One of the most frustrating things for college sports fans like us is figuring out tiebreaker rules, especially when they involve your team. This is especially true for Charlotte 49ers fans as they play the “if the season ended today” game.
OK, we admit, we’re playing it right now–only so you don’t have to. Here’s our attempt in pinpointing where the men and women would finish in the league standings if the season did end today.
First things first, how do the tiebreakers work? Official league documents state that when two teams are tied, head-to-head is the tiebreaker. Easy enough. But when the two teams haven’t played each other:
Conference record of the tied teams based on winning percentage versus the highest common opponent and proceeding down to the lowest common opponent, if necessary, until one team gains an advantage.
In other words, if Team A and B haven’t played each other, take a look at their results against their highest seeded in-conference opponent, which we’ll call Team D. If A beat D, A gets the tiebreak–same if B beats D. If neither beat D, it goes to the next-highest common opponent, and so on.
The men are the “easiest” of the two. But they’re currently in a four way tie for 8th in the standings with Saint Joseph’s, Richmond and George Washington. That would set up a “mini-conference” between the four squads:
Use each team’s record against the tied teams as a group rather than
performance against individual teams. When comparing records against a
group of teams, the higher winning percentage will prevail.
- The Hawks clinch 8th because they beat both Richmond and GW (although they’re yet to play Charlotte).
- Charlotte lost to both UR and GW, so they’d be 11th.
- But Richmond and GW would still be tied for 9th–and since they wouldn’t have played each other head-to-head (if the season ended today), the tiebreaker would go to the better record against the highest common opponent. That would be VCU–GW would not have played against Saint Louis, the top seed, although Richmond has–and the Spiders, by virtue of their win against the Rams and the Colonials’ loss, would be the 9th seed, leaving GW with the 10th seed.
- The Niners would play the 6th seed. But Temple and Xavier would finish tied for 6th–however, the Musketeers beat the Owls 57-52 on January 10, meaning they’d be the 5th seed; Temple would be the 6th seed*.
No tiebreaks necessary to find out where the women stand. They’re in 2nd all by themselves (earning a first-round bye) and would take on the #7/#10 winner in the conference quarterfinals at Hagan Arena. The 7th seed is GW–again, no tiebreak necessary. Of course, the Niners beat the Colonials at Halton 68-56 a week ago.
But who’s the potential 10th seed? Here’s where it gets tricky. Again, the tiebreak is mini-conference for three or more tied teams.
- Richmond, Temple, Xavier, and SLU are all tied for 8th. In the mini-conference, SLU would clinch 8th by virtue of their wins over Richmond and Xavier, giving them a 2-1 record, the best among the the three teams.
- Richmond, Temple, and Xavier would remain tied 9th-11th. But they are each 1-2 against one another. The next tiebreak would be highest-seeded common opponent, which would be…
- …Dayton, the #1 seed. Each team lost to the Flyers, so the next common opponent would be…
- …Saint Joseph’s, the #4 seed. (All three teams would not have played Charlotte or Fordham, the 2 and 3 seeds, if the season ended today.) Temple beat St. Joe’s; Richmond and Xavier did not; the Owls are the 9th seed.
- The Spiders and Musketeers would remain tied, so head-to-head would be the tiebreaker. Richmond beat X; the Spiders would be the 10th seed and the Musketeers would be the 11th seed. (By the way, the Niners and Spiders don’t face each other until the final day of the regular season).
Easy enough? It’s a good thing people in the league office get paid to break these ties for a living. By the way, if you see something that needs to be corrected, please leave a comment and let me know.
*–for example, I incorrectly tweeted that Xavier would be the 6th seed and not the 5th seed. Above is the corrected version.