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UB Men's Basketball tiebreaker scenarios with four to go

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UB Athletics

For all the doom and gloom a week ago following a trio of narrow losses to Akron, Toledo, and Central Michigan, UB's still in an OK position to claim a top-four seed in the MAC, thanks in part to remaining home games and Akron's own swoon that has kept the Bulls within striking distance of a bye.

This isn't going to be super in-depth, because it can get really complicated. But without too much complication, we can get a clear picture because UB controls their own destiny. It only gets complicated when we need help.

Quickly, the five teams currently in front of UB, their records, and H2H tiebreaker against the Bulls:

Team Record H2H vs UB
Kent State 10-4 0-1
Central Michigan 10-4 2-0
Toledo 10-4 1-0
Bowling Green 9-5 0-1
Akron 8-6 1-0
Buffalo 8-6 -----

UB needs to pass two teams, and things are setting up perfectly for a pair of home wins against Akron and BG to do just that. The Bulls need to desperately avoid finishing tied with Akron, Kent, or BG with a 1-1 head-to-head record, because UB's winless records against Toledo and CMU will hurt them in the secondary tiebreaker, which compares tied teams' records against the top seed and runs down the list until one team shows an advantage.

So the Bulls either have to pass a team outright (Akron) when they can't win the first tiebreaker, or pull into a tie (BG, Kent). Fortunately, UB is in great shape to this. All other results notwithstanding, wins over Akron and BG would put the Bulls a game clear of the Zips and tied holding an unbeatable tiebreaker over the Falcons.

I'm going to set CMU and Toledo permanently above the Bulls, because we'd need a three-game swing in four contests or a three-way tie with the right teams to pass either, and that's where things get complicated. It's certainly feasible, but it's not worth figuring out.

But all of the East Division teams are within reach -- Akron and Bowling Green on UB's own control, and Kent with a UB win over the Flashes and one extra loss from Kent. It might be nice to let the Flashes sit in first, though. Then a hypothetical fourth-seed UB would only have to go through one of Toledo and CMU, long-range offenses who will get more of an advantage from the extra rest the tournament structure provides. 

***
That was lots of words. Here's everything I have to say in fewer words:

1.
With four wins, UB is a top-four seed. They'd be 12-6, ahead of BG and Akron, and perhaps topping Kent on a tiebreaker.  

2. 
To pass Akron, beat them tomorrow, then match their record in the final three. To pass Bowling Green, match their record over the next three, then beat them on Senior Night.

3.
Top-4 with a 3-1 finish is totally feasible.

3 is kind of a corollary to 2 there. If either Akron or BG lose in their three non-UB games, UB can afford a loss to Ohio or Kent. Consider either of the following scenarios:

SCENARIO ONE

WIN vs Akron --- 9-6 --- Best Case: 4th, 1 game up on Akron, tied with BG after BG loss. Worst Case: 5th, still one behind BG
WIN at Kent State --- 10-6 --- Best Case: 3rd (with MAC West complications), 2 up on Akron, 1 up on BG, 1 back of Ket. Worst Case: 5th, 1 up on Akron, still 1 back of BG, 1 back of Kent
LOSS vs Ohio --- 10-7 --- Best Case: 3rd, 2 up (insurmountable) on Akron, 1 up on BG, 1 back of Kent. Worst Case: 6th, tied with Akron (but losing second tiebreaker), 2 back of BG, 2 back of Kent
WIN vs Bowling Green --- 11-7 --- Best Case: 1st, (MAC West issues, and tied (with tiebreaker) over Kent.) Worst Case: 6th, tied with Akron, 1 back of BG, 2 back of Kent

SCENARIO TWO

WIN vs Akron --- 9-6 --- Best Case: 4th, 1 game up on Akron, tied with BG after BG loss. Worst Case: 5th, still one behind BG
LOSS at Kent State --- 9-7 --- Best Case: 4th, 1 up on Akron, tied with BG. Worst Case: 6th, tied with Akron and losing tiebreaker, two behind BG
WIN vs Ohio --- 10-7 --- Best Case: 3rd, 2 up on Akron (insurmountable), 1 up on BG. Worst Case: 6th, tied with Akron, two behind BG
WIN vs Bowling Green --- 11-7 --- Best Case: 2nd, (same as above, but losing Kent tiebreaker). Worst Case: 6th, same as above.

Obviously there's a big swing between the Best and Worst cases, and like I said, it gets complicated fast. But Buffalo is likely in at top-four with 3-1. Akron and BG are must-wins. Kent and Ohio are not, provided at least one of them is a win.

Go Bulls!