Each year Field Hockey Corner does a statistical analysis of the records of all 77 division one schools and ranks them using variables such won loss records, strength of schedule and margin of victory. Although they have several methodologies the most used is RPI. We can use this as a proxy to look at the Patriot League in total, and to individual programs.
Here are the RPI’s of all the Patriot League Schools and their RPI by year. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is calculated by .25 win/loss record + .5 strength of schedule +.25 of opponents’ SOS.
TEAM 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 5 year average
BU 19 13. 15. 20 24 18.2
AM 37 30. 18. 39 34 31.6
BUC 22 40. 29. 38 40 33.8
Laf 38 43. 45. 53 50 45.8
HC. 77. 66. 54. 60 69 65.2
Col 62. 77. 73. 73 73. 71.6
Leh. 66. 68. 55. 65 74. 65
AVG. 45.8. 56.7 41.3. 49.7 52. 49.1
As can be seen, the trend for the league has not been favorable in recent years. It should also be noted that the rankings are bifurcated with a spread of approximately 53 places on average between the top and bottom teams. The rankings over the past 5 years have been fairly consistent. The bottom three teams have coaches that have been there 3 years or less. The top four team range from 38 years for BU and 6 years for Lafayette.
Does RPI matter?? If our best team wins the PL tournament and they are then seeded by RPI, it can diminish the chances of a PL team advancing. For the bottom teams the goal is to get to the league tournament, so coaches would naturally concentrate on those games between the bottom four. The top teams would like to do well in the non conference schedule to raise the league’s and it’s own RPI. Even if they lose with a small margin in tough non-conference games, their SOS can favorably effect their RPI.
It seems to me, the league can improve their RPI and their individual RPI’s by improving their results in the out of conference schedule. Losing badly to a non-conference foe can reduce the League’s RPI and reduce other PL team’s strength of schedule once they get into the Patriot part of the season. Another way to improve, is to search out other decent teams and take them on as associate members of the Patriot League.
All the patriot league teams are in different stages of development and one can only wonder what team has been helped by this recruiting season. I must admit I am a homer and think Lafayette has a good mix of talent ( recruits and veterans that can produce significant wins). I see no reason why Lafayette cannot get into the mid-20’s in 2019. In 2013 they finished the season in the high teens.
Lehigh has 8 recruits at the moment, seemingly with an emphasis on scoring talent. Colgate will return a significant number of veterans. For Holy Cross this will be a crucial class. Bucknell will need to restock next year as well, and will use local talent to do it. American will rely on a lot on their veterans but they seem to always get a key foreigner to fill in the blanks. I am impressed with BU’s recruits and my sense is that they are not finished.
Spring training is approaching and that is when veteran players develop the fastest. I am looking forward to it, as I am sure the players are!!