Creighton fans know Sign Guy. He’s entertained Bluejays fans at the Civic and Qwest Center with his timely, witty, and sometimes downright disturbing poster boards held high in the middle of Section 122. Sign Guy also happens to be a math wiz, and he puts those talents to good use with his Valley Predictor model.
- Creighton should compete for and win the MVC regular season title with more frequency than once every 8 years, and I want to know what has to happen to achieve that goal, and
- Because of the dynamics of college basketball, the allotment of NCAA Tournament bids, and the quality of basketball displayed in the Valley, there are few conferences in America where every game matters as much as the Valley, whether it be the effect on post-season implications, seeding for Arch Madness, or national perception.
If I was patient or less of a numbers person, I could just wait for Rob Anderson or the MVC office to communicate what the various post-season scenarios are prior to the last weekend of games. But I’m not, so here it is.
- The tables below list the 10 Valley schools in order of their predicted finish according to the official Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Media Poll.
- Below is the abridged look at the 2010 MVC Forecast, with a glance at the current standings and what projections show the final three games will look like.
- A game shaded green is a forecasted Win, whereas a game shaded gray is a forecasted Loss.
As noted below, various scenarios should be looked at in a vacuum as there can be numerous moving parts. As you can see below, with just 5 games remaining, there are still many possibilities, and every game matters. Some of the tie-breaker scenarios have razor-thin margins!
Note: The scenarios below agree to the distribution from the MVC office.
Of extreme importance to Creighton Bluejays fans: it is easiest for the Bluejays just to win on Saturday. Losing at home to Bradley would bring forth all sorts of statistical confusion and reliance on other teams to win/lose for Creighton to receive the best possible seed. See below for the crazy possibilities!
- Teams that are locked into seedings:
- Northern Iowa = #1-seed
- Southern Illinois = #9-seed
- Evansville = #10-seed
With 5 games remaining, nobody cares about this guy’s forecast, you just want to know what happens if certain teams win. As there are still 32 possibilities of winner combinations for Saturday, let’s address the 5 remaining games in an order of somewhat importance (from least meaningful to most meaningful):
Game #1: Southern Illinois @ Wichita State (noon CST)
What’s at stake: a chance for Gregg to have an aneurysm. Wichita State is currently tied with ISUred for the #2-seed. A Shocker win puts the pressure on ISUred to win Saturday night to remain tied. Obviously a Wichita State win + ISUred loss would give Wichita State the #2-seed. But, this is where it gets interesting: if both Wichita State & ISUred win on Saturday and end at 12-6, ISUred wins the tie-breaker on power points and gets the #2-seed, with Wichita State the #3-seed. However, if both Wichita State & ISUred lose on Saturday and finish tied at 11-7, then Wichita State wins the tie-breaker on power points and gets the #2-seed, with ISUred getting the #3-seed. A Southern Illinois win + a Drake loss and the Salukis and Bulldogs finish T-8th, which is important for power point purposes.
Game #2: Evansville @ Drake (4:05pm CST)
What’s at stake: A Drake loss + a Southern Illinois win and the Bulldogs are T-8th. A Drake win and the Bulldogs are T-7th with the loser of the Missouri State @ ISUblue game. See below in Game #4. It’s also worth noting that Drake would lose the tie-breaker for 7th versus ISUblue as the Sycamores swept the Bulldogs during the regular season, but Drake could win the #7-seed over Missouri State based on the power points system if Wichita State finishes solo 2nd and Creighton beats Bradley. Any other scenario for Drake, and they would get the #8-seed.
Game #3: ISUred @ Northern Iowa (7:05pm CST)
What’s at stake: an ISUred win and the Redbirds steal the #2-seed, which is incredible considering these guys were once 5-5 in conference play. An ISUred loss and the Redbirds are the #3-seed.
