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BSU men's hockey drops to 8th in polls, stable in PairWise

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Following a nonconference road split with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the Bemidji State men's hockey team slipped to eighth in both national polls released Monday.

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The Beavers (22-8-2, 13-3-0 CHA) were ranked eighth in the USCHO.com poll with 601 points, trailing Denver, Miami, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State, Boston College, Yale and North Dakota. Nebraska-Omaha was ranked 20th in the poll.

The Beavers were also ranked eighth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. In fact, the order of the top eight teams was exactly the same in both polls.

This is the time of year a much more watchful eye is cast on a pair of statistical tools that are used to approximate the teams selected for the NCAA Tournament.

These rankings, known as the Ratings Percentage Index and the PairWise Rankings, attempt to mimic the NCAA selection committee process of deciding who will be included in the 16 team field.

These rankings can be found at a variety of sites. Two of the most popular are siouxsports.com and USCHO.com.

According to information at USCHO.com, the RPI is one tool used to select teams for the national tournament. Factors in compiling the rankings include the team's winning percentage, the average winning percentage of the team's opponents and the average winning percentage of the team's opponents' opponents.

All 58 NCAA Division I teams are ranked according to RPI.

This week, the Beavers stand sixth in the RPI.

USCHO.com explains PairWise as a tool designed to approximate the process used by the selection committee to decide which 16 teams to invite to the NCAA Tournament.

It is noted by USCHO.com that although the PWR does not precisely duplicate the method used by the selection committee, the PWR has exactly predicted the NCAA tournament entries over the last eight years.

PWR compares the top 25 teams in the RPI, judging them by four criteria, USCHO.com says.

These criteria include record against common opponents, head-to-head competition, record against other top 25 teams if the team has faced at least 10 top 25 opponents, and RPI.

The greatest number of PWR points a team could earn would be 24, by winning the comparison with each of the other 24 teams. The teams are then ranked by PWR point total, with ties broken by looking at the RPI.

At USCHO.com, the Beavers are currently ranked in a tie for fourth place with St. Cloud State - each with 19 points.

Siouxsports.com has the Beavers ranked fifth, using the RPI as the tiebreaker to separate SCSU and BSU. St. Cloud currently has a higher RPI than BSU.

A lot can and will change with the RPI and PairWise over the next three weeks as teams finish the regular season and conference tournament play.

As of now the Beavers are solidly in line for a possible NCAA.

In order to stay there the formula is easy to understand - keep winning.

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Pioneer staff reports
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