-99     Middlebury     21-5-1*
1999-00     Middlebury     20-5-2
2000-01     Middlebury     23-4-1
2001-02     Middlebury     26-2-1
2003-04     Middlebury     27-3-0*
2004-05     Middlebury     23-4-3*
2005-06     Middlebury     26-2-2*
2006-07     Middlebury     20-8-3
2007-08     Middlebury     18-7-2
2008-09     Middlebury     19-7-1
2009-10     Middlebury     19-5-4
2010-11     Middlebury     11-8-6
2011-12     Middlebury     14-10-3
2012-13     Middlebury     13-11-2
2013-14     Middlebury     11-11-3
2014-15     Middlebury     10-12-3
* national champion

Includied in Beaney's run of success was an unprecedented span from 1995 to 2006 in which Middlebury scored a remarkable eight national championships. The Panthers' five consecutive titles from 1995-99 remain a Division III record, and they were followed by a run of three straight championships from 2004-06.  The eight national titles remain the most won by any Division III program.

"He is one of the most successful hockey coaches in terms of wins and championships, but that only begins to illustrate his success," said Middlebury Director of Athletics Erin Quinn. "The true measure of his success is the impact he has had on the young men who have played for him at Middlebury."

A native of Lake Placid, New York and 1973 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Beaney was a four-year letterwinner for the Wildcats and served as team captain during the 1972-73 season.

Following graduation Beaney coached at Bellows Free Academy in Vermont and guided the team to three straight championships. His induction to the college ranks came in 1977 when he accepted the head position at New England College. During his tenure at NEC, Beaney guided the Pilgrims to four straight ECAC tournaments and one NCAA tournament appearance and was named New England Coach of the Year following the 1981-82 and 1983-84 seasons.

Long considered one of the earliest advocates of the "small ice game" concept, Beaney accepted the head position at Middlebury in 1986 and success, driven by a unique and innovative style of play, soon followed. 1989-90 proved the Panthers' breakout season under Beaney as they rolled up a 21-5-1 mark.

Middlebury's first NCAA tournament appearance did not come until 1995, due to conference-wide restrictions on postseason play, but the Panthers wasted little time making the most of it as they downed Fredonia State 1-0 to claim their first national title and launch what became an unprecedented string of five straight national championships.

Though the championship streak ended in 2000, Middlebury continued to be a force at the national level and a regular participant in the NCAA tournament.  The Panthers found themselves at the top of the Division III world in yet again in 2004 as they notched their sixth national title under Beaney, while numbers seven and eight followed in 2005 and 2006.  Middlebury's lone loss in the championship game came in 2007, and its 8-1 mark in title games and 34-7-2 record in the NCAA tournament under Beaney are likely numbers that will never be matched.

Collectively during his time at Middlebury Beaney's squads claimed eight NESCAC championships and one ECAC championship.  A four-time Ed Jeremiah Award winner as Division III Men's Coach of the Year, Beaney garnered in honors in 1990, 1995, 2004, 2006, and added four more New England Coach of the Year awards in 1989, 1991, 1995 and 2006. His four Ed Jeremiah Awards are tied for the most all-time.

Additionally, under Beaney's tutelage four Middlebury players -- Ray Alcindor ('94), Ian Smith ('96), Mark Spence ('98) and Kevin Cooper ('04) claimed the Sid Watson Award, annually presented to the nation's best men's Division III player.

Concurrent with his collegiate coaching career, Beaney was extensively involved with USA Hockey. He served as head coach of the USA Junior Olympic team from 1985-97 and of the Women's Junior National Team in 1996 and 1997.

Beaney was recently named to Lake Placid's Olympic Regional Development Authority's Board of Directors and will continue to coach the men's golf team at Middlebury, a position he has held for the past 21 years. Under Beaney, the Panthers' golf team has won five NESCAC championships and made five NCAA tournament appearances.

 

~

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March 4, 2015

Men's Playoff Tracker


Salve Regina's John Scorcia erupted for a six-point night in the Seahawks' 9-3 ECACNE semifinal win over Johnson & Wales.
Photo: Salve Regina Athletics

The week's postseason action stayed in the Northeast on Wednesday night as while last night it was the MASCAC semifinals, this time it was the ECAC Northeast.

As is the case in the MASCAC, the ECACNE championship game will feature the two top seeds as top-seed Nichols edged Curry, 3-2, while two-seed Salve Regina rolled past Johnson and Wales by a final of 9-3.

Salve Regina got off to a fast start as first period goals by Evan Schultz, Lucas Sousa and John Scorcia staked the Seahawks a 3-0 lead, while back-to-back second period goals by Scorcia rounded out his hat trick and the rout was on.

