The Mid-American Conference Women's Basketball Tournament begins in just three days. The regular season concludes tomorrow with a full slate of six games. At the present time, only one of the 12 tournament seeds has been locked up. The other 11 won't be determined until late on Saturday afternoon -- and the top two may require something extra.
Here are all the scenarios, laid out by seed:
#1 and #2
Of all the seeds that have yet to be determined, this is the simplest to explain. If Bowling Green and Central Michigan both win, they will each finish 17-1 in the MAC. Because their only losses would be against each other, none of the tiebreakers would break the deadlock. This would require a coin flip, and the winner would get the #1 seed while the loser would get the #2.
If both teams lose and finish tied at 16-2, no coin flip would be required. CMU would win the tiebreaker and be the #1 seed because they would be 1-0 vs Akron, while BGSU would be 1-1. BGSU would end up as the #2 seed.
If one team wins and the other loses on Saturday, then the winner would be the #1 seed and the loser would be the #2.
Remember, the #1 seed is very important, as that team would not have to potentially face Akron in the tournament semifinals. The #2 seed would get that honor.
This one is the easiest to explain of them all. Akron has clinched the #3 seed and will play in the third round of the MAC tournament on Thursday, March 13th.
This one is pretty easy to figure out, too. Buffalo is the #4 seed if they beat Kent State OR if Toledo loses to Ball State. Toledo is the #4 seed if they beat Ball State AND Buffalo loses to Kent State. Even if both teams lose, neither Ball State or Western Michigan can move into this spot. Ball State lost head-to-head against Buffalo, and WMU dropped both their games against Ball State.
Whomever earns this spot will get a bye directly to the third round of the conference tournament on Thursday, March 13th.
If Ball State beats Toledo, this is very easy -- the Cardinals would be the #5 seed.
If Ball State loses to Toledo, then this seed could go to three different teams. Toledo would be the #5 seed if they beat Ball State and Buffalo beats Kent State. Buffalo would be the #5 seed if they lose to Kent State, Toledo beats Ball State, and Northern Illinois beats Western Michigan. Western Michigan would be the #5 seed if they beat Northern Illinois and both Kent State and Toledo win their games.
Notice how things get more complicated as we get further down the seed chart?
Western Michigan will be the #6 seed if they win and either Buffalo or Ball State win their games. If Western Michigan loses to Northern Illinois, then the loser of the Toledo-Ball State game will be the #6 seed. Finally, Buffalo will be the #6 seed if they lose to Kent State and both Toledo and Northern Illinois win.
This one's not too difficult, either. Western Michigan is the #7 seed if they lose to Northern Illinois, regardless of what happens in other games. If WMU wins, then the #7 seed goes to the loser of the Ball State-Toledo game.
#8 and #9
The 8th seed and the final home game in the 1st round of the tournament will go to Eastern Michigan if the Eagles beat Central Michigan on Saturday. Even if the Eagles lose, they still get the #8 seed if Northern Illinois loses to Western Michigan.
If EMU loses and NIU wins, then the 8th seed will come down to who is ranked higher: Ball State or Toledo. If Ball State finishes ahead of Toledo, then EMU would get the #8 seed because they were 1-1 vs the Cardinals while NIU was 0-2. If Toledo finishes ahead of Ball State, then NIU would get the #8 seed because they were 1-1 vs the Rockets while EMU was 0-2.
So, the only way NIU can be the #8 seed is if they beat WMU, EMU loses to CMU, and Toledo finishes with a higher seed than Ball State. If this happens, the Eagles will be the #9 seed. In all other scenarios, EMU is #8 and NIU is #9.
Regardless, the Eagles and Huskies will face each other on Monday night. The only thing we need to know is where the game will be.
Ohio, Miami and Kent State are all in contention for these final three seeds. Amazingly enough, the Golden Flashes, who started the MAC season 0-8, are perhaps in best position to claim the #10 seed.
If Kent State manages to beat Buffalo on Saturday, they will be the #10 seed. They win a two-way tie with Ohio based on their 1-0 record against Western Michigan, as well as their win over Ball State.
If Kent State loses to Buffalo, then they have no chance at the #10 seed. In this scenario, the #10 seed would go to the winner of the Ohio versus Miami game.
The Flashes will be the #11 seed if they lose to Buffalo and Ohio beats Miami. If Ohio beats Miami and Kent State beats Buffalo, then the Bobcats will be the #11 seed. Miami will occupy this spot if they beat Ohio and Kent State beats Buffalo.
If Miami wins and Kent State loses, there would be a 3-way tie at 4-14. Each team is 1-1 versus one another, so the tiebreaker would move to record versus "ranked" teams. Miami would win the three-way tie based on their win over Akron. Ohio would then claim the #11 seed over Kent State based on the Bobcats' win over Buffalo.
Miami would be own the #12 seed if they lose to Ohio, as they would have a 3-15 conference record and sole possession of last place. If Miami beats Ohio, then the #12 seed would be determined by the Kent State-Buffalo winner.
If Miami and Kent State both win, then Ohio is the #12 seed. If Miami wins and Kent State loses, then the Flashes would be the #12 seed.
There you are. Our apologies if this gives you a headache. Once all the games are played on Saturday, we'll post the complete tournament bracket on Saturday evening. We'll follow that on Sunday with our final power rankings of the regular season and a post predicting the outcome of the entire tournament.
#MACMadness is finally here!