Sunday, March 03, 2013

Permutations not kind to Falcons

Yesterday could not have been worse for the Falcons.  Every team in the logjam in the middle of the conference won except BG.  That included EMU beating WMU and, worst of all, Buffalo beating Akron.  So, a situation that appeared to have some optimism now looks a lot tighter for the Falcons.  Let's look.

So, if things ended this way, BG would play Miami at the Stroh.  The Falcons have assured themselves of at least a home berth in the tournament and can't finish lower than 8th.

Also, for reference, if BG ends up in a the two-way tie with Buffalo, the Bulls would win that tiebreaker, by virtue of their win over Akron Saturday.  However, multi-way ties including the Bulls are still in play.

So, let's look at BG's 4 scenarios.

If BG loses out and finishes 6-10, they will be 7th or 8th and probably 8th because Ball State still has NIU to play.  I do that scenario first only because it is the simplest.

Next, let's look at what might happen if BG won once and it was Buffalo we beat.  BG would be 7-9.  We could not finish 4th in the scenario because Kent would have beaten us for win #8.  We could only finish #5 if EMU lost @CMU and to UT (unlikely) and Buffalo lost out as well (meaning they lose to OU in addition to us), which is plausible, and Ball State lost at least once.  In a 3-way tie between BG, EMU and Buffalo, BG would win and that would also be true if Ball State made it a 4-way tie.

Now, what if BG won once and it was Kent.  BG cannot finish 4th because Buffalo would be assured of having 8 wins by beating us.  BG would finish 5th.  It would require the same thing from EMU but now Kent has to lose out and Ball State lose once.  Once you have made the leap that we might win @Kent, they have to finish with Akron, so they could lose that once.

And now, what if BG were to win both of its last two games.  In that case, BG would have a very strong shot at finishing in the #4 slot.  I looked at a 5-way tie with Kent, EMU, Buffalo, BG and Ball State and BG would be 5-1 in that group and would get the top spot.

If you take Kent out, BG is still 3-1 among the remaining 4 teams and Buffalo 2-2.  If you take EMU out, BG is still 4-1 and Kent 3-2.  If you take Buffalo out, BG is 4-0.  If you take Ball out BG is 4-1 and Kent is 3-2.

In hot three way action....

BG Kent EMU  (BG wins, 3-0)
BG Kent Buffalo (BG 3-1, Kent 2-2, Buffalo 1-3)
BG Kent Ball  (BG 3-0)
BG EMU Buffalo (BG 2-1, EMU 1-1, Buffalo 1-2)
BG EMU Ball (BG 2-0)
BG Buffalo Ball (Buffalo wins.  Both BG and Buffalo are 2-1 and Buffalo wins the head to head)

Two-way tiebreakers:

BG beats Kent, EMU, and Ball State and loses only to Buffalo.

So, there you have it.  I think.  Anyway, the most work is to figure out what happens if BG wins twice and that isn't very likely, frankly.  BG has been awful on the road this year, and they'd need to reverse that Tuesday against Kent in a tough gym against a team that is down but good enough to beat us on our home floor.

That leaves the Buffalo win as the best scenario, which could also be spanked if EMU wins @CMU, which you would expect them to do.

And remember, that when we talk about finishing 6th, we are actually talking about finishing 7th, because UT is in there somewhere, just not counting for the tournament permutations.

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