Scorcia paced the Salve Regina offense all night as he added three assists to go along with his hat trick, while Schultz finished with two goals and three assists to cap off a five-point night.  Marc Biggs posted a four-point night of his own, all of which came by way of assists.  The Seahawks outshot Johnson and Wales 50-23 and goaltender Alexander Devine made 20 saves to get the win.

Things were much closer at Nichols but the host Bison held leads of 1-0 after one period and 2-0 after two thanks to goals by Brett Jackson and Steve Lecey.  A Paul Prescott empty-netter with 2:05 to play made it 3-0 and appeared to put the game on ice, but Curry wasn't finished.

The Colonels' Tyler Vankleef scored an extra-attacker goal to make it 3-1 with 1:06 to play and Chris Mason added a second to cut it to 3-2 with 38 seconds to go but the Colonels were unable to find the equalizer in the closing seconds.

Curry claimed a 37-27 shot advantage in the contest, but Nichols' netminder Alex Larson turned back 35 of them to hold the Colonels at bay and help lift the Bison into the league finals.

Salve Regina is seeking its first NCAA tournament appearance and has reached the ECACNE championship game for the first time since 2013, while Nichols is gunning for its second straight ECACNE title and NCAA tournament appearance. The two have met twice this season as Nichols claimed a 5-0 win on January 24 while the two played to a 4-4 (ot) draw on February 14.

***

All league finals except for the NESCAC and the men's schedule sees a two-day reprieve fire to Saturday's pending firestorm.  Stay tuned right here for all your up-to-date information on all league playoff results.

 

Link Codes: LS - Live Stats A - Audio V - Video BX - Box Score RC - Recap

 

ECAC East

Tournament format: All eight Division III teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games.  All rounds are single game format. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Norwich, 2 UMass Boston, 3 Babson, 4 Castleton, 5 University of New England, 6 New England College, 7 Skidmore, 8 Southern Maine


Championship: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

ECAC Northeast

Tournament format: Top six teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games, top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals.  All rounds are single game format. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Nichols, 2 Salve Regina, 3 Johnson & Wales, 4 Curry, 5 Wentworth, 6 Suffolk


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

ECAC West

Tournament format: All six teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games, top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals.  All rounds are single game format.  The champion does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Hobart, 2 Neumann, 3 Nazareth, 4 Elmira, 5 Utica, 6 Manhattanville


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

MASCAC

Tournament format: Top six teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games, top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals.  All rounds are single game format. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Plymouth State, 2 Salem State, 3 Fitchburg State, 4 Westfield State, 5 Worcester State, 6 UMass Dartmouth


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

MIAC

Tournament format: Top five teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games, top three seeds receive byes to the semifinals.  All rounds are single game format. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 St. Thomas 2 Saint Mary's, 3 Concordia-Moorhead, 4 Augsburg, 5 Hamline


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

NCHA

Tournament format: Top eight teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games.  Quarterfinals are first-to-three-point series w/minigame if necessary.  Semifinals and finals are single game format. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Adrian, 2 St. Norbert, 3 Lake Forest, 4 MSOE, 5 Marian, 6 St. Scholastica, 7 Lawrence, 8 Concordia (Wis.)


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

NESCAC

Tournament format: Top eight teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts quarterfinals, semifinals and finals are hosted at a single location by the highest remaining seed. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Trinity, 2 Amherst, 3 Connecticut College, 4 Williams, 5 Bowdoin, 6 Hamilton, 7 Middlebury, 8 Tufts


Championship game: Sunday, March 8
all times Eastern

 

SUNYAC

Tournament format: Top six teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games, top two seeds receive byes to semifinals. All games single game format. Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 Plattsburgh State, 2 Oswego State, 3 Geneseo State, 4 Potsdam State, 5 Buffalo State, 6 Brockport State


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

WIAC

Tournament format: All five teams qualify.  Higher seed hosts all games, top three seeds receive byes to semifinals. First round and championship game are single game format, semifinals are first-to-three-point series w/minigame if necessary.  The champion does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

 

Seeding: 1 UW-Stevens Point, 2 UW-Eau Claire, 3 UW-River Falls, 4 UW-Stout, 5 UW-Superior


Championship game: Saturday, March 7
all times Eastern

 

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[archive]
Friday, Mar. 6: All times Eastern
W:
Start of 1st
Concordia (Wis.) 0
Adrian 0
Live Stats Video
W:
7:00 PM
St. Norbert at Lake Forest
Live Stats Video
No contests today.
Friday, Mar. 6: All times Eastern
W:
Start of 1st
Concordia (Wis.) 0
Adrian 0
Live Stats Video