BIG TEN TOURNAMENT TIEBREAKERS STILL FAVOR IOWA

Things are all knotted up in the Big Ten... which could be good for Iowa. - Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

A first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament is still very much within Iowa's grasp.

Good news, friends, colleagues, and fellow Hawkeye supporters -- the sky is not falling.  (It's just raining Minnesota 3-pointers.  Sorry, too soon.)  No, despite the fact that Iowa lost its second-straight game last night and dropped into a tie for fifth in the Big Ten standings (with Nebrasketball, of all teams), Iowa still has a pretty decent shot at landing the #4 seed -- and a first-round bye -- in the Big Ten Tournament.  Given the frenetic schedule Iowa has to close out the regular season, getting an extra day of rest (and, more importantly, not expending energy in another game) would sure seem beneficial for the Hawks.  After all, if we can't win a Big Ten regular season title, we might as well try to grab the tournament version, right?

Currently, the Big Ten standings look like this:

4) OHIO STATE 9-6
t-5) IOWA 8-6
t-5) NEBRASKA 8-6

Thanks to scheduling irregularities, Iowa and Nebraska each have a game in hand on Ohio State that they'll need to squeeze in before the end of the season on March 9th.  But the most important piece of data right now is that Iowa, Ohio State, and Nebraska are all tied in the loss column; if all three win out (conceivable, since they don't play each other in any of their remaining games) they would the season in a three-way tie at 12-6.

What do the Big Ten Tournament tiebreakers say about multiple team ties?  Per the procedures released in November:

B. Multiple team tie:

1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular-season.

a. When comparing records against the tied teams, the team with the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1, but 2-0 is not better than 1-0).

b. After the top team among the tied teams is determined, the second team is ranked by its record among the original tied teams, not the head-to-head record vs. the remaining team(s).

2. If the remaining teams are still tied, then each tied team's record shall be compared to the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings, continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

a. When arriving at another pair of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to their own tie-breaking procedures), rather than the performance against the individual tied teams.

b. When comparing records against a single team or group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1, but 2-0 is not better than 1-0).

3. Won-loss percentage of Division I opponents.

4. Coin toss conducted by Commissioner or designee.

A coin flip!  Fortunately, we don't have to worry about things reaching that point.  The first thing that gets look at is head-to-head competition during the regular season among the tied teams.  That favors Iowa.

IOWA: 2-1 (W Nebraska, W @OSU, L OSU)
OHIO STATE: 2-2 (W Nebraska, L IA, L @NEB, W @IA)
NEBRASKA: 1-2 (L @IA, L @OSU, W OSU)

Huzzah!  So if Iowa wins out -- and Ohio State and Nebraska do the same -- then Iowa will win the three-team tiebreaker and take the #4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.  Of course, not many folks actually expect Iowa to win out -- there's the pesky matter of that game against Michigan State in East Lansing that looks particularly daunting.  If Iowa loses that game, then they'll need Ohio State and Nebraska to drop a game as well.  That's conceivable, given their remaining schedules.

OHIO STATE: @PSU, @IND, MSU
NEBRASKA: @ILL, jNW, @IND, WIS

As you can see, Indiana is really in a position to do us a solid after their game with us tomorrow night.  It sure would be swell if they could manage to trip up either Ohio State or Nebraska (or both!) in their remaining home games this year.  Ohio State and Nebraska also end the year with difficult home games -- Sparty for the Buckeyes and the Badgers for the Huskers.  It would be nice if Iowa didn't need to rely on a loss by one (or both) of OSU and Nebraska on that final day of the season, though.

But what if it's not a three-team tie -- what if it's just a two-team tie for the #4 seed?

A. Two-team tie:

1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular-season.

2. Each team's record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings (or in the case of a tie for the championship, the next highest position in the regular-season standings), continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

a. When arriving at another pair of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to their own tie-breaking procedures), rather than the performance against the individual tied teams.

b. When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1, but 2-0 is not better than 1-0).

3. Won-loss percentage of all Division I opponents.

4. Coin toss conducted by the Commissioner or designee.

Iowa is still in a very advantageous position, whether they tie with Ohio State or Nebraska here.

If Iowa ties with Ohio State...

The first tiebreaker -- results of head-to-head competition during the regular season -- doesn't get us anywhere.  Iowa and Ohio State split their two h2h meetings this year.  The second tiebreaker looks at each team's record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the regular-season standings.  Right now that looks like Michigan, which is good for Iowa.

Iowa vs. Michigan: 1-1
Ohio St vs. Michigan: 0-1

Things get messier if there's a tie for the championship, so at this point we're probably best off rooting for Michigan to win the league title outright.

If Iowa ties with Nebraska...

The first tiebreaker -- h2h results -- settles things.  Iowa beat Nebrsaka in their one and only meeting this year.

* * *

As you can see, despite the loss to Minnesota last night, Iowa is still in pretty solid position to claim the #4 seed and that first-round bye.  In fact, they actually control their own destiny to do so -- if they win out, they should finish no lower than the #4 seed (catching Wisconsin for the #3 seed looks tricky, given that the Badgers are a game up on Iowa in the loss column and win the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Hawkeyes).  Of course, if Iowa doesn't win out they'll no longer control their own destiny and things will get murkier... but they'll still be in decent shape to get the #4 seed, assuming they get a bit of help from the teams playing Ohio State and Nebraska.

Nebraska visits Illinois tonight (8 PM CT, BTN) and Ohio State visits Penn State tomorrow night (6 PM CT, ESPN2); if you're looking for a rooting interest in those games, cheer on the Illini and the Nittany Lions.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Black Heart Gold Pants

You must be a member of Black Heart Gold Pants to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Black Heart Gold Pants. You should read them.

Join Black Heart Gold Pants

You must be a member of Black Heart Gold Pants to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Black Heart Gold Pants. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker