Let’s begin with what’s changed from last week. Austin Peay is mathematically eliminated from OVC Tournament contention…and their loss makes the Redhawks are a lock as a result. But for the most part, last week didn’t really solve much of anything. Obviously, that will change this week, with the clock running out on a few of the teams
So it’s now four teams for two spots:
SIU Edwardsville (5-9)
Win: Tennessee Tech
Lose: UT Martin
Goes to 2nd Tiebreaker: Austin Peay, SEMO
TBD: Eastern Illinois (SIUE leads 1-0)
at Belmont (11-2)
at Eastern Illinois (5-9)
Assuming a loss tonight at Belmont, the game Saturday against Eastern Illinois could be for the final spot. It’s all dependent on UT Martin. They play Murray on Thursday, a likely loss, but end the season at Austin Peay. If the Skyhawks lose out, SIUE is in. As a note, SIUE plays Eastern Illinois earlier on Saturday. So there could be a very nervous bus ride home back with a loss.
A three-way tie at five wins involving UT Martin is bad news, as the Cougars certainly lose. In a scenario where AP and TTU are involved, SIUE gets in.
There’s also a four-way tie scenario at five wins. Not likely, but possible. SIUE loses that as well to UT Martin.
Eastern Illinois (5-10)
Win: UT Martin
Lose: Tennessee Tech
Goes To 2nd TB: Austin Peay, SEMO
TBD: SIUE (EIU trails 1-0)
vs SIU Edwardsville (5-9)
This hasn’t changed from last week at all: A loss to SIUE complicates things for the Panthers, but their tiebreaker over UT Martin means the Skyhawks would need two wins down the stretch.
The problem could actually be Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles picked up one win this week, and another puts them in a tie with the Panthers, which TTU would win. Tech has Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky left on their schedule, but an upset would throw a major wrench to Eastern Illinois plans.
In a three-way tie with UT Martin and Tennessee Tech, EIU wins thanks to their win over Murray State. If it’s UTM and AP, same thing. The one scenario that’s bad news if it’s, somehow, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech in a three-way tie at 5-wins.
That wacky four-way tie scenario at 5-wins? That goes to EIU.
UT Martin (4-10)
Lose: EIU, SEMO, TTU
TBD: Austin Peay (UTM trails 1-0)
at Murray State (9-4)
at Austin Peay (3-10)
The Skyhawks loss to Tennessee Tech isn’t helping their cause. If the Skyhawks win out, they’re in. But that involves winning at Murray for the first time ever.
UTM needs to beat Austin Peay, and for EIU to top SIUE. They also need TTU to lose one of their final two.
A three-way tie at five wins is good, if SIUE is involved. If it’s EIU, it’s disaster.
It’s worth noting at this point that any scenario that has Austin Peay getting to five-wins involves the Governors beating the Skyhawks. And for UTM to still get to five win, they have to win at Murray. In any tiebreaker scenario involving Austin Peay, the Skyhawks lose.
Tennessee Tech (4-10)
Win: EIU, Austin Peay, UTM
Lose: SIUE, SEMO
vs Eastern Kentucky (10-3)
vs Morehead State (7-6)
Tennessee Tech gave themselves some breathing room with a win over UT Martin. But they can get in with one win, and some help, namely from SIU Edwardsville beating EIU, and UT Martin taking another loss.
TTU is in a bad spot in a three-way tie. The first tiebreaker is total wins against the teams tied against. Since all the teams involved are from the West, they have two chances to get wins against each other, versus just one for the Golden Eagles. The other issue is their record against the top overall seed, likely Belmont. TTU will be 0-2, which is worse than the 0-1 from teams in the West. Same goes for that four-way tie scenario.
Wacky 6-win scenarios
I’ve discussed what happened for multiple ties at five wins, but what about at 6? It’s possible that every team on the list gets to six wins, and SEMO could be there as well. Not likely, but it’s possible. So what happens then?
Before it even becomes an issue, four teams must get to six wins before it’s a concern. So again, it’s unlikely. But, being it’s a possibility, it must be explored right?
Well, not today. If SIUE loses tonight, only them or EIU can get to six wins, not both. And a loss tomorrow by TTU or UTM puts them out of the running. So I’ll leave it alone until we have a clearer picture of if it’s even possible.
Much like the ties from earlier, TTU would be at a huge disadvantage, as the number of wins against tied teams is the first tiebreaker, and TTU had one fewer chance to play the West Division.
SEMO could also get to seven wins, meaning a three-way tie at six wins would have two playoff spots up for grabs. Still, given the nature of the remaining games, it would take quite a few upsets for this to be an issue.
So something to keep in the back of your mind if there are quite a few major upsets in the next few days.