Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tiebreakers Part 2

Beat writers and the Horizon League's Bill Potter were hoping that the top seed would have been resolved this past weekend. Valpo fans were hoping that Green Bay would lose on Friday, so that Valpo could clinch the 1 seed Saturday night on ESPN.

Geeks like me love -- in a masochistic way -- that the situation got a lot more messy instead. Green Bay swept the weekend, in fact, and Detroit stunned Valpo on Saturday, leaving the 1 seed up in the air, though limited to the top 4 teams.

Last night, Valpo traveled to the Gentile Center looking not only to inch closer to a 2nd straight regular season championship but also wash the bad taste of Saturday's debacle out of their mouths. Although they once again blew a 15 point lead, they righted the ship and stayed ahead of Detroit.

       W L
Valpo 11 3 vs YSU, at GB
UDM   10 4 at UIC, vs Loyola
UWGB   9 5 at UWM, vs Valpo
WSU    8 5 at CSU, vs UIC, vs YSU
YSU    7 7 at Valpo, at WSU
UIC    6 7 at UWM, at WSU, vs UDM
CSU    5 9 vs WSU, at Loyola
Loyola 4 10 at UDM, vs CSU
UWM    2 12 vs GB, vs UIC
The lion's share of the remaining 1024 scenarios still have Valpo capturing the 1 seed. The Crusaders are the only team with 3 losses, so by winning out, they guarantee the 1 seed.

Even if they split, the majority of scenarios have them getting the 1 seed. Here's the only way Detroit (the only other team with a shot at the 1 seed if Valpo goes 12-4) can achieve the 1 seed:
1.  Valpo beats GB (to sweep) and loses to YSU (to be swept)
2.  Detroit wins out, completing sweeps of Loyola and UIC
3.  YSU beats WSU
4.  GB loses to UWM
5.  WSU loses to CSU and UIC
This would result in the following standings:
UDM   12    4        3-1 against GB/YSU
Valpo 12    4        2-2 against GB/YSU
UWGB   9    7        2-0 against YSU
YSU    9    7
WSU    8    8
UIC    7or8 9or8
CSU    7or6 9or10
Loyola 4or5 12or11
UWM    4or3 12or13
Amazingly enough, if Valpo beats YSU and loses to GB in this scenario, they get the 1 seed because GB would be 10-6 while YSU would be 8-8 (and tied with WSU). GB splits with both teams. Both teams would be 3-1 against YSU/WSU. UIC was swept by both teams, but CSU is 1-1 against Detroit and 0-2 against Valpo (Loyola and UWM bring up the rear). More generally, if WSU wins even one of their remaining games, YSU becomes irrelevant because WSU split with Detroit but was swept by Valpo. Hence the above scenario is the only one where Valpo wins 12 but Detroit gets the 1 seed.

If Valpo loses to both YSU and GB, they still have a shot at the 1 seed as long as Detroit loses at least one more game (of course). Certainly if GB loses to UWM, Detroit gets swept by the Chicago teams, and WSU loses at least once, Valpo stands alone with 11 wins. Otherwise, Valpo would absolutely need WSU to win at least once to secure the 1 seed.

The only questionable part of that claim would be WSU finishing 9-7, tied with YSU. In the only case where Detroit, GB, and Valpo are all 11-5, UIC is also included in the 9-7 tie. There, Valpo and Detroit are both 4-2 against WSU/UIC/YSU while GB is 3-3. The next team to check would be CSU and that would tip the scales in Valpo's favor since they split with Detroit. Otherwise, it's just GB and Valpo at 11-5, and both teams would be 2-2 against WSU/YSU. UIC breaks the tie in Valpo's favor since they split with GB, but in the one case where UIC is tied with someone, it's CSU, which doesn't help GB.

In addition to the one case at the top of this analysis where Detroit gets the 1 seed even if Valpo wins 12, obviously if Valpo loses out, Detroit can get the 1 seed as long as they win at least once in the final two games, plus they need WSU to lose to YSU as well as one of their other 2 games (so that YSU finishes 9-7, beating Valpo and WSU).

GB can get the 1 seed in 4 of the remaining 1024 scenarios:

1. WSU has to lose out (CSU, UIC, YSU for 8-8)
2. GB wins out (UWM, Valpo for 11-5)
3. Valpo loses to YSU (for 11-5)
4. Detroit loses to both UIC and Loyola (for 10-6)

GB swept YSU while Valpo would be swept by YSU. Valpo only games 1 game in that common opponent competition if UIC is also included, so GB would still win the tiebreaker.

Finally there are 2 cases where RPI has to be the final tiebreaker to decide the 1 seed (Detroit currently leads the HL in RPI):

1. WSU beats CSU and loses to UIC and YSU to finish 9-7
2. UIC also beats Detroit and UWM to finish 9-7
3. Detroit beats Loyola to finish 11-5
4. YSU also beats Valpo to finish 9-7
5. Loyola beats CSU to finish 5-11

(The UWM-GB game doesn't matter)

1. Valpo (11-5) split with Detroit.
2. They both split with GB (10-6 or 11-5).
3. Valpo and Detroit are both 4-2 against WSU/UIC/YSU (GB is 3-3, so even if GB is 11-5, they end up with the 3 seed.
4. Valpo and Detroit are both 3-1 against CSU (5-11)/Loyola (5-11)
5. Valpo and Detroit both swept UWM (3-13 or 2-14)

UWM was the last team in the standings, so the only recourse would be to go by the RPI with the better RPI hosting the tournament and the other team getting the other double-bye.

Detroit has a 112 out of 1024 chance (10.9 %) of getting the 1 seed, while Valpo has a 906 out of 1024 chance (88.5 %) of getting the 1 seed.

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