Two for the Price of One Today: Regional Rankings & Rule Changes
Thoughts on NCAA Regional Rankings
The home stretch of the regular season is upon us with the release of the NCAA regional rankings. Christan Shirk wrote another comprehensive article on it, but the bottom line is that these rankings determine who receives at-large bids to the NCAA tournament. A few brief thoughts:
Stay Calm. This is only the first week, and the rankings do not include teams’ record versus ranked opponents. That metric is key for NCAA selections, so expect changes when it comes into play next week.
Strength of Schedule. The NCAA thankfully removed the home/away multiplier, so this metric should be easier to forecast. The committee has always rewarded teams that play difficult schedules, but only if they win some of those games. A combination of ranked wins plus a decent strength of schedule is the best route to the NCAA tournament—aside from an automatic bid, of course.
Ignore the Noise. Barring total collapse, a few teams (Messiah, Tufts, Rowan, etc.) have wrapped up at-large bids. Everyone else has work to do. But coaches and players should just ignore the rankings right now. Every team still controls its own destiny, whether to beat ranked teams and increase their profile, or to simply win the conference tournament and make the at-large rankings irrelevant. In this case, at least, winning solves everything.
Rule Changes: Eliminating the Long Throw-In
You hear many positive comments after a soccer game. “We played well.” “Great goal!” “That was exciting.” One comment I bet you’ve never heard: “I wish we’d had a few more long throw-ins.” If I had my way, you’d never see one again.
If you’re a neutral or cheering for the defending team, you know that flash of annoyance. The game stops for any throw on the attacking side of midfield. Centerbacks slowly jog into the box. The left fullback jogs...[read more]