Q & A

February 2, 2007 on 5:51 pm | In analysis | No Comments

One note of interest – Pingry and St. Augustine Prep will play one week from today at Bridgewater Sports Arena. Now that’s the kind of late-season scheduling we like to see!

Also, a few questions and answers on this Friday while awaiting results from the 30 (!) games on schedule tonight. Read on …

1. Q: Cup tournament seeding meetings are scheduled for Feb. 13. I see some league games are scheduled for after Feb. 13 – do these games count toward the league standings and seedings for the cup tournament?
A: Good question, bringing up a point I have long debated. I actually wrote an unpublished rant about this last year because it was so frustrating. These games do count toward the final league standings but do not affect tournament seedings. The seeding meetings take the current standings and make the brackets based on those. On some occasions, points have been used instead of winning percentage. This is not how it should be done, since many teams have played an unequal number of games, but it often occurs. Hopefully the NJIHL will one day reach the 21st century and fix this. I would be happy to help. In Morris County and the NBIAL, seedings are not determined until the league standings are final, so league games after 2/13 DO count toward those playoff brackets.

2. Q: Hey Jon, I have not seen a scoring leaders list in the Star Ledger at all this year. I may have missed it ….but if you have access to one, could you please post it?
A: Unfortunately, I am of no help on this one. Unlike Rhode Island, there is no centralized statistics location in New Jersey. If Mike Morreale and co. cannot tabulate scoring leaders from the game reports they receive, nobody is going to do it. Frustrating, but true.

3. Q: Why doesn’t the NJSIAA use the same state tournament seeding procedure as lacrosse?
A: I think I accidentally deleted this e-mail, so I do not have the details of the lacrosse seeding process, which I believe uses a combination of a computer ranking and subjective opinion. I am on the record as believing the current seeding process is flawed because it is too political and includes coaches on the committee. Let me state, however, that I think the committee generally does a good job with a truly impossible task.
There are also no real alternatives. Traditionally, coaches are the only ones that make sense to be on the committee because they have seen the most teams and have the best network of contacts. The only other options would be record-based (a terrible idea, we can all agree); computer ranking (do we really want to be the BCS?); or letting newspaper writers weigh in more heavily. (If you have more options, please suggest them here.) I think the latter could not be any worse than having coaches do it and does not put coaches in the unenviable position of the appearance of impropriety. So we could get Mike Morreale, Dan Rosen, Dan Breeman, Bob Badders, and somebody from the CVC together and let them pick it. People will scream of a North Jersey bias, but that’s two from North Jersey, two from South Jersey, plus Mike in the middle. Might not be a bad idea, although it violates typical practices of separation between media and league officials. What other educated, non-biased groups are there, however? I don’t think officials want to be the ones determining postseason seeding.

4. Q: A forum poster wondered who would get the No. 2 seed in the Mennen Cup playoffs, thereby avoiding a first-round matchup with Pingry, if Chatham and Morris Knolls finish tied on 17 points.
A: In that scenario, Chatham would be 8-3-1 and Morris Knolls 7-3-3. But wins are not a Morris County tiebreaker, as seen in the previous post, and Knolls would have a 1-0-1 series advantage.

5. Q: Why are you so against the planned Haas Cup playoff format in which four Haas Division teams and four Charette Division teams compete for their division playoff title first, with the winners meeting in the Haas Cup final?
A: Because it is not fair. Morris County has, since 1984, aligned itself on a hierarchical basis. On only one occasion – the Haas I / Haas II split of 2001-02 – has the league had “equal” divisions or playoff alotment. The Haas Division was created superior to the Charette Division. The Charette Division regular season champion gets promoted to the Haas Division, as Park Regional did last year. So why should there be a guaranteed Charette Division team in the championship? In recent years, several Charette teams have been very competitive with Haas teams, but they were in the Charette to begin with because of their performance the previous season. That is how N.J. hockey is aligned. Deal with it. The Haas Cup playoffs should mimic the Mennen Cup playoffs, with all five teams from the Haas getting in, and the top three from the Charette getting in. Period. Otherwise, the league is contradicting and undermining its own division structure and devaluing the regular season. Hopefully the powers-that-be will make this change in time for the 2007 postseason.

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