It's familiar territory for UB Men's Tennis this weekend, who don't quite control their own destiny for the MAC Tournament despite being picked second in the conference in the preseason poll. Sitting in a three-way tie for third place at 3-3, the Bulls are in a cluster of teams that will play musical chairs over a staggered set of matches the next few days, leaving one of Buffalo, Binghamton, Northern Illinois, and Ball State on the outside looking in alongside winless Toledo.
Current Standings, Remaining Matches, and Seed Possibilities
|Western Michigan||5-1||at TOL||1|
|Binghamton||3-2||at BUFF, vs NIU||2-5|
|Ball State||3-3||vs TOL||2-5|
|Northern Illinois||3-3||at BING||3-5|
|Toledo||0-5||at BALL, vs WMU||6|
1Working with similar tiebreakers as other MAC sports, the three-way tie here breaks down as: Ball State 2-1, Buffalo 1-1, Northern Illinois 1-2
2For what it's worth, Binghamton is 1-0 against Ball State, 0-1 against Buffalo, and 1-1 against WMU.
Ball State is the easiest here: They're only out with a loss and a pair of Binghamton losses. In that scenario, Buffalo and NIU would be #2 and #3, and 3-4 Binghamton would edge 3-4 Ball State on head-to-head record.
As far as everyone else is concerned, it comes down to Binghamton:
UB's Path to the Postseason
It's simple for the Bulls: A win today means a chance to defend their title, as UB would be guaranteed to finish in front of Binghamton*. It won't be easy, as the Bearcats have won five straight after a surprisingly listless 0-2 start against Buffalo and Western Michigan, but it's that simple.
UB wins a three-way tie with Binghamton and Ball State, and comes in second in a three-way tie with Ball State and Northern Illinois
To the 2 seed: Beat Binghamton, root for Binghamton over NIU OR Beat Binghamton, root for Toledo over Ball State
To the 3 seed: Beat Binghamton, Binghamton loses to NIU, Ball State beats Toledo
To the 4 seed: Lose to Binghamton, root for Binghamton over NIU
Out: Lose to Binghamton, NIU beats Binghamton.
Among these teams, UB with a loss can only finish in front of NIU. With a win they can only finish behind Ball State.
It somewhat complicates things for UB that the final matches of the year aren't being played simultaneously: If Binghamton beats UB, they can keep the Bulls out of the postseason without affecting their own seeding with a lay-down against NIU.
We'll run down the remaining possibilities after the match today, and have a first-round preview (hopefully) once the seedings are set.