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Should good teams schedule more good nonconference opponents?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Timothy A View Post
    MJ has made specific comments in the past about why they play Lindenwood. To grow the game.
    Let's be honest though, that's a PR statement.

    Wisconsin and Lindenwood play each other so often because it makes financial sense. Wisconsin is the closest D1 program to Lindenwood, and it's the only non-conference location Wisconsin can go to that is a bus trip.

    That's not a criticism, that's just the financial reality of the sport. I certainly don't expect MJ or anyone else to come out and say that publicly, but lets also not pretend that Wisconsin would be trying to "grow the game" by scheduling Lindenwood every year if it wasn't also the most cost-effective way to fill out the schedule.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Nowheresville View Post

      Let's be honest though, that's a PR statement.

      Wisconsin and Lindenwood play each other so often because it makes financial sense. Wisconsin is the closest D1 program to Lindenwood, and it's the only non-conference location Wisconsin can go to that is a bus trip.

      That's not a criticism, that's just the financial reality of the sport. I certainly don't expect MJ or anyone else to come out and say that publicly, but lets also not pretend that Wisconsin would be trying to "grow the game" by scheduling Lindenwood every year if it wasn't also the most cost-effective way to fill out the schedule.
      Yes and also Lindenwood doesn’t have a full 34 game schedule. Getting Robert Morris back will help. The Wisconsin dates, although blowouts are probably better than nothing for LU.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Lindsay View Post

        Yes and also Lindenwood doesn’t have a full 34 game schedule. Getting Robert Morris back will help. The Wisconsin dates, although blowouts are probably better than nothing for LU.
        Let's give Lindenwood some credit. Sometimes you learn nothing from an old fashioned woodshed beatdown other than you have a long way to go. When you do play top ranked teams on a regular basis, (such as Bemidji or Mankato), there are learning opportunities that eventually may create an upset. There may be no logic in how the conferences are set up now, but I think that any opportunities for play given to outlier teams like Lindenwood are good for the game of women's hockey. Who knows where Lindenwood might end up in the future?

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Steamboat View Post
          Let's give Lindenwood some credit. Sometimes you learn nothing from an old fashioned woodshed beatdown other than you have a long way to go. When you do play top ranked teams on a regular basis, (such as Bemidji or Mankato), there are learning opportunities that eventually may create an upset. There may be no logic in how the conferences are set up now, but I think that any opportunities for play given to outlier teams like Lindenwood are good for the game of women's hockey. Who knows where Lindenwood might end up in the future?
          And half there roster is from MN Ont and MI, so any series they head north for is good for the player's families.
          Wisconsin Hockey: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 WE WANT MORE!
          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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          Originally Posted by Wisko McBadgerton:
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          Timothy A --> Great hockey mind... Or Greatest hockey mind?!?"

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          • #35
            Has there ever been a more insane disconnect between the Title of a thread and the premise of the first post?

            Should good teams schedule more good non-conference opponents? Well, some good teams - like Clarkson certainly should, especially when they only play 2 games each against conference opponents. Clarkson has 13 non-conference games, and exactly zero of those NC games are against teams ranked in the top 15. They won't even get on a plane once during the regular season. During the entire season, Clarkson will only play 8 games total against teams currently ranked in the top 15.

            Meanwhile, the top western schools all do schedule top quality NC opponents, despite playing a more robust conference schedule which only leaves room for 6 NC games total.

            Ohio State has 4 games against Colgate and Cornell. Add in conference games and Ohio State will play 20 of it's 34 games against the top 15.
            Wisconsin played 4 road games against Penn State and Quinnipiac - so they are also playing 20 of it's 34 games against the top 15.
            Minnesota played Penn State and Yale, in addition to unranked Merrimack and New Hampshire, for 19 games against the top 15.

            How anyone reaches the conclusion that "WCHA is just depriving the eastern schools of quality nonconference matchups to pad their PWR" while they actually do play top level NC opponents, while schools like Clarkson not only don't schedule tough WCHA schools, they don't even try to go up against quality Hockey East schools that are an easy bus trip away. Instead they just play the Sacred Heart, Syracuse, Maine, and Bemidji State. Hell, I find it annoying when Minnesota and St. Cloud spend a NC game on the HoF game matchup - but at least with the travel considerations, it makes sense. Meanwhile, Clarkson has scheduled 3 extra games against St. Lawrence beyond their conference schedule, when they certainly could instead try to fit in a trip to one of the Boston schools.

