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Husky Men's Basketball

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March 6, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Figuring the tiebreakers

So with a night to just watch Pac-10 basketball without the Huskies being involved, the obvious question is whether there are some results that will be best for UW in terms of seeding for the conference tournament. In other words, what teams should you root for tonight?
The quick answer is UCLA
But to make it clear why, let’s first offer a refresher on the Pac-10 tiebreakers.
The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. In a two-team tiebreaker, this is obvious. In the result of multiple-team tie, it’s the collective head-to-head of the teams involved.
If there are still ties after that, then it’s on to each team’s record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular standings and then continuing down until one team gains an advantage. (If two teams are, say, tied at the top of the standings, then it’s a team’s collective record against the tied teams).
I can’t imagine it would get past that, but if it does, then it’s won-lost percentage against all D-I opponents, then, finally, a coin toss.
The Huskies are in pretty good shape against just about anybody they would realistically end up tied with due to their win over UCLA — the reason UW fans should root for the Bruins tonight in their showdown with Stanford.
UW has split with Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and Cal, the four teams that surround it in the standings, and the only ones against whom the Huskies can end up tied. And none of those four have beaten UCLA.
At the moment, ASU would have the edge in event of most multiple-team ties due to its sweeps of Cal and Arizona and the chance at sweeping Oregon. However, with the Arizona schools playing at Oregon this weekend, it’s still hard to determine exactly how that will unfold.
But in the event of any two-team tie with Arizona, ASU, Oregon or Cal, the Huskies would have the edge due to the win over UCLA (assuming the Bruins stay in first place). If Stanford were to win the Pac-10, then ASU and Oregon would have edges on the others due to their wins over the Cardinal. Arizona didn’t beat either UCLA or Stanford this year so it’s the odd man out in any two-team tiebreaker with any of the other three.
Finishing with the No. 7 seed could greatly help UW. The first round of the Pac-10 tournament matches the No. 7 seed against No. 10, assured of being Oregon State. The winner then faces the No. 2 seed, which right now would be Stanford.
The other first-round game pits the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds with the winner getting the No. 1 seed in the second round, which right now would be UCLA. At the moment, that’s where UW would stand, facing a first-round game against Cal and then having to face UCLA in the second round.
A UW win Saturday at WSU would obviously greatly help the chances of the Huskies finishing with the No. 7 seed — Oregon and Arizona enter the weekend with just seven wins each, as well, and since they play each other, at least one of them can do no better than getting to eight. If UW beats WSU, then it is assured of at least tying Oregon or Arizona and either tying or finishing ahead of Cal. As mentioned earlier, UW would win a two-team tie against any of those three (though a multi-team tie with Oregon and Cal would go to the Ducks thanks to Oregon’s sweep of the Bears. Can’t tell yet on a tie with UW, Arizona and Oregon since Arizona and Oregon play one more time).
One possible complication for UW is if it beats WSU and moves into the No. 6 slot. That could mean two things — getting a bye into the second round, meaning not getting a chance at a first-round game which might be an easier way to get at least one win in the tournament; and also likely having to face the Cougars again in the second round of the tournament.
So basically, root for UCLA tonight and worry about the rest of it later.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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