By Nick Veronica | @NickVeroinca
With only tonight’s contest against Rider (9 p.m., ESPNU) and Sunday’s showdown with Manhattan (4:30, ESPN3) remaining in the regular season, Canisius appears to be in a logjam near the top of the conference standings.
The MAAC’s tiebreaking procedures can be complicated, but after sifting through each scenario, Canisius’ outlook actually winds up being fairly straightforward.
The Griffs can still pass Quinnipiac and finish second in the conference if they wins both games this weekend and get help from Marist, but what really ends up mattering the most is Sunday’s game at Manhattan.
If the Griffs lose Sunday, they will finish fourth. That means opening against the fifth-seeded team in the MAAC Tournament.
A win Sunday gets Canisius no less than third place, a seed that sets them up with a play-in game opponent in the quarterfinals.
Here’s a flowchart to break it down.
(Remaining games: Canisius: at Rider Friday, at Manhattan Sunday. Manhattan: vs. Iona Friday, vs. Canisius Sunday. Quinnipiac: at Marist Sunday.)
The rationale is complicated, but the results are simple. I’ll explain.
Iona clinched first place after Quinnipiac lost to Siena Thursday night (and will represent the MAAC in the NIT if it does not advance to the NCAA tournament). A number of things can still happen between Quinnipiac, Manhattan and Canisius in seeds 2 through 4.
If all three teams tie for second
If three or more teams are tied, the MAAC rules say you treat them like a miniature conference and compare their records in games against the other two teams involved.
- Quinnipiac is 1-1 against Canisius and 2-0 against Manhattan, making them 3-1 in the mini conference.
- Canisius is 1-1 against Quinnipiac and 0-1 against Manhattan (with another game Sunday), making them 1-2 in the mini conference.
- Manhattan is 1-0 against Canisius and 0-2 against Quinnipiac, making them 1-2 in the mini conference.
Quinnipiac would take second place in this scenario and the winner of the regular-season finale Sunday would take third. However, this scenario can only happen if Quinnipiac loses again Sunday to Marist AND Canisius or Manhattan loses Friday and the other one wins, but then Friday’s loser wins Sunday.
If Canisius and Quinnipiac tie for second or third
If two teams tie, you go to head-to-head games, and then if that doesn’t help, you compare records against the highest-seeded team and make your way down the standings until one team has an advantage. If you get to a group of teams that are tied, you treat them like a mini conference again.
So if both Canisius and QU win out to finish 15-5, they’d tie in second. Or QU loses and Canisius splits with a loss to Manhattan and Manhattan wins out, Canisius and QU will tie in third.
They split the season series, so it goes record against top teams.
- Canisius split with No. 1 Iona.
- Quinnipiac split with No. 1 Iona.
The next highest team would be Manhattan in either scenario.
- Quinnipac swept Manhattan.
- Canisius already has one loss to Manhattan.
So if Canisius and QU tie, Quinnipac has the advantage.
If Canisius and Manhattan tie for third
These two can’t finish in a two-way tie for second, but if Quinnipiac wins Sunday and these two split their games this weekend, they’ll tie for third at 14-6. There are two ways to get here.
If Canisius beats Rider but loses to Manhattan AND Manhattan loses to Iona but beats Canisius, they’ll tie at 14-6 but Manhattan will have swept the season series to take third.
If Canisius loses to Rider but beats Manhattan AND Manhattan beats Iona but loses to Canisius, they’ll tie at 14-6 and split the season series and have to go to records against the top teams.
- Canisius split with No. 1 Iona.
- Manhattan is 0-1 against Iona and would win Friday in this scenario, giving them a split.
- Canisius split with No. 2 Quinnipiac
- Manhattan was swept by Quinnipiac
So if Canisius and Manhattan tie for third, the winner of Sunday’s matchup wins the third seed.
If Quinnipiac and Manhattan tie for second or third
If Manhattan and Quinnipiac win out, they will tie for second at 15-5. If Canisius loses out, Manhattan splits the weekend and Quinnipiac loses, Manhattan and QU will tie for second at 14-6.
If Canisius wins out, Manhattan splits and Quinnipiac loses, Canisius will be second and Manhattan and QU will tie for third.
Just know that in any of these scenarios, Quinnipiac has the tiebreaker on Manhattan because the Bobcats swept the season series.
What about the fifth seed?
Siena clinches it with a win because it owns the tiebreaker with Rider. But if Siena loses to Monmouth and Rider wins out, Rider gets fifth. If Siena loses, Rider splits and Marist wins out, it would go to a mini conference.
- Siena was 1-1 against Marist and 2-0 vs. Rider, so 3-1 total.
- Marist was 1-1 against Siena and Rider, so 2-2 total.
- Rider was 1-1 against Marist and 0-2 vs. Siena, so 1-3 total.
Siena wins here. However, if Siena loses, Marist wins out and Rider loses out, Siena and Marist tie at 10-10, and since they split the head-to-head it would have to go to record vs. top teams, which could go several different ways, as shown above.
- Siena is 0-2 vs. Iona and Canisius and split with Manhattan and Quinnipiac.
- Marist is 0-2 vs. Iona and Manhattan, 1-1 against Canisius and 0-1 against Quinnipiac but would win Sunday in this scenario.
So Marist would get the fifth seed here if Canisius finishes ahead of Manhattan and Siena gets it if Manhattan finishes ahead of Canisius … assuming the standings weren’t tied, because then tied teams would be treated as mini conferences again.
That just about covers every possible scenario for this weekend outside of the play-in teams. If you have a question or think I screwed something up (entirely possible), leave a comment and tweet at me.Follow @nickveronica