Friday, February 29, 2008

By the Numbers: Breaking Ties

With things this close for the playoffs, it's important to know how ties will be broken. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head (H2H) record among the tied teams. The second tie-breaker is league wins. After that, tied teams are compared by their records against specific opponents starting from the top seed and working down until the tie is broken. If that still doesn't settle matters, we go to a coin flip.

Some examples:

BU and UVM are tied at 2nd with 27 points. They split their season series 1-1-1. BU's 12-8-3 league record has one more win than UVM's 11-7-5, so BU would be the 2nd seed and UVM 3rd.

To settle the current 5th place tie, NU does have one more win than PC, but the first tie-breaker is H2H and PC won the season 2-1-0 over NU, so PC would take the higher seed.

If BU were to finish the season 2-0-2 and UVM went 3-1-0, both teams would end up at 33 points with identical 14-8-5 records. At that point, they would compare records against UNH, the top seed. BU went 0-3 vs the Wildcats. UVM visits UNH next weekend and would have taken some points in this scenario (only one loss), so they would then get the 2 seed.

If UVM were to get swept by UNH (going 0-3 for the year) and end up matching BU at, say, 13-9-5, the tie would then be broken by looking at results against the next highest seed, whether BC, PC or NU.

For a handy reference of H2H records, Hockey East's website has a standings page that has up-to-date results.

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