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Plenty to play for in final week of regular season

Posted by phearthephoenix on February 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM



With the final week of the regular season upon us there is still plenty to play for in the Horizon League. All but bottom-dwelling Cleveland State and Youngstown State will play three games this week to sort out the final standings and the subsequent seeding at the conference tournament that go along with it.


Green Bay currently finds itself in a third place tie with Wright State at 10-5 in the conference standings, a game ahead of fifth place Northern Kentucky and a game behind second place Oakland. Valparaiso leads the conference at 12-3 – a game ahead of Oakland and two games ahead of Green Bay and Wright State with three games to play.


If the Horizon League Tournament started today, Green Bay would be the #3 seed and face #6 UIC in the second round of the tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit thanks to tiebreakers.


The Phoenix have clinched a first round bye in the conference tournament and at least the #5 seed and still have a small chance – 5% according to PlayoffStatus.com – of winning the regular season title but would need to win its last three games while having Valparaiso lose two of their final three games.


Green Bay does control its own destiny for the #2 seed at Motor City Madness. The Horizon League went away from its longstanding tradition of protecting the top two seeds with a double-bye to the semifinals but still offers an incentive for finishing in the top two.


Seeds one through six receive a first round bye. The top two seeds theoretically play an easy second round game against a lesser opponent on Saturday night, March 4th against either the #7 or #10 seed and then get a day of rest between the second round of the tournament and the semifinals on Monday night.


Seeds three through six play their second round games against each other on Sunday, March 5th before facing the two winners of the previous day in the semifinals. Seeds three through six and must win three games in three nights in order to win the tournament.


The top six seeds have all clinched a first round bye, but the seeding is still to be determined.


Valparaiso (12-3) has several clinching opportunities if they can hold serve and knock off last place Milwaukee (4-11) tonight at the ARC. According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Crusaders will clinch at least the #4 seed with a win tonight and will clinch at least the #3 seed with a win and a Wright State or Oakland loss. A win plus a Wright State loss coupled with an Oakland or Green Bay loss tonight would mean Valpo will clinch at least the #2 seed.


Oakland (11-4) clinches at least the #4 seed tonight if they win at home against lowly Youngstown State (4-11). They can also clinch at least the #3 seed tonight with a win and losses by both Wright State and Valparaiso or Wright State and Green Bay. The Grizzlies will travel to Green Bay on Friday in a massive showdown that could have huge regular season title or #2 seed implications.


Green Bay (10-5) plays its final road game of the season tonight at UIC (7-8) and cannot finish worse than 5th but cannot improve its seeding tonight no matter what happens. A win keeps the Phoenix dim regular season title hopes alive and also keeps the pressure on Oakland ahead of Friday night’s game. A Green Bay loss and Valparaiso victory tonight eliminates the Phoenix from the regular season title and #1 tournament seed conversation.


Wright State (10-5) travels to Northern Kentucky (9-6) in a game with big seeding implications. The Raiders have already clinched a first round bye and would clinch a top five seed tonight with a victory and a Green Bay win over UIC. On the flip side, Northern Kentucky has clinched a first round bye as well and would clinch a top five seed with a victory tonight and a Green Bay win over UIC.


UIC has clinched a top six spot and a first round bye but can finish no better than 5th. They are locked into the 6-seed if they lose tonight and Northern Kentucky beats Wright State.


Tiebreakers could play a large factor like last year when Oakland clinched the #2 seed over Wright State despite having an equal 13-5 record. The Grizzlies went 2-0 against the Raiders last year giving them the head-to-head advantage which is the conference’s first tiebreaker.


If the teams split, the second tiebreaker is record against the first place team in the standings (Valparaiso) and if still tied, working your way down the standings in order until a winner can be determined. Only Oakland swept the Crusaders this season with Green Bay going 1-1. Wright State and Northern Kentucky are both 0-1 so far this season but will each face Valparaiso one more time this week before the regular season ends.


If the season ended today, here is how the tournament bracket would look:





The race for the top two seeds


Head to head records (first tiebreaker):


VALPARAISO (12-3)

vs Oakland (0-2)

vs Green Bay (1-1)

vs Wright State (1-0, final meeting 2/24)


OAKLAND (11-4)

vs Green Bay (0-1, final meeting 2/24)

vs Wright State (1-1)

vs Northern Kentucky (2-0)

vs Valparaiso (2-0)


GREEN BAY (10-5) 

vs Oakland (1-0, final meeting 2/24) 

vs Wright State (1-1) 

vs Northern Kentucky (1-1) 

vs Valparaiso (1-1)


WRIGHT STATE (10-5)

vs Green Bay (1-1)

vs Northern Kentucky (0-1, final meeting tonight)

vs Oakland (1-1)

vs Valparaiso (0-1, final meeting 2/24)


NORTHERN KENTUCKY (9-6) 

vs Green Bay (1-1)

vs Wright State (1-0, final meeting tonight)

vs Oakland (0-2)

vs Valparaiso (0-1, final meeting 2/26)


Here are the five teams remaining schedules:


VALPARAISO (12-3)

2/21 vs Milwaukee

2/24 at Wright State

2/26 at Northern Kentucky


OAKLAND (11-4)

2/21 vs Youngstown State

2/24 at Green Bay (ESPNU)

2/26 at Milwaukee


GREEN BAY (10-5)

2/21 at UIC

2/24 vs Oakland (ESPNU)

2/26 vs Detroit Mercy (American Sports Network)


WRIGHT STATE (10-5)

2/21 at Northern Kentucky

2/24 vs Valparaiso

2/26 vs UIC


NORTHERN KENTUCKY (9-6)

2/21 vs Wright State

2/24 vs UIC

2/26 vs Valparaiso




 

 

 

 

Categories: Horizon League Tournament, Motor City Madness

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