            Is the entire point of this thread just a weird kind of projection?
            Last edited by Nowheresville; 01-05-2023, 12:00 PM.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Steamboat View Post

              Let's give Lindenwood some credit. Sometimes you learn nothing from an old fashioned woodshed beatdown other than you have a long way to go. When you do play top ranked teams on a regular basis, (such as Bemidji or Mankato), there are learning opportunities that eventually may create an upset. There may be no logic in how the conferences are set up now, but I think that any opportunities for play given to outlier teams like Lindenwood are good for the game of women's hockey.
              agreed. Not trying to discredit Lindenwood and sorry if it came off that way. I’d love to see them beat Wisco, but I don’t expect it to happen soon and those are the facts for almost every team in the nation. LU absolutely can learn from that series. At the time on the board we talked about the need to clean up dumb penalties away from the play, and Ferenc’s ability to keep the scoreboard close even if nothing else is. Their D cleared pucks in front well and made a good first pass but the wingers (not surprisingly vs a loaded Wisco) struggled to get pucks out. Yes they can learn from that, clean things up and hope to get wins against other opponents and slowly get better (until the transfer portal steals their best players but that’s a different thread). I believe they played Penn State to a one goal game this year. They do appear to run out of gas in second game and yes they absolutely need a full sched. Me referencing them getting blown out by a Wisco wasn’t meant to discredit them; there are few teams that don’t get beat down by the badgers.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Nowheresville View Post
                Has there ever been a more insane disconnect between the Title of a thread and the premise of the first post?

                Should good teams schedule more good non-conference opponents? Well, some good teams - like Clarkson certainly should, especially when they only play 2 games each against conference opponents. Clarkson has 13 non-conference games, and exactly zero of those NC games are against teams ranked in the top 15. They won't even get on a plane once during the regular season. During the entire season, Clarkson will only play 8 games total against teams currently ranked in the top 15.

                Meanwhile, the top western schools all do schedule top quality NC opponents, despite playing a more robust conference schedule which only leaves room for 6 NC games total.

                Ohio State has 4 games against Colgate and Cornell. Add in conference games and Ohio State will play 20 of it's 34 games against the top 15.
                Wisconsin played 4 road games against Penn State and Quinnipiac - so they are also playing 20 of it's 34 games against the top 15.
                Minnesota played Penn State and Yale, in addition to unranked Merrimack and New Hampshire, for 19 games against the top 15.

                How anyone reaches the conclusion that "WCHA is just depriving the eastern schools of quality nonconference matchups to pad their PWR" while they actually do play top level NC opponents, while schools like Clarkson not only don't schedule tough WCHA schools, they don't even try to go up against quality Hockey East schools that are an easy bus trip away. Instead they just play the Sacred Heart, Syracuse, Maine, and Bemidji State. Hell, I find it annoying when Minnesota and St. Cloud spend a NC game on the HoF game matchup - but at least with the travel considerations, it makes sense. Meanwhile, Clarkson has scheduled 3 extra games against St. Lawrence beyond their conference schedule, when they certainly could instead try to fit in a trip to one of the Boston schools.

                Is the entire point of this thread just a weird kind of projection?
                Where's that Positive Rep feature when you really need it? Excellent post.

                If serious, the thread starting post gets an A+ for Audacity, but not much else. But to be honest, I kind of thought Title IX was just messing with us this time.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by pgb-ohio View Post
                  ... the thread starting post gets an A+ for Audacity, but not much else.
                  I'll give you that might be what motivated it, but in general, I agree with its basic sentiment. As a fan, I would prefer if we saw more games matching championship contenders from all leagues.

                  Why don't we? Maybe the women's hockey coaches are more like the NCAA football coaches than they are like those in women's volleyball, in that they would rather their schedule not be any more difficult than it has to be. In the end, their first responsibility has to be to their own team, and scheduling in a way that: a) gets them into the NCAA Tournament; and b) prepares them for what they'll see there. Historically, you can't argue with their results, in spite of some anemic scheduling. What Wisconsin and Minnesota have done this season, by failing to make any noise in NC games, is leave it to teams lower in the WCHA standings to establish this season's WCHA as a power conference. Going into the season, the Gophers and Badgers knew that they had only scheduled one NCAA tourney opponent from last year in their elective games. No crying if you don't like where you get seeded when you don't show up ready for those games.

                  I wish that the ECAC and the WCHA had a schedule like some basketball conferences do, where they match up teams based on how they finished the previous year. Without that, one of the problems in trying to schedule the toughest ECAC opponents is that teams like Harvard and Quinnipiac can be championship caliber one year and mid-pack or lower a season later. At least the conference challenge format lessens the swings the take place over multiple years.

