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SoCon Tiebreaker Scenarios Heading Into The Final Weekend

The Southern Conference has divided into four tiers. It's very unlikely that any team can catch Chattanooga, but the rest of the other three tiers are all tightly contested. Who will finish where?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

So you're saying there's a chance.

Chattanooga's loss to UNCG last Saturday opened the door a crack in the Southern Conference regular season championship race. Technically, ETSU still has a shot. However, if you look at Pomeroy's numbers, the Mocs have just a 2% chance of losing each of their last two games, which is what the Bucs would need to win the conference championship. The Mocs final two games are at home against Samford and at VMI.

Both ETSU would also have to win their last two games. ETSU has a 49% chance to win both of their final two games against Wofford and Furman

All that together means ETSU has about a 1% chance of winning the conference title That means Chattanooga has roughly a 99% chance of winning the regular season title, even after losing their game to UNCG last Saturday.

Now onto the less numbers-driven part of this article. The battle is very interesting for the 2-4 seeds. ETSU, Furman and Wofford all still have a chance. ETSU is in the lead by one game and hosts each Furman and Wofford in their final two home games. Furman and Wofford both also visit red hot Western Carolina. In a two way tie between Furman and ETSU, Furman owns the tiebreaker. In a two way tie between Furman and Wofford, Furman owns the tiebreaker. In a two way tie between ETSU and Wofford, if Wofford beats ETSU it is the Terriers. If Furman beats ETSU, Wofford will also own the tiebreaker against the Bucs. In a three way tie (which is only possible if the Bucs lose to both teams and then Western Carolina beats both Furman and Wofford), then Furman would be the number two seed, Wofford the three seed and ETSU the four seed.

UNCG, Western Carolina and Mercer are all tied at 8-8 for the 5-7 seeds. None can reach the four seed. None can fall to the eight seed. However, each can finish anywhere in between. If Western Carolina wins out, they will get the five seed. However, if the Catamounts lose once, and UNCG beats Mercer (even if they lose to The Citadel), then UNCG would own the tiebreaker and get the five seed. Western Carolina owns the tiebreaker over Mercer. If Mercer beats UNCG on Sunday, the Bears will own the tiebreaker over the Spartans. If the Spartans win, they will own the tiebreaker.

edit: An earlier version of this story stated that Furman still had a chance to win the regular season championship. Upon reviewing again, that is not the case. The story has been edited to reflect that.

Samford has the narrow lead on VMI and The Citadel in the race for the 8-10 seeds. If Samford loses to Chattanooga, and The Citadel beats UNCG and VMI, then the Bulldogs would get the eight seed. If Samford lost and VMI beat Mercer and The Citadel, the Keydets would have the 8 seed. If Samford and VMI wind up tied at 4-14, it depends on if Western Carolina or UNCG finish ahead of each other. If Western Carolina finishes higher, Samford would get the higher seed. If UNCG did, VMI would. If they finish tied at 5-13, then Samford would get the higher seed. If Samford and The Citadel wind up tied, Samford gets the higher seed. If VMI and The Citadel wind up tied, VMI will own the tiebreaker. If the Keydets beat the Bulldogs, it will be head-to-head that settles the tiebreaker. If the Bulldogs win, the way the two teams wind up tied is at 4-14, which would mean that VMI would have beaten Chattanooga, which would give them the edge. If they wind up in a three way tie (which would have to be at 4-14), if The Citadel beat VMI, Samford would have the eight seed, and VMI would have the nine seed and The Citadel the ten seed. If VMI beat The Citadel, the Bulldogs would be the ten seed. The tie between Samford and VMI would be broken the way the 4-14 two way tie between Samford and VMI is broken above.

I believe, when it is all said and done, that the final finish will look like this:

  1. Chattanooga

  2. ETSU

  3. Wofford

  4. Furman

  5. UNCG

  6. Western Carolina

  7. Mercer

  8. Samford

  9. VMI

  10. The Citadel

I am predicting for ETSU to beat both Wofford and Furman, and for one of the Terriers and Paladins to lose in Cullowhee and one to win. I'm picking UNCG to win out, and Mercer to lose to UNCG. I'm picking VMI to win at The Citadel but lose to Chattanooga and Mercer. In the above scenario, that is with Wofford beating Western Carolina and Furman losing. If it goes the opposite way, just switch the two teams. If both were to win in Cullowhee, Furman would get the three seed and Wofford the four, while Western Carolina would fall to the seven seed and Mercer move up to the six seed. If both were to lose in Cullowhee, Western Carolina would get the five seed and UNCG the six seed, while Furman would get the three seed and Wofford the four seed.

Hopefully this has helped everyone understand what their team needs to finish where in the conference race as we head down the stretch. Should be an entertaining final week.