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Nova’s Bad Loss and the Crazy Tie-Breaking System to Follow

Villanova’s loss to West Virginia tonight may have opened the door up for Marquette to snatch one of the highly coveted top 4 seeds in the Big East tournament. The way the tournament breaks down is that the top 4 seeds going into it get two straight byes and advance to the “Elite 8”, if you will. The 5-8 seeds get one bye and advance a round. Teams 9-16 play each other and then those winners play seeds 5-8, with the winners of those games playing seeds 1-4. Basically, getting that top 4 spot is huge, not only for the automatic wins but for rest as well. Going into the game tonight, Villanova was just one game back on Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Marquette. A win would have had them just 1/2 game out of the top 4 seeds, and with Marquette’s schedule to close the year, most thought that Nova would jump into that last spot. After that defeat, they lost ground to the tune of a whole game on Pitt, ‘Ville and Marquette. That could be big going down the stretch in a conference where every game matters when going for the top 4 seeds. I took a look at everyone’s schedule and played out the year to see who can grab those top spots.

1. Connecticut, 11-1
Wins: @ Seton Hall, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. South Florida, @ Marquette, vs. Notre Dame
Losses: @ Pittsburgh
Projected Finish: 16-2
Outlook: UConn will run the table in the Big East standings and have the 1 seed when it’s all said and done, even if they end up losing two games from here on out.

2. Pittsburgh, 9-2, 1 1/2 GB
Wins: vs. Cincinnati, vs. Depaul, @ Providence, @ Seton Hall, vs. Marquette, vs. Pittsburgh
Losses: @ Connecticut
Projected Finish: 15-3
Outlook: Pretty much the same thing here for Pitt with an easy schedule and room for one bump in the road.

3. Marquette, 9-2, 1 1/2 GB
Wins: vs. St. John’s, vs. Seton Hall, @ Georgetown, vs. Syracuse
Losses: vs. Connecticut, @ Louisville, @ Pittsburgh
Projected Finish: 13-5
Outlook: If they don’t stub their toe versus St. John’s or Seton Hall and can magically pull the upset on one of the big three, they have a very good shot to nab one of the top four spots.

4. Louisville, 9-2, 1 1/2 GB
Wins: vs. Depaul, vs. Providence, @ Cincinnati, vs. Marquette, vs. Seton Hall, @ West Virginia
Losses: @ Georgetown
Projected Finish: 15-3
Outlook: With one of the easiest finishes in the conference, Louisville should have no problem wrapping up a top 4 spot and they have a decent shot at winning out.

5. Villanova, 8-4, 2 1/2 GB
Wins: vs. Rutgers, @ Depaul, vs. Georgetown, vs. Providence
Losses: @ Syracuse, @ Notre Dame
Projected Finish: 12-6
Outlook: If this goes according to plan, Nova will miss out by one game on the Golden Eagles and have to play on Day 2.

The tie-breaking system is extremely complicated but I’ll leave you a link to read about it. Basically what it says is that if Nova and Marquette tie for 4th place, whoever fared better versus the 6th place team during the year would win the tiebreaker. That team will be either Syracuse (Marquette is projected to be 1-0 against them, Villanova 1-1), Providence (Marquette is 1-0, Villanova projected to be 2-0), or Cincinnati (Marquette is 1-0, Villanova is 1-0). Amazingly, and this is about to get a lot more confusing, if Villanova beats Syracuse to make them a projected 13-5 and ties Marquette, they would have to keep going to the next team after these three because the rule states if there is an uneven amount of games, you add 1 potential game and if Marquette could tie Villanova with a win over Syracuse (which they could to make them 2-0) then you keep going. The same goes for Providence. So, if we keep going down the line the next team is projected to be West Virginia, and with the loss last night to them, Villanova now loses out on that tiebreaker. This loss to West Virginia was huge!

I realize that was probably very confusing, but remember that if Marquette loses to a team like Seton Hall or Villanova loses to Syracuse or Providence, then the tiebreaker is less confusing and would just stop at whichever team MU/NOVA lost to. It should be very interesting, but it now looks like Marquette needs just 4 wins to grab the top spot instead of 5. Thanks, West Virginia.


February 14, 2009 - Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, Marquette Golden Eagles | ,

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