                  As for Clarkson playing SLU, those are nearby rivals. I don't think a team ever needs to apologize for scheduling a rival. Anyway, there are few teams around the country that are likely to be much better than the Saints in most seasons.

                  "... And lose, and start again at your beginnings
                  And never breathe a word about your loss;" -- Rudyard Kipling

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by ARM View Post
                    I'll give you that might be what motivated it, but in general, I agree with its basic sentiment. As a fan, I would prefer if we saw more games matching championship contenders from all leagues.

                    Why don't we? Maybe the women's hockey coaches are more like the NCAA football coaches than they are like those in women's volleyball, in that they would rather their schedule not be any more difficult than it has to be. In the end, their first responsibility has to be to their own team, and scheduling in a way that: a) gets them into the NCAA Tournament; and b) prepares them for what they'll see there. Historically, you can't argue with their results, in spite of some anemic scheduling. What Wisconsin and Minnesota have done this season, by failing to make any noise in NC games, is leave it to teams lower in the WCHA standings to establish this season's WCHA as a power conference. Going into the season, the Gophers and Badgers knew that they had only scheduled one NCAA tourney opponent from last year in their elective games. No crying if you don't like where you get seeded when you don't show up ready for those games.

                    I wish that the ECAC and the WCHA had a schedule like some basketball conferences do, where they match up teams based on how they finished the previous year. Without that, one of the problems in trying to schedule the toughest ECAC opponents is that teams like Harvard and Quinnipiac can be championship caliber one year and mid-pack or lower a season later. At least the conference challenge format lessens the swings the take place over multiple years.

                    As for Clarkson playing SLU, those are nearby rivals. I don't think a team ever needs to apologize for scheduling a rival. Anyway, there are few teams around the country that are likely to be much better than the Saints in most seasons.
                    How far in advance do non-conference 'contracts' and dates get signed and set for hockey? If you sign a 'home-and-home' contract two years before the first of the two weekends themselves a year apart, you get to the point where you have to predict four years in advance who's going to be 'good' in a given year.

                    Basketball teams play as many as ten non-conference games, with a good number of them at multi-team holiday weekend tournaments, which according to 'the rules' don't count. The Big Ten volleyball schedule allows for four non-conference weeks/weekends of competition, again with multi-team weekends included; other conferences sometimes more. This year at least, Wisconsin women hockey is only playing three non-conference weekends, as are Ohio State and Duluth; Minnesota only two. (And packing up and moving a hockey team from one location to the next is a whole lot tougher than a basketball or volleyball team.)

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by robertearle View Post
                      How far in advance do non-conference 'contracts' and dates get signed and set for hockey? If you sign a 'home-and-home' contract two years before the first of the two weekends themselves a year apart, you get to the point where you have to predict four years in advance who's going to be 'good' in a given year.
                      Right. That's why the suggestion to adopt the basketball model, where you aren't scheduling that you'll play a specific opponent, but the team that had a comparable finish in the other conference. Your point about travel is certainly valid. The two options would be: a) four teams at a single host that rotates, swapping NC opponents from day 1 to day 2; or b) a two-game series. Option a) would be problematic when the four teams aren't fixed and are instead rotated from one year to the next. In volleyball, Wisconsin/Minnesota have such a deal with Baylor/TCU, and the Gophers have had another one for years with Penn State and Stanford/Oregon. In women's hockey, UMD and Minnesota used to have such an arrangement with Brown and Harvard back when they were two of the top ECAC teams every year. The Eastern and Western schools are close enough that busing from one site to the other for the second day is feasible. There isn't really a way to implement this for Ohio State, and Madison is at the upper limit of such an arrangement with the Bulldogs or Gophers.

                      If they can all go trooping off to Nashville or Las Vegas to play, then it should be possible to put together some such events on a college campus. Granted, Minnesota is hosting such a gig this weekend, but I don't think anyone is holding their breath to see how games between Merrimack/UNH vs SCSU/UM turn out.

                      "... And lose, and start again at your beginnings
                      And never breathe a word about your loss;" -- Rudyard Kipling

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by ARM View Post
                        Right. That's why the suggestion to adopt the basketball model, where you aren't scheduling that you'll play a specific opponent, but the team that had a comparable finish in the other conference. Your point about travel is certainly valid. The two options would be: a) four teams at a single host that rotates, swapping NC opponents from day 1 to day 2; or b) a two-game series. Option a) would be problematic when the four teams aren't fixed and are instead rotated from one year to the next. In volleyball, Wisconsin/Minnesota have such a deal with Baylor/TCU, and the Gophers have had another one for years with Penn State and Stanford/Oregon. In women's hockey, UMD and Minnesota used to have such an arrangement with Brown and Harvard back when they were two of the top ECAC teams every year. The Eastern and Western schools are close enough that busing from one site to the other for the second day is feasible. There isn't really a way to implement this for Ohio State, and Madison is at the upper limit of such an arrangement with the Bulldogs or Gophers.

