The rankings are out and can be found here!
The #1 seeds in each region are Gustavus Adolphus, Wittenberg, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois Wesleyan, Johnson & Wales, Vassar, Berry and Colorado College.
I’ve been wondering if the West RAC would respect Whittier and boy do they! A little too much I fear. I’m going to rerun some numbers in the west and see if I can justify a 3 seed for the Poets. Trinity over Southwestern right after SU beat them on their home court is also strange. While I’m working, if you want to compare my rankings you can find them here. I’ll update this post in a bit.
Oh, and as far as the regional host favorites go right now, it will be Claremont Mudd-Scripps.
(* Note – I made a mistake on the Whittier versus SU comparison, which was kind of important to my entire write-up. Kind of funny and sad. So, I left the write-up below but fixed the error. The error was that I didn’t see that Whittier holds a Common Opponent advantage over Southwestern. With that change, the entire West rankings really come down to this…SU and Trinity should be ranked ahead of CMS. Whittier should be ranked ahead of SU and Trinity. CMS should be ranked ahead of Whittier. Appears RAC put more weight on SOS to break this logjam. I would have looked at the entire picture.)
Let’s dive into the West RAC rankings a bit and see if we can understand their process. One general note is that they didn’t seem to use ranked wins at all and that’s understandable. So that means they used W/L, Strength of Schedule (SOS), Head to Head (H2H) and Common Opponent. They may have used Secondary Criteria in case of ties but frankly that plays out exactly like the primary criteria does (splits each time).
Colorado was a no brainer and the West RAC saw the same thing.
Claremont at number 2 is interesting but like I said in my write-up Monday, the margins are thin between CMS, Trinity and Southwestern. You notice I didn’t say Whittier. But, let’s take a look at the primary criteria with these four teams:
CMS versus Whittier – WINNER is CMS (W/L and H2H over SOS)
CMS versus Trinity – WINNER is TIE (CMS has SOS and Common and Trinity has W/L and H2H)
CMS versus SU – WINNER is SU (SU has W/L and Common and CMS only has SOS)
So, right off the bat, I have to question the West RAC with their application of the primary criteria! Further, it’s extremely troubling that the head to head win that Trinity has over CMS is not considered at least a tie-breaker. Why do we play these matches if the outcome doesn’t matter? This has been a common problem in the past (especially with the West RAC) and it seems to be back again this year. Troubling. Let me be CLEAR…in no universe (in my mind) has CMS shown that they should be ranked ahead of both Trinity and SU. If they had beaten Trinity instead of losing to them then, yes. But, they didn’t.
With CMS at the #2 spot, we move to Whittier at #3:
Whittier versus Trinity – WINNER is Whittier (Whittier has SOS and H2H while Trinity has W/L)
Whittier versus SU – WINNER is Whittier (Whittier has SOS and Common and SU has W/L)
Interesting as Whittier holds its own against the two SCAC powerhouses. Where I had Whittier lower because I also looked at the overall resume of the teams, which the West RAC is not doing. Whittier has losses to Augustana and Scranton outside the region while Trinity has only a loss to Calvin and SU has no one. I think if you look at the entire picture (what I’ve been calling the art of selection), it’s really obvious Whittier should not be placed higher than Trinity and SU. But, by the rule they should.
Trinity gets the fourth spot, which is interesting because they just lost to SU at home:
Trinity versus SU – WINNER is TIE (Trinity has SOS and SU has W/L)
Based on this outcome we can assume that the committee is prioritizing SOS over the other criteria to the extent that a recent loss (as shown here) doesn’t matter and even a straight H2H advantage (as is the case between CMS and Trinity) doesn’t matter. Very Troubling.
Moving down to the last three spots, I will say that I really don’t have any issues with this order. Mine were slightly different but let’s see how it plays out:
La Verne versus Pac Lu – WINNER is TIE (La Verne has SOS and Pac Lu has W/L)
La Verne versus UMHB – WINNER is TIE (La Verne has SOS and UMHB has W/L)
Pac Lu versus UMHB – WINNER is TIE (Pac Lu has SOS and UMHB has W/L)
So, again we see that SOS rules the roost with the West RAC.
If I had to summarize the West RAC, it appears that SOS is the driving force over the other criteria. The NCAA does not specify a priority of the criteria. It seems natural that head to head would be the driving force but as we see with the above results that is not the case in this region. When it comes down to it, the most important match in the West Region this year was the Trinity / CMS match that Trinity won 3 sets to 1. It was played on a neutral court albeit in SoCal. In my mind this match is the lynchpin that moves CMS behind both Trinity and SU. The West RAC has decided that regardless of that result, SOS is more important and is the true indicator that CMS is better than Trinity. Let that sink in…schedule is more important than results. (Makes me wonder why Pomona-Pitzer isn’t ranked – West Region leader in SOS!) One other note to the West RAC is that you are not doing your Chair any favors having Whittier ahead of Trinity and SU when it comes selection time. Whittier will be a problem with their losses against Scranton and Augustana (!). They will lose a lot of Common Opponent battles with other regions before you even get a chance to get Trinity and SU in the door. I understand this is not a selection criteria but if you don’t throw in a little art to the process then you mess up the works.
Finally, looking forward to next week, we’ll see the Ranked Wins criterion come into play. This is the record against all other ranked teams and it could significantly change the ordering next week since the teams getting the SOS kick this week have more losses than those that don’t. I hope to do a post on Ranked Wins tonight or tomorrow so we can see how this will play out.
I told you guys the Regional Rankings was like Christmas and right now Santa is partying it up in SoCal.