The margin-of-victory component in the MIAA’s Power Rankings formula has been the subject of much chatter, debate, and on occasion, scorn since its implementation for the inaugural statewide tournament in fall 2021.
The MOV, along with opponent rating (strength of schedule), drives the rankings, and thus the power seeding, 1 through 32-plus, for the tournaments — whether it is 14 points (football), 10 points (basketball), or 3 goals (field hockey, ice hockey, soccer).
By late June, the MIAA will have two years of data for the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Will there be tweaks to the formula? Not so fast.
Pointing to the early data — 80-85 percent of the higher seeds have advanced in the statewide tournament through one cycle, plus fall 2022 — Burlington athletic director Shaun Hart told the Tournament Management Committee in a virtual meeting Wednesday that he recommends sticking with the current formula through 2023-24.
“Our power ratings have been spot-on,” said Hart, the committee chair, emphasizing that enacting change in the summer, when no one is paying attention, will not be received well by the membership. “The method is working well; there is 87, 88, 89 percent accuracy.
“Yes, a Cinderella scenario exists [of a lower seed winning]. [But] we are delivering a product that is not failing.”
Hart said that no tournament chair for the fall, winter, or spring has requested that the margin of victory/power seeding be changed. Discussions will continue. In addition, MIAA technology/tournament liaison Jim Clark, the creator of the formula, is running different models for comparison.
Dedham principal Jim Forrest said the committee must be open-minded and not shut the door for 2023-24 in February.
“Coaches say the [MOV] should be looked at,” he said. “We have to show our constituents that we are looking at hard data.”
Noting that teams are playing to win by 10 points, Wellesley AD John Brown said, “We need a win factor. Maybe we can look at the fall [numbers] now, and the winter [numbers] when the season is over.”
Wahconah AD Jared Shannon said the MIAA is dealing with a perception problem.
“We are dealing with feelings, not facts,” he said. “Teams are still running up the score.”
The discussion will continue with an in-person meeting Feb. 15.
In other developments:
▪ Softball (12-0) and outdoor track (11-1) tournament formats were approved, with one modification for track regarding the qualifying standard for the Meet of Champions (for individuals). The top place winner from each of the six divisional meets will advance, along with those individuals with the top qualifying standard, and not the top four from divisionals, creating, according to track liaison Keith Brouillard, “the best of the best.”
▪ In the quest for equal and balanced wrestling sectionals in the path to the three divisional state tournaments, there have been modifications, creating a hybrid model, meaning more travel for some teams. “A few unique sectionals,” said wrestling liaison Phil Napolitano, but following TMC guidelines.
▪ Hart continued to promote the idea of each of the nine districts offering up two sites per sport for the state semifinals and/or state finals. “It allows tournament directors to pick sites that are geographically closer,” he said, adding that landing sites in the fall were “a bear.”
“Hopefully we can make it a bit competitive, and ultimately, a better experience for the kids,” said Hart.
On Tuesday, hockey director Scott Paine announced the state semifinals would be held in Bourne (Gallo), Framingham (Loring), and Lowell (Tsongas), and that intel in advance was well-received.
Craig Larson can be reached at email@example.com.