MAC tournament men’s basketball scenarios
The subtitle to this post is: Don’t read any of this; go directly to the postscript.
Let’s start with the current standings.
1. Akron (14-1)
2. Ohio (13-2)
3. Western Michigan (9-6)
3. Toledo (9-6)
5. Kent State (8-7)
6. Buffalo (7-8)
6. Ball State (7-8)
6. EMU (7-8)
9. Bowling Green (6-9)
10. Central Michigan (4-11)
11. Miami (3-12)
11. Northern Illinois (3-12)
Now let’s look at what that means in terms of the playoff picture, with one game remaining. Remember, Toledo isn’t eligible.
3. Western Michigan
4. Kent State
Those four are locked in to their spots. Meanwhile Buffalo, Ball State, EMU, and Bowling Green are locked in for the 5-8 spots, and Central Michigan, Miami, and Northern Illinois for the 9-11 spots, but within each of those two groups the tiebreaker scenarios get pretty hairy. We’ll consider only EMU’s possibilities, and it gets a little simpler when you remember that Buffalo will play at Bowling Green tomorrow night (so when I say “Buffalo wins”, that also means “Bowling Green loses”, and vice versa).
If EMU wins and Buffalo and Ball State both lose, EMU will get the 5 seed. If EMU wins and Buffalo wins, EMU will get the 5 seed. If EMU wins, Ball State wins, and Buffalo loses, EMU will get the 6 seed.
If EMU loses and Buffalo wins, EMU will get the 7 seed. If EMU loses and Buffalo and Ball State both lose, EMU will get the 6 seed. If EMU loses and Ball State wins, EMU will get the 7 seed.
Since Toledo is ineligible, there are only 11 teams, meaning that the 5 seed will get a first round bye. The 6 seed will host the 11 seed, and the 7 seed will host the 10 seed, both Monday, March 11.
For the lower seeds, Northern Illinois wins a tiebreaker with Miami or with Central Michigan. Miami wins a tiebreaker with Central Michigan. In a three-way tie, Northern Illinois comes out first, Miami second, and Central Michigan last.
So there’s the tournament picture. I think. I hope that clears things up!
Postscript: Rather than try to muddle through all those scenarios and the resultant possible matchups, I highly encourage you to wait until Saturday; by the time you sit down to dinner you’ll have the entire bracket without dealing with the headache of trying to puzzle out tiebreakers!