Friday, March 6, 2015

Big Sky Tiebreaker Scenarios

There are many, many scenarios in the Big Sky for Saturday, with a lot of different ways teams could be seeded in one place or another. I'm not going to try and hit on all of them, but I'll try to hit the main things that can happen.

One note of caution: Don't take this as Gospel truth. Obviously, I'm trying to be as accurate as possible, and not state anything incorrectly, but with so many scenarios, feel free to double check my work!

As far as I can tell, the race to host the conference tournament is down to three teams after Sacramento State's loss on Thursday - the Hornets can still win, as can Eastern Washington or Montana. Based on my analysis (which I'll say shortly), I don't believe Northern Arizona can host the tournament.

There are a few scenarios that are pretty clear cut in terms of determining the host of the Big Sky tournament:
- If Sac State beats NAU, they host the tournament.
- If Sac State loses, EWU wins, Montana loses - then EWU hosts the tournament.
- If Sac State loses, EWU loses, Montana wins - then Montana hosts the tournament.
- If Sac State loses, EWU loses, Montana loses - then we would have a four way tie, with four teams at five losses. Oddly, this scenario is easy to figure out, because all four teams would be tied, you would just look at the records in the game between the teams. In that case, based on my understanding, Sac State would be the 1 seed, followed by Northern Arizona, followed by Montana, and EWU as the four seed.

[UPDATE: I have changed this section around as I have learned some new information]

The last possible scenario is that Sac State loses, but EWU and Montana both win. In that case, the Grizzlies and Eagles are tied at 14-4, while the Jacks and Hornets would be tied at 13-5.

EWU and Montana both split, which is the first tiebreaker. Then, the next tiebreaker would be the winning percentage against the next collective group. In that case, Montana would be the host, because they went 1-1 against NAU/Sac, while EWU went 1-2 against them. That would give Montana the tiebreaker, and they would host.

Then, Sac State would be third and NAU fourth, since the Hornets were 1-0 against Montana, while the Jacks were 0-1.


Northern Colorado is the best bet for the fifth seed because they just need a win, and they've got it. If they lose, in possible head to head ties for the fifth seed, they would beat Weber State, but lose to Idaho. If they are simply tied with Portland State, the tiebreaker winner would depend on the order of the top seeds, as they split the season series.

Weber State, Portland State, and Idaho are all into the tournament with a win or Southern Utah loss, but could potentially still miss the tournament if they lose and SUU wins.

Southern Utah is actually in pretty decent shape if they beat Portland State. They hold the tiebreaker over Weber State (who they beat twice) and Idaho (who they beat in their only meeting). SUU fans should also be rooting for Sac State to win - now that they have a win over the Hornets, that would help them in a tiebreaker against Portland State, should it come to that, since SUU is 1-1 against the Hornets, but PSU is 0-2.

EDIT: After poking around a bit more, I think Southern Utah is in if they win.

Since SUU plays PSU, if they win, there would be four other scenarios involving Weber State/Idaho and a tie for the final spot:

- Idaho wins, Weber State wins - In this case, SUU and Portland State would be tied at 8-10. They split the season series, so then things would get tricky. From my understanding, SUU would do better if it came down to Sac State being the definitive team, because they are 1-1 against the Hornets, while the Vikings are 0-2. PSU would get the advantage if EWU was the tiebreaker... BUT, EWU cannot be the definitive tiebreaker, because if they win, that means Weber State has lost, and Weber State would be the odd man out. So in the scenario of Idaho and Weber State both winning, that would leave Portland State out of the tournament.
- Idaho wins, Weber State loses - This would bring about a 3-way tie between Weber, PSU, and SUU. In the record in games between the three, SUU would be 3-1, PSU 2-1, Weber State 0-3, so Weber State would miss out.
- Idaho loses, Weber State wins - This would bring a 3-way tie between SUU, PSU, and Idaho. In the record in games between the three, SUU would be 2-1, PSU 2-2, and Idaho 1-2, so Idaho would miss the tournament.
- Idaho loses, Weber State loses - This would bring about a four way tie at 8-10. In the record between the four teams, SUU would be 4-1, PSU 3-2, Idaho 2-3, and WSU 1-4. That would leave Weber State as the odd team out.

That is a quick rundown of things... by no means comprehensive, but hopefully I've hit the key points. If you have any more specific questions, please let me know and I will try and answer them. I will try to update some more scenarios in the race for the final spot if I am able to get more time today.

Also, a programming note... I will unfortunately be out of town this weekend, as we are traveling for a baptism... So, I will try and post on Sunday, and hopefully tweet here and there, but I'm not sure how that will look. Either way, I'll have lots of coverage next week on everything Big Sky tournament related.

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball


  1. If in fact EWU and Montana tie for first and Sac and NAU tie for second, is NAU the four seed?

    1. Based on my information, yes. I have updated my post with some more information on that scenario.

  2. I have to admit I am surprised by how much better the Jacks seem to be getting as the season moves along (rebounding is just out of this world and it kills teams). They always play tight games though and so I think it will burn them at some point in the tournament. Despite Sac State's loss, I have to say I love Mikh McKinney...I think he is easily the league MVP. His front court is just not good enough, but if they were Sac State would beat everyone in the conference 95% of the time. McKinney is hands down the best player in the league. #1JacksFan

  3. Love your blog Jon! Just want to say it was an interesting year for the Big Sky and no doubt this is going to be an exciting tournament. Any of the top 4 can win it, and Weber could be a dark horse. Can't wait to read your analysis /preview and thoughts on the MVP, 1st team, etc.