What happened to the PairWise Rankings?

It’s still being used — somewhat. Just not in the all-seeing, all-knowing way that it usually is.

The at-large teams are picked and the seeds assigned according to where teams stand in the PairWise in a non-pandemic year. The formula compares teams to all others based on Ratings Percentage Index, head-to-head wins and record against common opponents.

The system depends on nonconference games to provide comparisons between leagues. The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee scrapped the reliance on the PairWise with only a limited number of them this season because of a truncated schedule. But it will use some of its components to compare teams.

In other words, no one will know for sure how things will shake out until the bracket comes out. That’s a big departure from normal and has left some trying to read between the lines of messages sent to teams by the committee.

“There’s going to be subjectivity; we know that,” said USCHO.com executive editor Jim Connelly, who writes a bracketology analysis. “But there’s going to be subjectivity of how you even interpret a memo that came out with how to select the tournament.”