NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

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NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:01 pm

I started some research on the "top" women's Division I soccer programs and realized it would lead nicely into a look at what I believed to be problems the NCAA is having seeding teams that aren't from the "big" athletics conferences. Here is some interesting information for those of you who care about this to look over and think about.

First, which are the "top" programs?

To get at this question, I looked at which teams have reached the quarter-finals as well as which have won in the quarters and subsequent rounds. As a gross measure of how strong teams are, I simply added the number of times a team has reached the quarters to the number of wins in the quarters and each subsequent round. I did this for two time periods: the last 15 years and the last 10 years.

Here are the totals for the top group of teams:

Last 15 years:

North Carolina 41
Notre Dame 30
Portland 24
UCLA 21
Santa Clara 21
Connecticut 13
Florida State 11
Penn State 11
Florida 8
Stanford 5
Texas A&M 4
USC 4
Clemson 4

Last 10 years:

North Carolina 24
UCLA 20
Portland 17
Notre Dame 17
Santa Clara 12
Florida State 11
Penn State 8
Connecticut 6
Stanford 5
Texas A&M 4
USC 4
Florida 3
Clemson 2

Second, how often have these teams been required to travel away from home to play games?

Here are the numbers of Home, Away, and Neutral games these teams have played over the last 10 years, 2000 through 2009, not counting the College Cup games, all of which are at a neutral site. I used that time period because it is the period for which I am able to identify game locations. Here are the totals for the top group of teams:

North Carolina: Home 37, Away 0, Neutral 0
UCLA: Home 36, Away 2, Neutral 0
Notre Dame: Home 30, Away 4, Neutral 0
Penn State: Home 23, Away 6, Neutral 1
Stanford: Home 20, Away 3, Neutral 4
Clemson: Home 5, Away 4, Neutral 4
Florida: Home 13, Away 5, Neutral 4
Connecticut: Home 15, Away 7, Neutral 4
Santa Clara: Home 18, Away 8, Neutral 3
Florida State: Home 19, Away 11, Neutral 2
Texas A&M: Home 19, Away 12, Neutral 1
Portland: Home 21, Away 13, Neutral 4
USC: Home 1, Away 9, Neutral 6 [USC is an anomaly because its field does not meet the NCAA standard for an appropriately sized field]

If you look through the home-away-neutral numbers in relation to the "top" team numbers, what you will see is that for the top five teams -- North Carolina, Notre Dame, Portland, UCLA, and Santa Clara -- there is a clear demarcation related to game locations. Portland and Santa Clara have had to play far more games away from home than the others.

What are the reasons for the game location disparity among the top five teams?

I broke down the Away and Neutral numbers between game site decisions resulting from the NCAA's travel rules and game sites resulting from "other" causes. "Other" causes basically are the NCAA's seeding decisions. Here is the breakdown:

North Carolina: All games played at home.

UCLA: Two games not played at home. The two were the result of NCAA seeding decisions.

Notre Dame: Four games not played at home. All four were the result of NCAA seeding decisions.

Santa Clara: Eleven games not played at home. Two were the result of NCAA travel rules. Nine were
result of NCAA seeding decisions.

Portland: Seventeen games not played at home. Six were the result of NCAA travel rules. Eleven were the result of NCAA seeding decisions.

We all are aware of the NCAA's travel rules, and there has been a lot of debate about them. What is most interesting to me, however, is the games that are the result of NCAA seeding decisions. Looking particular at the Portland-Notre Dame-UCLA group, bolstered by the Santa Clara numbers, it seems pretty clear that the NCAA has a problem properly seeding Portland and Santa Clara. Looking at this from a larger perspective, the NCAA has a problem properly seeding very strong teams from conferences that are not "big" athletic conferences.

Pretty interesting, isn't it?


Last edited by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:48 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:22 pm

Third-most quarterfinal appearances in the last ten years. Ditto the last five years.

If that's the mark of a second-tier program I'll gladly take being a second-tier program.

Beating a Dead Horse

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:48 pm

PurplePrideTrumpet wrote:Third-most quarterfinal appearances in the last ten years. Ditto the last five years.

If that's the mark of a second-tier program I'll gladly take being a second-tier program.

Beating a Dead Horse

Actually, the totals you're seeing are quarterfinal appearances plus quarterfinal, semifinal, and final wins. In terms of quarterfinal appearances, for the 15-year period, North Carolina has 13, Notre Dame and Portland 12, Santa Clara 11, and UCLA 10. For the last 10 years, Portland and UCLA have 9, North Carolina 8, Notre Dame 7, and Santa Clara (and Florida State) 6. Very Happy

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by ktinpurple on Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:27 pm

Nice break down Fanatic! Seems clear to me!

