(a) Bill Potter from the HL Headquarters has clarified the rule I mentioned below and confirmed that my interpretation was correct. Thanks, Bill!
(b) He and another reader helpfully pointed out my error with regard to Green Bay and Loyola. True enough, Green Bay did NOT sweep Loyola, they split with them. Corrections will be highlighted below.
Scores from 2/24/2011:
Milwaukee 87 Cleveland State 83
Green Bay 71 Youngstown State 60
Loyola 68 Valparaiso 48
Seed Team Conf 1st round matchup
---- ---------- ---- -----------------
#1 Milwaukee 12-5 Would receive double-bye
#2 Butler 12-5 Would receive double-bye
#3 Cleveland State 12-5 Would host #10 UIC
#4 Valparaiso 11-6 Would host #9 YSU
#5 Wright State 10-7 Would host #8 Loyola
#6 Detroit 9-8 Would host #7 Green Bay
#7 Green Bay 8-9
#8 Loyola 7-10 clinched the 8 seed
#9 Youngstown State 2-15
#10 UIC 2-15
We're down to 32 scenarios with 5 games left, and Milwaukee is now in the driver's seat. All they have to do is beat YSU and the 1 seed is theirs. Valpo has all but lost the double-bye with their crushing loss to Loyola at home. They have completely lost the 1 seed.
Even if Milwaukee does lose to YSU, they still get the 1 seed if Green Bay beats CSU and Loyola beats Butler. That would put them in a 3-way tie with Butler and CSU, and just as with 13 wins, Milwaukee wins the tiebreaker with a 3-1 record, Butler finishes 2nd with 2-2, and CSU finishes 3rd with 1-3. If Valpo also beats UIC, then there's a 4-way tie at 12-6.
According to 2011 Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship (Tiebreakers section at the bottom), rule 4 - "If the provision of (3) above fail to resolve a tie involving three or more teams, compare each of the tied team’s records against the team occupying the highest position in the standings and continue down through the standings until the tie is reduced to a two-team tie, at which time revert to items (1) and (2) above or until the tie is broken."
First of all, this is poorly written, complete with misspellings in it. Secondly, it is vague with regard to what constitutes failure to resolve a tie involving three or more teams. But the phrase "until the tie is reduced to a two-team tie" suggests that -- and I continue to go with this until someone corrects me by clarifying the rule -- since Milwaukee is 4-2 they get the 1 seed and since CSU is 2-4 they get the 4 seed, THEN we start over with Butler and Valpo at 3-3, at which point, Valpo wins the remaining tiebreaker because they split with #1 Milwaukee while Butler was swept by them. The alternate interpretation, which doesn't seem to be favored by the language of the rule, would have us start over with Butler, CSU, and Valpo which would hand the 2 seed to Butler, the 3 seed to Valpo, and the 4 seed to CSU.
Furthermore, my interpretation of a 3-way tie at 12-6 between Milwaukee, Butler, and Valpo would give Milwaukee the 2 seed (CSU would be 13-5), Valpo the 3 seed, and Butler the 4 seed because Milwaukee is 3-1, Valpo 2-2, and Butler 1-3. If they intended us to start over with Valpo and Butler (thus handing the 3 seed to Butler because of CSU) they went way out of their way to hide it.
From Bill Potter, Director of Communications for the Horizon League: "Wanted to clarify rule #4 for you (sorry it’s so vague). You are correct that you break all ties first, then resolve with the ladder. In the case of a four-way tie at 12-6, for example, Milwaukee receives the No. 1 seed due to its 4-2 record against the other three. Cleveland State is the No. 4 because they are 2-4. With Valpo and Butler each being 3-3, you then go to the ladder, starting at the highest-seeded team, which in this case, is Milwaukee. Valpo receives the No. 2 seed because it is 1-1 against the Panthers."
It is good to have the official interpretation straight, because it's the only one that really counts, rightfully so. Thanks, again Bill!
