by Amy Moritz
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- At the pre-tournament press conference, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold was asked about the PairWise system. The computer ranking formula is used to determine the 11 NCAA at-large bids. Niagara, which finished tied for ninth in the PairWise rankings, made the tournament field, playing North Dakota in the first round in the West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich., later this evening.
But many think that Niagara should not have been in the field, that there were other teams (see: Providence) that should have made the field instead.
Here is part of what Pecknold had to say:
"I think it's a good system, but I don't think it's perfect. I don't think it's possible to find the perfect system. I think what we have is good. There are some issues with people thinking Niagara shouldn’t be in the because they didn’t have enough quality wins outside their league, and those are things we’re going to have to deal with as a committee. Years ago, this happened to Quinnipiac. We were 10th in the PairWise and we were kept out because we didn't play enough non-conference games, which was fair at that point.
"It's something we're gong tohae to look at and tweak and figure out why this happened. I don't know if the TUC [teams under consideration] criteria would change. I don't think the 10-game minimum changes anything for Niagara, but when you play enough of an insular schedule, it will allow for some teams to have that high PairWise."
"You want to play good teams and you want to win. Playing bad teams doesn't help you. If you look at Niagara, they have some really good wins against some good Atlantic Hockey teams. They were dominant against the top teams, and that’s what helped them. Whether it’s right or wrong, that’s what helped them."