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by up7587 on Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:45 pm

Nope. No bias here. Nothing to see here. Keep moving along. Suspect

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by SoreKnees on Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:48 pm

UPSoccerFanatic wrote:Actually, the totals you're seeing are quarterfinal appearances plus quarterfinal, semifinal, and final wins.

Would it be easier to think of your statistic as "wins in the final four rounds"? A quarterfinal appearance = a win in the third round.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:33 pm

SoreKnees wrote:Would it be easier to think of your statistic as "wins in the final four rounds"? A quarterfinal appearance = a win in the third round.

It would, but I want to keep an emphasis on the quarterfinals. The reason for that is in order to set up a discussion about the criteria for assigning the four #1 seeds. Given that the home teams in the quarterfinals win their games roughly 80% of the time, it's clear that in terms of getting to the College Cup, the decision-making on who gets the #1 seeds (i.e., who gets to host the quarterfinals) is critical.

But, I'll keep your suggestion in mind. I want to make my stuff as easily understandable as possible.

By the way, among other things, the numbers demonstrate quite clearly that the Pilots have at least the #2 program in the country. Over the past 10 years, they have performed in the NCAA tournament on a par with (and even slightly better than) all but North Carolina, despite the NCAA having imposed a major handicap on them to which the other top teams have not been subject.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:38 pm

UPSoccerFanatic wrote:I did this for two time periods: the last 15 years and the last 10 years.

Here are the totals for the top group of teams:

Last 15 years:

Last 5 years:
So did you do 15 and 10 years or 15 and 5?

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:47 am

ShipstadPilot11 wrote:
UPSoccerFanatic wrote:I did this for two time periods: the last 15 years and the last 10 years.

Here are the totals for the top group of teams:

Last 15 years:

Last 5 years:
So did you do 15 and 10 years or 15 and 5?

Sorry, I'm getting dingy. I did the last 15 years and the last 10 years. I fixed it.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:29 pm

UPSoccerFanatic wrote:
PurplePrideTrumpet wrote:Third-most quarterfinal appearances in the last ten years. Ditto the last five years.

If that's the mark of a second-tier program I'll gladly take being a second-tier program.

Beating a Dead Horse

Actually, the totals you're seeing are quarterfinal appearances plus quarterfinal, semifinal, and final wins. In terms of quarterfinal appearances, for the 15-year period, North Carolina has 13, Notre Dame and Portland 12, Santa Clara 11, and UCLA 10. For the last 10 years, Portland and UCLA have 9, North Carolina 8, Notre Dame 7, and Santa Clara (and Florida State) 6. Very Happy
Oh. So we are even worse than I thought. Thanks for clarifying. geek

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by Poopdeck Pappy on Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:37 pm

Thanks again, UPSF, for another excellent study. Although many would agree with Mark Twain that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics", I think that your statistical analysis clearly shows bias in favor of the large conferences in the NCAA's tournament seeding. I wonder what the NCAA would do with your study? Would they discount it because its author is a fan of a small conference team? Pardon my cynicism, but I'm sure that they would carefully consider it if your name happened to be Anson Dorrance.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by jc on Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:32 pm

Great analysis UPSF, as always. It would be interesting to add in average home attendance for these games, but the stats for most schools, if not all, are likely not readily available.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by mattywizz on Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:05 pm

One thing I take from this is that we are hands-down the best road team in the country.

Also, we are one heckuva sleeper pick to be pulling all those "upsets."

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:43 pm

mattywizz wrote:One thing I take from this is that we are hands-down the best road team in the country.

Also, we are one heckuva sleeper pick to be pulling all those "upsets."

Well, it is true that:

In '06, the Pilots were unseeded. They reached the quarters where they lost. In accomplishing this, they played 0 games at home, 3 away, and 1 neutral.

In '05, the Pilots were a #1 seed, but were placed in the #4 slot for the #1 seeds. Played Penn State (in the #1 slot for the #1 seeds) in the semis in the great 0-0 game that went to pks and then decimated UCLA in the finals (which in turn had decimated Florida State in the semis). The Committee's botched Pilots seed (they were undefeated, with 1 tie) cost Penn State its rightful position in the finals. In addition, earlier in the tournament the Pilots went on the road for their first two games, thus having 2 home games, 1 away, and 1 neutral to get to the College Cup.