Butler can get the 1 seed if they beat Loyola and YSU beats Milwaukee. Obviously if CSU beats Green Bay, Butler wins the tiebreaker because of their head-to-head sweep. If they beat Loyola but Milwaukee wins, Butler settles for the 2 seed (they lose the tiebreaker with Milwaukee, and if CSU is also part of the tie, then Butler eliminates them after being eliminated by Milwaukee). If Butler loses to Loyola and Green Bay beats CSU, Butler again gets the 2 seed by the same tiebreaker, unless Milwaukee also loses to YSU and Valpo also beats UIC (giving us the 4 way tie mentioned above and giving Valpo the 2 seed). If Butler loses to Loyola and CSU beats Green Bay, CSU finishes first and Milwaukee beats Butler for the 2 seed, leaving the 3 seed for Butler, unless Valpo beats UIC, giving us the 3 way tie mentioned above and giving Valpo the 3 seed.
As seen above, the only way Valpo gets the 2 seed is if they beat UIC, Green Bay beats CSU, YSU beats Milwaukee, and Loyola beats Butler creating a 4-way tie at 12-6. They get the 3 seed if they beat UIC and if either CSU or Butler (or both) lose on Saturday. If CSU loses, they end up with the 4 seed because they finish last in the 4-way tiebreaker and last in the 3-way tiebreaker with Valpo and Butler. If Butler loses and CSU wins, Butler gets the 4 seed because they finish last in a 3-way tie with Valpo and Milwaukee and they lose the 2-way tiebreaker to Valpo because Milwaukee wins the 1 seed. If both Butler and CSU lose, CSU finishes last in the 3-way tie with Valpo and Butler or the 4-way tie mentioned above. In all such cases, Valpo gets at least the 3 seed. If both CSU and Butler win, Valpo gets the 4 seed because there are 3 13-5 teams ahead of them or because they lose the tiebreaker with Milwaukee because Butler gets the 1 seed.
Of course, if Valpo loses to UIC, then no matter what happens they end up with the 4 seed. They can't fall to 5th because even if WSU beats Detroit, Valpo swept WSU so they win the tiebreaker.
As mentioned before, if Detroit beats WSU they get the 5 seed because of their sweep of WSU, and WSU gets the 6 seed. If WSU beats Detroit, they get the 5 seed. If Green Bay also beats CSU, they tie with Detroit at 9-9. Green Bay wins the tiebreaker because of the top 4 teams, 2 of them are neutral as a common opponent (CSU and Butler) and the other 2 favor Green Bay (Milwaukee and Valpo). If Green Bay loses to CSU, Detroit gets the 6 seed.
Loyola can get the 7 seed if they beat Butler AND Green Bay loses to CSU AND UIC beats Valpo. This would tie them at 8-10. The top 2 seeds would go to Milwaukee and CSU in either order, but neither one breaks the tie (Milwaukee split with both and in this case CSU sweeps both). Butler and Valpo get the 3 and 4 seeds, depending on how Valpo does against UIC. If Valpo beats UIC, they win the tiebreaker with Butler as described above: if Milwaukee beats YSU, they get the 1 seed and Valpo fared better than Butler against the Panthers, and if Milwaukee loses to YSU, the 3-way-tie between Milwaukee, Valpo, and Butler makes Butler the big loser with a 1-3 head-to-head record. If Valpo is the 3 seed, Green Bay wins the tiebreaker because they swept Valpo while Loyola only split with them. However, if UIC beats Valpo, then Butler gets the 3 seed and Loyola wins the tiebreaker because they split with them while Green Bay was swept by them.
So, Loyola gets the 7 seed if: they beat Butler, CSU beats Green Bay, and UIC beats Valpo. Otherwise, they get the 8 seed, and Green Bay gets the 7 seed (unless they get the 6 seed as mentioned above).
Thanks for catching this, John and Bill!
The only way for UIC to get the 9 seed is if they beat Valpo AND Milwaukee beats YSU. All the tiebreakers now favor YSU, so if either of those things do not happen, YSU gets the 9 seed and UIC gets the 10 seed.