Breaking Down the Pac-12 Tiebreaker Scenarios

Our Colorado Buffaloes have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, don’t worry, there’s plenty of content on that coming in a future piece. But for now, we’re turning our focus onto the Pac-12 Tournament, and the fan base has been discussing at length just where the Buffs might end up seeded.

The truth is, the scenarios are complicated, driven mostly by the fact that there are currently 7 teams between 10-7 and 8-8 in the league, just a 1.5 game separation. More simply, six of these teams are still capable of finishing 10-8 in Pac-12 play, which would create quite the complex tie-breaker scenario.

To start off the festivities, here are the official tie-breaker rules of the Pac-12 conference, and I’ll follow by telling you what they mean.

1. Two-team tie
a. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular season.
b. Each team’s record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the ␣nal regular standings, and then continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.
When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group’s own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.
c. Won-lost percentage against all Division I opponents. d. Coin toss conducted by the Commissioner or designee.

2. Multiple-team tie

a. Results of collective head-to-head competition during the regular season among the tied teams.
b. If more than two teams are still tied, each of the tied team’s record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings, and then continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

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

If at any point the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied.

c. Won-lost percentage against all Division I opponents.
d. Coin toss conducted by the Commissioner or designee.

To try and simplify, in the event of a multi-team tie (i.e. 4 teams tied at 10-8) the order is determined by their records against each other. So if Team A is 3-1, Team B is 2-3, Team C is 2-2, and Team D is 1-4…the order will become Team A, Team C, Team B, followed by Team D.

Currently, Colorado sits in a 3rd place tie with Arizona State at 10-7, and as of this moment, the various scenarios can place the Buffs anywhere from 3rd to 7th.

Oregon State, USC, and Washington St have all accumulated too many losses, and the loser of the Utah/Stanford game this weekend will also finish at 9-9, behind the Buffs. There is also no remaining scenario that seeds Oregon ahead of Colorado.  Arizona and UCLA can not finish behind the Buffs in any scenario.

Let’s run down the scenarios, shall we?

Scenario 1: 

Colorado can earn the 3rd seed with a win @ Cal this weekend, coupled by an Arizona St loss @ Oregon St. This is the lone scenario in which Colorado can obtain the 3rd seed.

Scenario 2:

Colorado would earn the 4th seed with a win @ Cal, they are the only team outside of Arizona, UCLA, and ASU capable of getting to 11 wins in league play.

There is no scenario in which Colorado wins @ Cal that they DON’T earn a 1st round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Scenario 3:

- The “smallest” possible tie-breaker at 10-8 would include Colorado, Cal, and the winner of Stanford/Utah. This would require Oregon to lose to Arizona, ASU to win @ OSU, and Washington to lose a game as well. Colorado, of course, would need to fall to Cal in this scenario as well.

If Stanford wins…

  • 4. Cal: 10-8 (2-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Colorado: 10-8 (1-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Stanford: 10-8 (1-2 vs. tied opponents)

If Utah wins…

  • 4. Utah: 10-8 (2-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Cal: 10-8 (1-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Colorado: 10-8 (1-2 vs. tied opponents)

Scenario 4:

Add ASU into “Scenario 3″ w/ the loss @ OSU.  That would create a 4 way tie between Cal, Colorado, ASU, and the winner of Utah/Stanford.

If Stanford wins…

  • 3. ASU: 10-8 (4-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 4. Colorado: 10-8 (2-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Cal: 10-8 (2-3 vs. tied opponents, W vs. AZ breaks H2H tiebreaker w/ Stanford)
  • 6. Stanford: 10-8 (2-3 vs. tied opponents)

If Utah wins…

  • 3. ASU: 10-8: 4-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 4. Utah: 10-8 (3-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Colorado: 10-8 (2-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Cal: 10-8 (1-3 vs. tied opponents)

Scenario 5:

Now what happens if Washington wins both down the stretch, to join the fray at 10-8? Using “Scenario 4″ and adding Washington…

If Stanford wins…

  • 3. ASU: 10-8 (4-3 vs. tied opponents, 2-0 H2H w/ Cal)
  • 4. Cal: 10-8 (4-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Colorado: 10-8 (3-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Wash: 10-8 (3-4 vs. tied opponents, W vs. UCLA breaks H2H tiebreaker w/ Stan)
  • 7. Stanford: 10-8 (3-4 vs. tied opponents)

If Utah wins…

  • 3. ASU: 10-8 (4-3 vs. tied opponents, W vs. Arizona breaks H2H tiebreaker w/ Utah)
  • 4. Utah: 10-8 (4-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. California: 10-8 (3-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Wash: 10-8 (3-4 vs. tied opponents, W vs. UCLA breaks H2H tiebreaker w/ CU)
  • 7. Colorado: 10-8 (3-4 vs. tied opponents)

Scenario 6:

Now let’s include Oregon into the scenario, and exclude ASU, assuming they both win their final games this week.  Throw Oregon into “Scenario 3″ instead of ASU. That would create a 4 way tie between Colorado, Cal, Oregon, and the winner of the Stanford/Utah game.

If Stanford wins…

  • 4. California: 10-8 (3-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Colorado: 10-8 (2-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Stanford: 10-8 (2-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 7. Oregon: 10-8: (0-3 vs. tied opponents)

If Utah wins…

  • 4. California: 10-8 (2-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Utah: 10-8 (2-2 vs. tied opponents, W vs. UCLA breaks H2H tiebreaker w/ CU)
  • 6. Colorado: 10-8 (2-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 7. Oregon 10-8 (1-2 vs. tied opponents)

Scenario 7:

Now what happens if Washington wins both down the stretch, to join the fray at 10-8?  Let’s throw Washington into the mix using the same result as “Scenario 6″.

If Stanford wins…

  • 4. California: 10-8 (5-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Colorado: 10-8 (3-2 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Stanford: 10-8 (3-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 7. Washington: 10-8 (3-5 vs. tied opponents)
  • 8. Oregon: 10-8 (1-4 vs. tied opponents)

If Utah wins…

  • 4. California: 10-8 (4-1 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Utah: 10-8 (3-3 vs. tied opponents, W vs. UCLA breaks H2H tiebreaker w/ CU)
  • 6. Colorado: 10-8 (3-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 7. Oregon: 10-8 (2-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 8. Washington: 10-8 (3-5 vs. tied opponents)

Scenario 8:

The final scenario represents everyone who can possibly finish at 10-8, doing so.  Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and the winner of Stanford/Utah finish at 10-8 here.

If Stanford wins…

  • 3. California: 10-8 (5-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 4. Colorado: 10-8 (4-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. ASU: 10-8 (5-4 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Stanford: 10-8 (4-4 vs. tied opponents)
  • 7. Washington: 10-8 (4-5 vs. tied opponents)
  • 8. Oregon: 10-8 (2-5 vs. tied opponents)

If Utah wins…

  • 3. California: 10-8 (4-3 vs. tied opponents)
  • 4. ASU: 10-8 (5-4 vs. tied opponents)
  • 5. Utah: 10-8 (4-4 vs. tied opponents)
  • 6. Colorado: 10-8 (4-4 vs. tied opponents)
  • 7. Washington: 10-8 (4-5 vs. tied opponents)
  • 8. Oregon: 10-8 (3-4 vs. tied opponents)

Sorry about the headache…

GO BUFFALOES

One thought on “Breaking Down the Pac-12 Tiebreaker Scenarios

  1. thanks now we know Utah and UW are out of this scenerio but for my Ducks looks like best is ASU and COLO both win and Cal finishes 9-9 makes UO 6th…can’t see where Oregon does better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s