Monday, February 16, 2015

2014-2015 State of Eagles Hoops: Eagles close in on eliminating all contenders

Last Thursday, the Eagles took over control of first place in the Big Sky Conference in an effort to secure the right to host the Big Sky Conference tournament.


EWU Men's Basketball Battle for the Number One Spot from EWU Athletics on Vimeo.

After a roller coaster Saturday Eastern has a 1/2 game lead over Sacramento State and Montana with 6 games to go, Both Montana and Sac State have just 5 games left.  So how many games does Eastern have to win, in order to secure a tournament berth and lock up the right to host the tournament?  Click through to see:


The simple answer is 6.  Eastern Washington must win all of it's remaining games to guarantee the Big Sky Tournament will be held in Cheney this season.  It is also extremely unlikely that 8 of the other teams will overtake Eastern since they have tie breakers over all teams except SUU, NAU, Portland St and Sac St.  That's just too easy and too simple for a blog post, so let's take it farther and consider it team by team.  How many games must the Eagles win to eliminate the possibility that any of the other teams can overtake them for the right to host the conference tournament.

First, the parameters:
  1. In order to host the tournament a team must win more conference games than any other team in the conference.  Each team plays 18 conference games this season.
  2. Tie Breakers: I (a). Head to Head  I (b). Group head to head if more than two teams are tied I (c). Each time a team is eliminated start over with remaining teams.
  3. Performance against Conference teams in descending order of finish (basically how did the two teams fair against the 1st place team, then 2nd place etc until one is eliminated).
  4. Official RPI rankings 
  5. Finally it comes down to a coin flip.  
Now that we've done the boring stuff I will list each team in reverse order of current conference standing and provide all current information relative to the tie breaking procedures and how many games Eastern must win to eliminate that team's possibility of over taking the Eagles in the conference standings.  The Magic number is the number of combined Eastern wins and the other teams losses that will result in Eastern eliminating the chance of that team overtaking the Eagles.


Montana State 
The Bobcats are currently 3-10 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-1 against EWU with one game left against the Eagles.  The Bobcats current RPI is 320.  The Bobcats cannot catch the Eagles this season.  Magic number -1.

Idaho State
The Bengals are currently 3-10 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-1 against EWU with one game left against the Eagles.  The Bengals current RPI is 318.  The Bengals cannot catch the Eagles this season.  Magic number -1.

North Dakota
North Dakota is currently 4-9 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-1 against EWU and will not play them again this season.  UND's current RPI is 299.  If UND wins out and EWU loses out they will end up tied, however Eastern would win the tie breaker based on head to head, so they cannot catch Eastern this season.  Magic number -1.

Southern Utah
The Thunderbirds are currently 4-8 in Big Sky play.  They have not played EWU yet, and have just 1 game against the Eagles this season.  SUU's current RPI is 315.  SUU must win out and Eastern must lose out for the Thunderbirds to over take them.  Magic number 1.

Weber State
The Wildcats are currently 5-8 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-1 against EWU and have one more game to play against them this season.  WSU's current RPI is 272.  The Wildcats must win out and EWU must lose out for them to overtake the Eagles.  Magic number 1

Portland State
The Vikings are currently 6-7 in Big Sky play.  They are 1-1 against the Eagles this season and will not play them again.  PSU's current RPI is 238.  The Vikings can lose only one more time and the Eagles can win no more than one more time for PSU to overtake them.  Magic number 2.

Idaho
The Vandals are currently 6-6 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-2 against the Eagles this season and will not play them again.  UI's current RPI is 228.  The Vandals can lose only one more time and the Eagles can win no more than one more time for them to overtake Eastern.  Magic number 2.

Northern Colorado
The Bears are currently 7-6 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-1 against the Eagles this season and will not play them again.  UNC's current RPI is 263.  The Bears can lose only one more game and the Eagles can win no more than one more game for the Bears to overtake them.  Magic number 2.

Northern Arizona
The Lumberjacks are currently 8-4 in Big Sky play.  They have not played the Eagles yet, and have just one game against them this season.  NAU's current RPI is 210.  The Jacks can lose up to 4 more games (provided one is not against EWU) and the Eagles can win no more than 4 more (provided one is not against NAU) for them to overtake Eastern.  In this case, the raw magic number [number of combined losses and wins] (8) exceeds the number of games remaining (6) so: Magic number 6.

Montana
The Griz are are currently 10-3 in Big Sky play.  They are 0-1 against EWU this season with one more game to play.  UM's current RPI is 178.  The Grizzlies can lose up to 5 more games as long as one of them is not against EWU and the Eagles can win up to 5 more as long as one is not against Montana for the Griz to overtake them.  In this case, the raw magic number [number of combined losses and wins] (10) exceeds the number of games remaining (6) so: Magic number 6.

Sacramento State
The Hornets are currently 10-3 in Big Sky play.  They are 1-1 against EWU this season and will not play them again this season.  CSUS current RPI is 149.  The Hornets can lose up to 5 more games this season and Eastern can win no more than 5 more games this season for the Hornets to overtake them.  In this case, the raw magic number [number of combined losses and wins] (10) exceeds the number of games remaining (6) so: Magic number 6.

Eastern Washington
The Eagles are currently 10-2 in Big Sky play.  Their current RPI is 75, so they own that advantage over every other team.  No team except NAU and SUU can possibly gain the head to head advantage over them.  Overall Magic number 6.

I hope that was an enjoyable exercise.  Please let me know in the comments if you think I've miscalculated anything.  I'll update this information and re-post it after each night of Big Sky play until a conference regular season champion is locked in.



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