"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

First Round Bye Update: Root for WVU over Pitt on 2/27

Two weeks have passed since our last analysis on MU's chances to earn a first round bye to the Big East Tournament.

Things should be clearer today, right?


By losing four of their last five, West Virginia has placed 3rd place into play. Only Villanova and UConn appear to be safe first-round byes in Big East tournament.

Let's update the race. The good news: MU definitely has a chance.

Other teams still in the hunt--Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and West Virginia.

Syracuse was in the hunt last time, but have had losses to UConn and Cincy since then, giving them six losses on the season. We still believe that 11-5 is the minimum record for the 4th place bye, so for now, Syracuse is out, as are the resurgent Cincinnati Bearcats.

As before, for MU to have a shot, there is no room for error. Two weeks ago, we said MU needs to sweep the home slate, and take two of three on the road from Rutgers, ND, and Louisville. With victories over Pitt and Georgetown in the bag, MU should be able to keep the first half of that requirement. The season rests on taking ND and Louisville on the road.

Seton Hall is 7-5 after the upset loss to Notre dame
Home: Cincy
Away: St. Johns, Pitt, DePaul
A strong finish and they could still Cincy at home and St. Johns and DePaul on the road. But @Pitt seems a stretch. Pencil them in for 10-6

Georgetown has fallen to 8-5 three straight losses. Despite what looked to be the easiest path to a bye in our prior analysis, they've probably played themselves into a much less certain picture.
Home: Rutgers, Syracuse
Away: USF
The problem isn't that they are capable of a sweep of their final home games. It's that at 8-5, they fall short in anything but a head-to-head tie with Pitt. Any tie that involveds MU or WVU puts them at the short end of the stick

Pitt is 9-4 after MU's win on Saturday.
Home: PC, Seton Hall
Away: WVU
We're still predicting the split with WVU--since Pitt won the first game, that gives this one to the Mountaineers. Then, they likely take Providence Seton Hall. Final record: 11-5.

Marquette has helped themselves with wins over Pitt and Georgetown, with a record of 8-5.
Home: Providence
Away: Notre Dame, Louisville
Taking care of business against Providence, the season rests on the three road games. MU needs to take ND and Louisville to finish 11-5.

Now, the tiebreakers. There's only two things you need to know right now:
1. Barring upsets by others in the hunt, MU must win both road games.
2. The season comes down to Pitt at WVU on 2/27.

First, as a remineder, here's how the Big East tiebreakers work.
From the Big East tie-breaking forumula,

Teams are viewed as a “mini-conference” when comparing head-to-head results. The team with the best record (as determined by winning percentage, even if unequal games) vs. the other teams in the mini-conference gains the advantage.

If Pitt beats WVU (and all other games go as predicted above) Pitt takes 3rd place and WVU, MU, Georgetown will be tied for 4th. The mini-conference would look like this:
WVU: 3-0 (beat MU, sweep over GT)
MU: 1-1 (beat Georgetown, loss to WVU)
Georgetown: 0-3 (loss MU, two losses to WVU)
MU takes 5th seed and plays the first day.

If WVU beats Pitt, they take 3rd and Pitt, MU and Georgetown will be tied:
MU: 2-1 (split with Pitt, win over Georgetown)
Georgetwon 1-1 (beat Pitt, lost to MU)
Pitt: 1-2 (Loss to Georgetown, win over MU)

Let's make things a bit more interesting. Say that Seton Hall manages the road upset at Pitt to give them an 11-5 record. If Pitt beats WVU, then Pitt, WVU, MU, Georgetown and Seton Hall will be in a 5 way tie for 3rd with 11-5 records:
WVU: 4-2 (split with pitt, sweep of georgetown, beat MU, lost to Seton hall)
SHU: 2-1 (beat Pitt, loss to MU, beat WVU)
MU: 3-2 (win over SHU, split with Pitt, loss to WVU, beat Georgetown)
Pitt: 2-4 (wins over MU, WVU and losses to WVU, SHU, MU and Georgetown)
Georgetown 1-3 (sweep by WVU, loss to MU, beat Pitt)
In this scenario, Seton Hall and WVU would get the byes.

Same scenario, if WVU tops Pitt: WVU is in sole possession of 3rd and MU, Seton Hall, Georgetown are tied for 4th at 11-5. Pitt drops to 10-6.
MU: 2-0 (wins over SHU and Georgetown)
Georgetown 0-1 (loss to MU)
SHU: 0-1 (loss to MU)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Pitt beats WVU, then they would have swept the series, not split it.