Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The MIAA is a One Bid League Unless…

Hope loses in the MIAA Tournament
This one is obvious. There’s always a chance, that the wheels completely fall off for the Flying Dutchmen and they lose a bunch of games, but the chances of that happening are pretty much zero. Even if Hope somehow drops two games in the regular season (say, at Adrian and at Calvin) AND loses in the MIAA tournament, they would still have a fair-to-good chance at receiving one of the precious 19 Pool C bids for the NCAA Tournament. They’re as close to a lock as you can get with still a month to play.

Knocking off Hope in the conference tournament would be the ‘easiest’ way for the MIAA to get two bids. Not that it’s easy to beat Hope in Holland, but Calvin, Albion, and Trine (and any other non-Adrian candidate for tournament spots) don’t really have any other option. Pool C is off the table for these teams.

Adrian Knocks off Hope Tonight
In the set of Regional Ranking projections that I put out yesterday, Adrian ranked eighth in the Great Lakes Region. The NCAA regional committee will rank six GL teams, so the Bulldogs are (projected to be) outside the rankings at the moment, but a win over the top team in the region would likely catapult them into the 5th-6th spot in time for the first set of regional rankings (due to be released on Wednesday, February 8). It would also likely place them in the middle of the Pool C bubble.

If Adrian was to beat Hope tonight, (and didn’t lose another bad game against Alma), then they would stand a decent chance of getting their name called on selection Monday (or whenever the heck it is this year). Helping out the Bulldogs is a non-conference win over Staten Island, an out-of-region win over a team that is sure to be ranked in the Atlantic region. This wouldn’t help AC in the primary criteria, but it serve as a nice tiebreaker.

A chance for three teams?
I’m not sure how possible this is – it’s too early to project crazy scenarios like this using my numbers – but there could be a chance that Hope, Adrian, and perhaps Calvin (or Albion or Trine) all find themselves in the tournament. But for any chance of this happening, Adrian would have to beat Hope tonight and then go undefeated until the MIAA Tournament (preferably the championship game). Hope would have to be upset in the first round (by the fourth seed, I guess) who would go on to beat Adrian in the Championship Game.

This could create a logjam whereby Adrian or Hope push the other out (Hope should have the advantage here), but it’s entirely possible that Adrian and Hope would have put together resumes that are good enough to both get selected. It’s a huge long shot, and everything would have to play out just perfectly, but it might not be off the table at the moment.

In any case, tonight is a monster game for the Adrian Bulldogs. They probably can’t grab a share of the league title without a win, and they probably can’t be considered for Pool C without a win.

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