Monday, March 2, 2015

Race For Final Tournament Spot

We already know that the battle for the top seed in the Big Sky tournament could be relatively simple, tiebreaker wise - if Sac State wins one more game, they are the host. The race for the eighth seed is about just as simple.

Montana State, North Dakota, and Idaho State are all out. It will take at least 7 wins to make the tournament, and none of them can get more than five.

Idaho (8 wins) and Portland State (8 wins) could miss the tournament, but it doesn't seem likely, since it would require losing both games, SUU winning both games, Weber State winning at least one game, and the tiebreakers going against them. It's certainly plausible, but not the most likely scenario.

The most likely scenario is that either Weber State or Southern Utah will hold the eighth seed when the Big Sky tournament begins. The tiebreaker is very straight foward... SUU swept the season series, so if the teams have the same record, they are in.

Right now, Weber State is 7-9, and they end the year by hosting Idaho, and then hosting Eastern Washington. Southern Utah is 6-10, and they end the year by hosting Sacramento State, and then Portland State. Both are very tough.

KenPom forecasts that Weber has a 54% chance to beat Idaho, and a 37% chance to beat EWU. SUU, meanwhile, has a 40% chance of beating Sac State, and a 55% chance of beating PSU. Take those numbers for what their worth, but it gives you a general idea of how they stack up.

The upshot is this - With Sac State having a ton to play for, and Idaho's sporadic play, it wouldn't be a huge shock if this race is decided by the end of Thursday night, and there is no drama for the final spot. However, if the two teams are still separated by one game, we will have a fun Saturday.

The most likely scenario is that we'll see Weber State take on Sacramento State in the opening round of the Big Sky tournament, but it wouldn't take much to turn that prediction on its head.

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