So here's the scenario. You are tied for fourth place, the last first round bye spot. There's a good chance that if you win your game on Wednesday night and your home game on Saturday, you will have that fourth bye spot. In what has to be the most important game of your season, you need to come out and play your best game of the season...right?
So what was with Hofstra going down to Georgia State and losing by 21 last night??? In what should result as a nominee for this season's "Biggest Egg Laid By a Team in a Critical Game", the Pride got blown out of Atlanta as Georgia State won a laugher 76-55. The Pride had a lead at 4-2 and that was the last lead they had. The Panthers went on a 16-0 run and never looked back. In the first half alone, Georgia State was 7 of 11 from beyond the arc as the Panthers, last in the CAA in scoring offense, roasted the CAA's former leader in field goal percentage defense for 61.5 percent FG shooting in the first half. The Panthers shot 53 percent for the game (Drexel caught Hofstra after last night and is now first in FG percentage D at 39.5%, Hofstra is 39.6%). The Panthers were up 46-27 at the half.
Hofstra would come out on a 12-1 run to cut the lead to 47-39 with 15:12 left. But the Pride missed a chance to get the score closer and the Panthers would answer with an 18-4 run to seal the deal and the win.
The Panthers were led by Leonard Mendez, who scored 27 points on 9 of 14 shooting and 6 of 6 from the line. Mendez, who was the leading scorer for the Panthers last year at 16 points per game, came in averaging only 8.8 points per game. Charles Jenkins led the Pride with 19 points.
With the loss, Hofstra (19-10, 10-7 CAA) fell into a tie for fifth with Drexel, but since the Dragons swept the season series from the Pride, Drexel is in fifth and Hofstra is in sixth. The Panthers are now 11-18,8-9 CAA) and have clinched eighth place in the CAA (even if they end up tied with James Madison for seventh, the Dukes have the tiebreaker on them). It's the most wins the Panthers have had in the CAA regular season since they joined the league in 2005-06. It was also the first win Georgia State has had over Hofstra since joining the CAA (they lost their previous five games to the Pride).
Meanwhile in Harrisonburg, the Dukes of James Madison desperately needed a home win to keep their very slim hopes alive for a fourth place finish. Unfortunately the Dukes were hosting first place Virginia Commonwealth, not an easy task for trying to stay alive for a bye spot. The Dukes came into the game seventh in the CAA and left the game seventh in the CAA as VCU routed James Madison 71-52.
The game was close for a half as VCU only led 28-26 at halftime. But the Rams would outscore the Dukes 43-26 in the second half as Eric Maynor had 18 points and 8 assists to lead VCU. He got help from Larry Sanders who had 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Rams held the Dukes to 32 percent shooting from the field including an absolutely awful 2 of 20 from beyond the arc. Juwann James led JMU with 19 points.
So ok, we're down to one game left in the regular season that is the CAA, the wacky parity league. Here's the league standings as of today
1) VCU 13-4
2) Northeastern 12-5
3) George Mason 12-5
4) ODU 11-6
5) Drexel 10-7
6) Hofstra 10-7
7) James Madison 9-8
8) Georgia State 8-9
9) Towson 5-12
10) Delaware 5-12
11) William and Mary 4-13
12) UNCW 3-14
So far, only two teams have clinched their spots. Georgia State is eighth. Even if they tie JMU, JMU has the tiebreaker. Likewise, UNCW is last. Even if they tie the Mary, the Mary swept both games from UNCW, thus the Seahawks are last.
Three teams have now clinched byes after last night. VCU, George Mason and Northeastern have clinched a first round bye.
Here are the scenarios for each team in current order
1) VCU - VCU can finish no lower than second.
A) If VCU wins at home vs. Georgia State, they are the #1 seed for the CAA tournament.
B) If VCU loses, Northeastern wins and Mason loses, both VCU and Northeastern would be tied. Northeastern would get the #1 seed due to winning the sole game between the teams. VCU would be the #2 seed.
C) If VCU loses, Northeastern loses and Mason wins, VCU would finish first, having won the sole game between them and Mason.
D) If VCU, Mason and Northeastern all tie, Northeastern would finish first due to best record between the teams (Northeastern is 2-1 vs Mason and VCU, VCU is 1-1 vs Mason and Northeastern, and Mason is 1-2 vs Northeastern and VCU). VCU would finish second in that scenario because they have the tiebreaker on Mason.
2) Northeastern - The Huskies have clinched at least a #3 seed. But things get a little interesting if things play out.
A) Northeastern would get the # 1 seed as listed above if they win, and VCU loses because they have the tiebreaker on VCU in any scenario.
B) If VCU wins, Northeastern wins and Mason wins, Northeastern would get the #2 seed, due to the fact that since Northeastern and Mason split, the next tiebreaker is record vs. team directly above in standings. Since Northeastern beat VCU and Mason lost to VCU, Northeastern gets the tiebreaker.
C) If Northeastern loses to ODU and Mason wins, Mason finishes second and Northeastern finishes third due to the following - Since the first tiebreaker is a wash since both ODU and Northeastern split the season series. The second tiebreaker, record vs team higher above in standings is also a wash since both teams split with George Mason. The third tiebreaker is the next team higher above in the standings, which is VCU. Northeastern wins the tiebreaker on that due to the fact that they have a 1-0 record vs. VCU while ODU is 1-1 vs. VCU.
