Sunday, February 22, 2015

Top 2 seed scenarios with 10 games left in #HLMBB

This year my tiebreaker analysis is going to be less than 100% definite because I have not heard yet exactly how the Horizon League office is treating Milwaukee in it's application of the tiebreakers. Obviously they are ineligible for the NCAA tournament, therefore they are ineligible for the Horizon League tournament.

I'm going to go out on a limb and base my analysis on the following premise: all of Milwaukee's league games count for the teams they played, therefore the proper thing to do is pretend that Milwaukee is eligible and then at the very end delete them from the list and move everybody lower up one slot.

As of tonight's games:

Valpo 55 Wright State 48
Detroit 83 Youngstown State 70
         W  L Pct.  GB
Valpo    12 2 0.857 0
CSU      11 3 0.786 1
GB       10 4 0.714 2
Oakland   9 4 0.692 2.5
Milw.     6 7 0.462 5.5
Detroit   6 9 0.400 6.5
UIC       3 10 0.231 8.5
WSU       3 11 0.214 9
YSU       2 12 0.143 10
The conference is perfectly split in half. We know that Detroit, UIC, Wright State, and Youngstown State will be playing first round games on Tuesday March 4th, and Valpo, CSU, Green Bay, and Oakland will be waiting for them on Friday.

Two teams can earn the 1 seed simply by winning out: Valpo would finish 14-2 and no one else can match them; CSU would finish 13-3 ahead of or tied with Valpo at 13-3 (since they play each other next Friday) and would win the tiebreaker because they swept Green Bay while Valpo split with them.

Valpo has to win at least 1 of their 2 remaining games to have a chance at the 1 seed because they need to finish ahead of everyone else (unless they beat CSU in which they win the head-to-head tiebreaker with them). Thus if they beat Detroit and CSU loses to Milwaukee, Valpo can lose the finale at the Wolstein Center and still get the 1 seed. Or they can just beat CSU next Friday and accomplish the same thing. If Valpo loses both games, even if CSU loses to Milwaukee, they would win the tiebreaker by virtue of their sweep of Green Bay (Oakland split with both teams).

CSU needs to win at least 1 of their 2 remaining games to have a chance at the 1 seed, but the tiebreakers tend to favor them, so they can finish in a tie with Valpo or Green Bay and they'll prevail.

Out of the remaining 1024 scenarios, 16 of them could potentially see Oakland get the 1 seed: if Oakland beats Green Bay, UIC, and YSU, Valpo loses to Detroit and CSU, and CSU loses to Milwaukee. This would leave Oakland, CSU, and Valpo tied for first at 12-4. Each team would split with the other 2 teams. The first common opponent would be Green Bay, and both CSU and Oakland would sweep Green Bay while Valpo split with them, so Valpo would lose the tiebreaker and get the 3 seed. However, that still leaves CSU and Oakland tied. The remaining common opponents don't break this tie either. Both would split with Milwaukee, both split with Detroit, both swept Wright State, both swept UIC, and both YSU. There are some scenarios involving ties, but since all 5 teams fail to discriminate between CSU and Oakland, these ties won't matter.

In these 16 scenarios, we'll need the RPI tiebreaker to decide between them. At the moment, CSU is 135 and Oakland 137 so anything is possible. Moreover the lower ties in thsoe scenarios also can't be resolved yet until the tie for first is resolved.

Outside of these 16 scenarios, Valpo is guaranteed one of the double-byes. If they lose the tiebreaker with CSU or finish one game behind them, they end up with the 2 seed.

CSU likewise clinches a double-bye by winning 1 of their last two games, unless Oakland also wins out. Green Bay and Oakland can only tie at 12-4. If it's Green Bay, CSU wins the tiebreaker as mentioned above. If it's Oakland, the tie will have to be broken by RPI for the same reason as mentioned above. Exception: if Valpo wins out then Oakland would win the tiebreaker because they alone scored a victory over Valpo.

If they lose both remaining games, CSU can still get the 2 seed if Oakland and Green Bay each lose exactly one remaining game and Green Bay beats Oakland. CSU still wins the 3-way tiebreaker at 11-5 largely because of their sweep of Green Bay.

Green Bay can get the 2 seed if they beat UIC and Oakland and CSU loses to Milwaukee and Valpo. In other words, they would be alone at 12-4 behind only Valpo at 13-3 or 14-2. If they were to tie CSU, they would lose that tiebreaker immediately. If they tie with Valpo, they would lose it because of common opponent CSU who Valpo and Oakland have both beaten.

Oakland can get the 2 seed if: (1) they win out and CSU wins out and Valpo loses to Detroit -- Oakland wins the tiebreaker with Valpo by virtue of their sweep of Green Bay; (2) they win out and Valpo wins out -- even if CSU beats Milwaukee, Oakland wins that tiebreaker because of their win over Valpo; (3) they beat Green Bay and split with UIC and YSU and CSU loses out for the same reason. If Oakland wins out and CSU beats Valpo but loses to Milwaukee, they can only get the 2 seed if they finish with a better RPI than CSU as mentioned above.

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