Thursday, February 21, 2013

MAC Permutations

So, now we are on the same page.  OU and EMU played their 12th game last night and now everyone in the conference is on even footing.

OU smoked EMU by 23 at the Convo and that leaves what you see here.

If the season ended today, the Falcons would get a bye directly to the Q and would not play a first round game.  This position is strengthened by the fact that we are on the only east team that is done with Akron.

Furthermore, BG is only one game behind Buffalo for a quarterfinal bye and still plays Buffalo at BG.

A few thoughts.

Buffalo has a really tough road home.  They play @Kent and then they have Akron and OU--in Buffalo, yes, but still--and then @BG, who plays well at home.  Honestly, Buffalo could easily go 0-4 and 1-3 is probably likely.

Kent still plays BG and Buffalo at Kent, and @Miami.  I think Kent could easily go 3-1.

Eastern is a slightly different story because they will only play teams from the West from here on in.  And, they have their more difficult games (WMU, UT) at home and their easier games on the road. They could also go 3-1, though I guess I think 2-2 is more likely.

Ball State is one game back from that pack.  They have the opposite situation--they play @WMU and @UT and have the easily game at home.  They are a good target to finish 6-10.

If that plays out...Kent at 8-8, Buffalo and EMU at 7-9 and BSU at 6-10, BG would have to win 3 coming home to finish #4.  That would mean beating Miami and Buffalo at the Stroh and then either winning against OU or @Kent.  Assuming you get there beating OU and BG and Kent tie, BG would win the tiebreaker so long as Kent did not beat Akron.

In other words, if BG wins 3 coming home, there is a very good chance that they will end up in 4th.

It isn't impossible BG beats OU at home.  BG is a much different team on our floor.  However, if  you want likely scenarios, I think it is that BG goes 2-2 coming home.

That would leave BG 7-9 and tied with Buffalo and EMU.  In that hot three-way action, BG would be 2-1 and EMU 1-1 and Buffalo 1-2 and that's how it would play out.  BG would get the bye to the Q.

If EMU were to finish 6-10 and the tie was just BG and Buffalo, then BG would also win that tiebreaker due to the season split, but BG having the win over the higher ranked team (WMU--assuming Buffalo does not beat Akron or Ohio.)

If you want to look at home court, BG has a 2 game lead on NIU and Miami.  They have the tiebreaker over NIU and currently not over Miami, but if they were to beat Miami then the WMU win would give BG the tiebreaker and they would get home court.  If BG ends up on the road for the first round of the MAC tournament, that will be very disappointing.

There's plenty to watch for.  It is dramatic, if not pretty.  The MAC is top heavy this year.  We have two really good teams at the top--better than normal--and then the middle is softer.  The bottom, probably, is less soft than before...there's no 4-26 team down there--but from #2 (or #3) down, the MAC is not at strong as it normally is.

The losses BG had @CMU and @Miami really hurt.  You get one of those games back, and you're in a completely different situation.  In any event, it is certainly very plausible at this point that BG could finish #5 in the MAC (important note, these rankings are tournament rankings that exclude Toledo, so BG would actually be #6 in the MAC) and I actually think that would be a moderate case of exceeding expectations.

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