In '02, the Pilots were a #2 seed, placed in the overall #8 slot. Stanford had a #1 seed and was in the #1 slot for #1 seeds. With the Pilots in the #8 slot, the two teams met in the Round of 16, where the Pilots advanced on pks. The Committee's botched Pilots seed in this one may well have cost Stanford a position in the College Cup and possibly a position against the Pilots in the finals. In addition, the Pilots again were sent on the road for the first two games, thus having 1 home game, 2 away, and 1 neutral to get to the College Cup.

In '00, the Pilots were unseeded but reached the semis. That year, only 48 teams participated in the tournament. Although the Pilots were unseeded, they got a first round bye. To get to the semis, they played 1 home game and 2 away.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by mattywizz on Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:03 pm

When you are talking "Neutral Site" you are referring to a second round game in which the host school lost in the first round, correct? Or has the NCAA actually scheduled true neutral site games in the tournament (not counting the Cup, of course)?

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:10 pm

The only neutral site games in the tournament are in the first weekend where you don't play the host.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:22 pm

Correct. If you don't play the host in the first round, then the game is a neutral site game. And, if the host loses in the first round, then the second round game is a neutral site game. The third round games and quarterfinals never are at neutral sites.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by mattywizz on Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:43 pm

Purplegeezer wrote:The only neutral site games in the tournament are in the first weekend where you don't play the host.


Obvioulsy, huh? At least I don't claim to be smart.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by onetouchfutbol on Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:41 pm

"North Carolina 41
Notre Dame 30
Portland 24
UCLA 21
Santa Clara 21
Connecticut 13
Florida State 11
Penn State 11
Florida 8
Stanford 5"--UP Soccer Fanatic

I still think it's bogus that the WCC isn't considered a "big conference" in women's soccer. Over the years, UP and SCU have been as dominant as any teams other than UNC. Let's just add Milbrett and Chastain to the selection committee. Problem solved!


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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by VillaGorilla on Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:55 pm

UPSoccerFanatic wrote:In '02, the Pilots were a #2 seed, placed in the overall #8 slot. Stanford had a #1 seed and was in the #1 slot for #1 seeds. With the Pilots in the #8 slot, the two teams met in the Round of 16, where the Pilots advanced on pks. The Committee's botched Pilots seed in this one may well have cost Stanford a position in the College Cup and possibly a position against the Pilots in the finals. In addition, the Pilots again were sent on the road for the first two games, thus having 1 home game, 2 away, and 1 neutral to get to the College Cup.

Actually in '02, the Pilots returned home to host the mighty Spiders of Richmond in the Sweet Sixteen. (I remember rushing the field after full time). It was in the Elite Eight that we drew Standford and then advanced to the College Cup on PKs.

http://www.portlandpilots.com/schedule.aspx?path=wsoc&schedule=178

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:57 pm

VillaGorilla wrote:Actually in '02, the Pilots returned home to host the mighty Spiders of Richmond in the Sweet Sixteen. (I remember rushing the field after full time). It was in the Elite Eight that we drew Standford and then advanced to the College Cup on PKs.

Right you are. And, to make a further correction, that year it was 1 game home, 1 away, and 2 neutral. The Pilots were sent to BYU for the opening rounds. They beat Idaho State 3-0 in the first game. BYU lost to Utah in the first round, so the Pilots played Utah in the second round and won 3-0 (thus the 2 neutral games). Then was the Richmond game (which I must have been at, but don't remember), with the Pilots winning 4-0. Then came the memorable game at Stanford. My niece and her husband are on the Stanford faculty and, at our urging, went to the game. Another niece (they're sisters) and her husband, from Seattle, were visiting them, and they also went. Three of them rooted for Stanford, but my "nephew-in-law" from Seattle rooted for the Pilots. He still sings "Portland, score a goal, score a goal, score a goal ...." Now, most years, we visit them during the UW tournament and go to the games with them. After Stanford came the College Cup in Austin, Texas. In the semis, the Pilots downed Penn State 2-0. Then came the double overtime game against Santa Clara, with Kristen Moore sending her long cross to Christine Sinclair, off the keeper, off the post, and Christine finishing it, with Kim Head saying many prayers of thanks in the other goal.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by Poopdeck Pappy on Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:50 am

Kim Head came in as a sub late in the game for our regular keeper. For 20 points...what was our regular keeper's name?

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by pdxjoe on Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:37 am

without looking it up was it corey

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:41 am

Lauren Arase obviously.

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Re: NCAA Difficulties with Seeding and Game Sites

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:04 pm

^^Well done son, have a Pliny!^^

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