By now, you’ve seen either the latest PairWise Rankings or Jayson’s latest blog post chronicling the effect of Boston University’s loss to Providence Tuesday. Not only did BU fall out of the top spot in the PWR, the Terriers fell out of a No. 1 seed completely.
(The PairWise doesn’t know that Providence suddenly looks like a much better team with Alex Beaudry in net; it only knows that Providence had four wins coming into the BU game, and the loss beat holy heck out of BU’s comparison criteria.)
But the PC-BU game did more than that. It boosted Notre Dame to third from fifth not just because BU fell below the Fighting Irish, but because Providence’s win boosted Notre Dame’s Rating Percentage Index — ND played Providence earlier this year. The Terriers’ loss also put Alaska back into the PWR top 25 (the Teams Under Consideration). How? When BU lost, it hurt St. Lawrence’s RPI since the Saints have played the Terriers.
That gives Notre Dame two more wins in the Teams Under Consideration category, since ND swept Alaska last weekend. That doesn’t matter yet because the Fighting Irish don’t have the 10 required games against TUCs to make that comparison active, but it might matter down the road if Alaska stays in the PWR top 25.
And just to show that it’s not only upsets or games involving top-rated teams that make a difference, there’s more. Wednesday night, Connecticut beat Bentley in overtime. Both teams are below .500 overall, and neither is anywhere near PWR consideration — and yet that result flipped Ohio State and Boston College in the PWR. Why? Ohio State has played (and beaten) Bentley twice this year, and the loss by the Falcons consequently lowered OSU’s RPI just enough to push the Buckeyes down to 12th, rather than 11th, in the overall PairWise.
Now, that change doesn’t matter too much since both teams are still No. 3 seeds — and it may matter even less if the NCAA’s geographic bracketing proposal passes — but imagine that those teams had been fighting for the last spot in the tournament instead of jockeying within the third seeding band…