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Top two MAC seeds in play - and actually growing more likely - for Buffalo Bulls Men's Basketball

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Hoo boy, it's getting exciting. You know the drill by now. We're talking tiebreakers in light of MAC game #16.

Other than UB's own game, nothing broke right for the Bulls this round of MAC play, but it has opened up more flexibility with the Toledo-CMU game. Until the Chippewas' loss to NIU, I wanted no part of CMU. Now UB can claim #2 in two scenarios where UT wins, and two where CMU wins.

Anyway, here's the table. Akron and WMU are not totally out of passing us, but it's so ridiculous I can't waste my time. The only way Akron enters the picture for UB and a top-four is in play is in a four-, five-, or six-way tie at 11-7 with all the east teams and possibly one of Toledo or CMU, or both WMU and CMU.

For reasons that hinge mostly on the fact that I just referenced the possibility of a SIX-way tie at 11-7, we're ignoring Akron, because heaven help us all if 11-7 becomes a factor.

Record CMU UT BG UB Kent
CMU 11-5 1-0* 0-1 2-0 0-1
UT 11-5 0-1* 1-0 1-0 0-2
BG 11-5 1-0 0-1 0-1* 1-0
UB 10-6 0-2 0-1 1-0* 2-0
Kent 10-6 1-0 2-0 0-1 0-2

*means there's a game remaining

OF COURSE BG and Kent each have a win over Central. This is marginally good news; we won't finish last in every possible CMU tie scenario, but we still want to avoid them.

This is pretty much a disaster right now because the 11-7 possibilities are monstrous. That six-way tie I referenced? CMU loses out, BG loses out, UB loses to Ohio, Kent to Akron, and Akron and WMU win out. Nightmare fuel. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Let's just sit with 12-6, because that's UB's best possible number.

If UB is 12-6:

Only one of BG and Kent will be 12-6, since they play each other and BG would lose to UB.

Neither (13-5 and 11-7), both, or one (13-5 and 12-6 OR 12-6 and 11-7) of CMU or Toledo can get to 12-6, since they play each other.

***

There's two possible four-way ties and five possible three-way ties just at 12-6 alone. So that sucks. None of them works out very well for us, except for the two that avoid CMU. At least at 12-6, UB CANNOT pass CMU in any tiebreakers.

UB has a bye no matter what at 12-6, but any combo with the Chips has them at 3rd, possibly 4th seed. By comparison the #2 can be in play with a Buffalo-Toledo-BG tie at 12-6 (with CMU at 11-7), or a Buffalo-Toledo-Kent tie at 12-6 (with CMU ahead of the pack at 13-5).

UB's best chances at #2 involve CMU beating UT (because I don't expect CMU to also lose to Western), but there's a shot at #1 here, too: UB, UT, and Kent at 12-6, CMU at 11-7. See the summary for how we get there.

***
What if the West teams part like the Red Sea, and split to 13-5 and 11-7? Well then things are great for a 12-6 UB, who by then has tiebreakers against both Bowling Green and Kent State, if they're necessary. This is one of the two simplest ways to #2: The winner of CMU/UT wins their finale, the loser loses their finale, and UB wins out.

The other? CMU beats Toledo, UB wins out, Kent wins out. That sets us up to win the Toledo-Kent-UB tiebreaker that I picked up on a few games ago.

***

To recap, we're ignoring 11-7 because it is a mess. In case you've forgotten in the last few paragraphs:

Remember as we move on, though, sadly 11-7 with a second loss to Ohio is better for us than 11-7 with a loss to Bowling Green. I know.

IF UB WINS OUT:

UB Takes the #1 IF

1. Kent wins out (@BG, Akron), CMU loses out (UT, @WMU), UT loses to EMU

UB Takes the #2 IF

1. CMU loses out, Toledo loses to EMU, BG beats Kent

2. CMU wins out, Toledo beats EMU, Kent wins out

3. CMU wins out, Toledo loses to EMU

4. Toledo wins out, CMU loses to WMU

***
Tuesday's rooting interests post will now account for each of these five possibilities. They'll be mostly similar.

That wasn't so bad, was it?

Go Bulls