Game #4: Bradley @ Creighton (2:05pm CST)
What’s at stake: the winner of this game snags the #4-seed. If Creighton wins, then Bradley finishes T-5th with the winner of the Missouri State @ ISUblue contest. But, Bradley wins the tie-breaker on power points over both Missouri State and ISUblue, so Bradley gets the #5-seed, and would get to play Creighton again. If Bradley wins, things get a little more complicated for Creighton, who would finish T-5th with the winner of the Missouri State @ ISUblue contest.
- Creighton vs. ISUblue tie-breaker:
- Unique Creighton wins: (@ Bradley, @ Southern Illinois, vs. Wichita State)
- Unique ISUblue wins: (vs. Bradley, @ Drake, vs. ISUred)
Creighton gets a 1-pt power point advantage over ISUblue for a road win over Bradley vs. a home win over Bradley. If Wichita State and ISUred finish with the same record, those wins cancel out. If Drake beats Evansville or Southern Illinois loses @ Wichita State, then ISUblue’s win @ Drake is worth more power points than Creighton’s win @ Southern Illinois. If Drake loses and Southern Illinois wins, then the respective wins over Drake & Southern Illinois cancel out, and Creighton wins the tie-breaker by 1 point based on the Bradley road victory.
If ISUred finishes solo 2nd, ISUblue wins the tie-breaker.
However, if Wichita State finishes solo 2nd place, then Creighton’s win vs. Wichita State is worth 2 points more than the Sycs’ win over the Redbirds. This is where it gets incredibly bizarre: Combine these 2 points with the additional 1 point differential in the Bradley wins, and Creighton & ISUblue would be tied in power points if Drake wins and Southern Illinois loses. As mentioned in previous entries, the MVC abandoned the always-equal coin flip in favor RPI rankings as the last tie-breaker. Per Warren Nolan this morning, ISUblue’s RPI is 88 while Creighton’s is 112. That order will not change as Missouri State’s RPI is 80, while Bradley’s is 105.
So, the way I see it, Drake needs to lose at home to Evansville for Creighton to beat ISUblue in the tie-breaker.
- Creighton vs. Missouri State tie-breaker:
- Unique Creighton wins: (@ Bradley, @ Southern Illinois, vs. Wichita State)
- Unique Missouri State wins: (vs. Bradley, vs. ISUred, @ ISUblue)
Creighton gets a 1-pt power point advantage over Missouri State for a road win over Bradley vs. a home win over Bradley. If Wichita State & ISUred finish with the same record, those wins cancel out. There is no scenario in which Missouri State’s win @ ISUblue outweighs Creighton’s win @ Southern Illinois by less than 2 points, so Missouri State would win the tie-breaker.
If ISUred finished solo 2nd, Missouri State wins the tie-breaker.
However, if Wichita State finishes solo 2nd place, then Creighton’s win vs. Wichita State is worth 2 points more than the Sycs’ win over the Redbirds. This is where it gets incredibly bizarre again: Combine these 2 points with the additional 1 point differential in the Bradley wins, and Creighton and Missouri State would be tied in power points if Drake wins (regardless of Southern Illinois’s game). As mentioned above, the MVC abandoned the always-equal coin flip in favor RPI rankings as the last tie-breaker. Per Warren Nolan this morning, Missouri State’s RPI is 80 while Creighton’s is 112. That order will not change as ISUblue’s RPI is 88, while Bradley’s is 105.
But, if Wichita State finishes solo 2nd AND Drake loses to finish solo 8th or T-8th with Southern Illinois, Creighton will win the tie-breaker based on power points.
Game #5: Missouri State @ ISUblue (1:05pm CST)
What’s at stake: winner had inside track to #5-seed, but no worse than #6-seed. Other than that, not much else. See above.
Summary of Possible Seeds for Each MVC Team:
#1-seed: Northern Iowa
#2-seed: Wichita State or ISUred
#3-seed: Wichita State or ISUred
#4-seed: Creighton or Bradley
#5-seed: ISUblue or Missouri State or Creighton
#6-seed: Creighton or ISUblue or Missouri State
#7-seed: ISUblue, Missouri State, or Drake
#8-seed: Drake or Missouri State
#9-seed: Southern Illinois