The Mack Report

Explaining Lowell’s Dramatic Drop in the PWR

A lot of people are wondering why Lowell, after just one loss last night to Merrimack at Lawler Arena, dropped from seventh to 15th in the Pairwise rankings, in essence, going from a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament to on the bubble of possibly not making it at all.

The dramatic drop actually occurred thanks to Massachusetts, which beat Boston University, 5-1, on Friday. That made the Minutemen a “Team Under Consideration,” meaning their RPI rose above .500.

By virtue of UMass becoming a TUC, Lowell reached the 10-game plateau against such teams. That means the TUC comparison kicks in for the River Hawks, and their record against such teams (3-7) is not good, flipping numerous comparisons that Lowell was winning heading into the night.

The PWR compares teams by using RPI, common opponents, TUC and head-to-head. But, the TUC comparison doesn’t kick in until a team plays 10 games against TUC.

Lowell has nine games remaining against TUC, including two with UMass. What’s interesting though, is that while Lowell needs wins, by beating UMass, which is so close to the TUC cliff, they could drop the Minutemen from being a TUC, meaning those games actually would not count towards their TUC criterion, including a win earlier in the year.

For example: if Lowell were to play UMass tomorrow (they actually travel to Maine) and they beat the Minutemen, the could drop UMass off the TUC cliff, meaning their record vs. TUC would go from 3-7 to 2-7, with a game against Boston College next week marking the 10th game necessary for that criterion to kick in again.

It’s not the case, because Lowell plays Maine, but it would be an interesting scenario in that if they played UMass and won, they could drop UMass off the TUC cliff, therefore jumping back up in the PWR due to not hitting the 10-game minimum yet, only to drop off next Friday after the BC game.