                        If they can all go trooping off to Nashville or Las Vegas to play, then it should be possible to put together some such events on a college campus. Granted, Minnesota is hosting such a gig this weekend, but I don't think anyone is holding their breath to see how games between Merrimack/UNH vs SCSU/UM turn out.
                        Is there any 'acceptable' way to tweak the Pairwise criteria to encourage more such four-team weekends?

                        Right now (as I'm sure you know) there are three components to a Pairwise comparison between two teams: RPI, head-to-head and common opponents. That means unless you have a head-to-head game vs the team you are being 'compared to', there are only two; RPI and common opponents. And such four-team weekends serve to broaden the number of opponents in common: that is, if Wisconsin plays Northeastern in Nashville, then Northeastern becomes a common opponent in the Wisconsin-vs-BC comparison. So far, so good. But with only two 'elements' being compared, that ends up not doing any good. Because if the two teams being compared split the two criteria - one has a better RPI, while the other has a better common opponent record - the one with the better RPI wins the comparison. Just the same as if the four-team weekend never happened. The Wisconsin-Northeastern comparison has three meaningful elements to it by virtue of the head-to-head meeting, but that doesn't extend to any others. Is there a fourth element that could be added so as to make the four-team weekend more meaningful, and so more 'attractive' for teams to participate in?

                        (And let me point out again, BTW, that Mark Johnson and Wisconsin have *certainly* not shied away from such four-team weekends in the past.)

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by ARM View Post
                          I don't think anyone is holding their breath to see how games between Merrimack/UNH vs SCSU/UM turn out.
                          Now you tell me! I was turning blue!

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by ARM View Post
                            Minnesota is hosting such a gig this weekend, but I don't think anyone is holding their breath to see how games between Merrimack/UNH vs SCSU/UM turn out.
                            Aside from Steamboat, (Hope he is ok from the lack of oxygen) there appears to be a good bit of apathy for these games. Although there is the fact that Merrimack's last appereance at Ridder was a split of the two games in 2017/2018
                            At the outset, we could hang with the dude...

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by ARM View Post
                              I'll give you that might be what motivated it, but in general, I agree with its basic sentiment. As a fan, I would prefer if we saw more games matching championship contenders from all leagues...
                              Like you, I'd like to see more Championship Contender Match-ups, and more East/West Match-ups generally. But your reading of the thread-starting post is generous to a fault. IMHO, the "basic sentiment" of that post is that the WCHA is to blame for the lack of those games. A premise is so false it's almost charming.

                              ...I wish that the ECAC and the WCHA had a schedule like some basketball conferences do, where they match up teams based on how they finished the previous year. Without that, one of the problems in trying to schedule the toughest ECAC opponents is that teams like Harvard and Quinnipiac can be championship caliber one year and mid-pack or lower a season later. At least the conference challenge format lessens the swings the take place over multiple years...
                              I'd be very interested in this. I'd only add that if one of the default pairings is already on that year's schedule, there should be a procedure in place to eliminate the redundancy.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by robertearle View Post
                                Is there any 'acceptable' way to tweak the Pairwise criteria to encourage more such four-team weekends?
                                In my simplistic mind, the current PairWise already does seem to encourage competitive teams to schedule tougher. Consider being a WCHA team that thinks the Eastern teams have it easy in terms of schedule (not saying that is/isn't a correct thought). If you can schedule and defeat contenders from the East, you then gain the H2H comparison. Now if you can win the COp comparison (and if your thinking is that you are a superior team you would be capable of doing better against the same slate), then you will win the comparison no matter where you stand in whatever the thing that replaced RPI is called. For a contending Eastern team that thinks the WCHA is overrated, then the mirror image of the logic above applies.

                                In my mind, it is better than playing a soft NC schedule, and then complaining that the only reason you finished behind some Eastern team in the PairWise is because you had so many games against nationally-ranked WCHA teams. The whole point of college sports is competition. Fine, go compete. If you come out on the short end, at least you had your day on the ice to prove your case.

                                As for PGB's last point, that happened with Colgate and Minnesota last season, as they met in a tourney after already playing a series H2H. Not the worst thing any time two quality teams play.

                                With regard to Merrimack, I haven't been to a game all year (year, not season), but I'm going tonight!
                                "... And lose, and start again at your beginnings
                                And never breathe a word about your loss;" -- Rudyard Kipling

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