D) If Northeastern loses to ODU and Mason loses, Northeastern would finish second due to better record vs VCU (Northeastern 1-0, Mason 1-1, ODU 1-1) since the first tiebreaker is a wash since all three teams would have 2-2 records against each other.
(ok, do you need a beer already? I do, but there's a lot more).
3) George Mason - The Patriots have clinched at least a #4 seed and a first round bye, but can not finish any higher than a #2 seed since VCU has tiebreaker on them
A) Mason will get the #2 seed if they win and Northeastern loses.
B) Mason will get the #3 seed if they win and Northeastern wins.
C) Mason will get the #4 seed if they lose and Northeastern loses to ODU. All three teams would be tied and as noted above, the first tiebreaker head to head between the three teams is a wash since they all went 2-2 against each other. The second tiebreaker is record vs. VCU, the team higher. Northeastern as noted would get the #2 seed based on best record vs. VCU (1-0). ODU would get the #3 seed based on second best record vs. VCU (1-1). Mason would get the #4 seed as a result.
4) ODU - The Monarchs clinch at least the #4 seed with a win vs Northeastern. If they lose, things get dicey.
A) ODU would get a #3 seed if they beat Northeastern and Mason loses to Towson.
B) If ODU loses and Drexel and Hofstra lose, ODU gets the #4 seed.
C) If ODU loses and Drexel wins and Hofstra loses, ODU gets the #4 seed by winning the tiebreaker vs. Drexel, since ODU beat Drexel in the sole game they played.
D) If ODU loses, Drexel wins and Hofstra wins, ODU would get the #5 seed. This is due to the tiebreaker being best record vs. each other - Drexel would be the #4 seed with a 2-1 record, ODU would be the #5 seed with a 1-1 record and Hofstra would be the #6 seed with a 1-2 record.
E) If ODU loses, Drexel loses and Hofstra wins, ODU would get the #5 seed and Hofstra the #4 seed since Hofstra wins the tiebreaker having won the sole game vs. the two teams.
5) Drexel - The Dragons can finish as high as fourth, the final bye spot but get this, they can finish as low as seventh. Here's how.
A) As noted, if Drexel wins, ODU loses and Hofstra wins, as mentioned, the Dragons would get the #4 seed based on head to head tiebreaker.
B) If Drexel wins, ODU wins and no matter if Hofstra wins or loses, Drexel is the #5 seed based on winning the tiebreaker on Hofstra, having swept the season series from the Pride.
C) If Drexel loses, Hofstra loses and JMU wins, the Dragons would be the #5 seed with the better head to head record (Drexel 2-1, Hofstra 2-2, JMU 1-2).
D) If Drexel loses, Hofstra wins and JMU loses, then the Dragons would be the #6 seed.
E) If Drexel loses, Hofstra wins and JMU wins, then the Dragons would be the #7 seed having lost the tiebreaker to JMU having lost the sole game between the teams.
6) Hofstra - With a win the Pride can finish no lower than sixth but can finish as high as the fourth and final bye spot.
A) If Hofstra wins, ODU loses and Drexel loses, the Pride get the #4 seed due to winning the tiebreaker with ODU, having defeated the Monarchs in their only game vs. each other.
B) If Hofstra wins, ODU loses and Drexel wins, due to the tiebreaker being best record vs. each other - Drexel would be the #4 seed with a 2-1 record, ODU would be the #5 seed with a 1-1 record and Hofstra would be the #6 seed with a 1-2 record.
C) If Hofstra wins, ODU wins and Drexel wins, Hofstra gets the #6 seed due to losing the tiebreaker to Drexel since the Dragons swept the season series from the Pride
D) If Hofstra wins, ODU wins and Drexel loses, Hofstra gets the #5 seed.
E) If Hofstra loses, Drexel loses and James Madison wins, Hofstra gets the #6 seed because due to head to head, Drexel would get the #5 seed with a 2-1 record, Hofstra would be #6 with a 2-2 record and JMU would be #7 with a 1-2 record.
7) James Madison - The Dukes can finish no higher than sixth and no lower than seventh.
A) If Hofstra wins, Drexel loses and James Madison wins, James Madison would be the #6 seed and Drexel #7 since JMU would win the tiebreaker having won the only head to head game between the teams.
B) If Drexel and Hofstra lose and James Madison wins, JMU would be the #7 seed since the head to head to head tiebreaker would have Drexel get the #5 seed with a 2-1 record, Hofstra would be #6 with a 2-2 record and JMU would be #7 with a 1-2 record
C) If JMU loses and Georgia State wins, JMU would still be the #7 seed having won the head to head game vs. Georgia State.
8) Georgia State - as noted, they are locked in eighth no matter what they do.
9) Towson - Towson will lock up the #9 seed with either a win or a Delaware loss. They can only finish as low as 10th.
A) If Towson and Delaware both lose, Towson is the #9 seed since they swept both games from the Blue Hens.
B) If Towson and Delaware lose and William and Mary wins, Towson would be the #9 seed due to best record in head to head to head, 3-1. William and Mary would be the #10 seed with a 2-2 record and Delaware would be the #11 seed with a 1-3 record.
C) If Towson loses and Delaware wins, Delaware will be the #9 seed and Towson #10.
10) Delaware - The Blue Hens can finish as high as #9 if they win and Towson loses, or as low as #11 if they lose and William and Mary wins, or if Towson and Delaware lose and William and Mary wins.
11) William and Mary - Can only finish as high as 10th if Delaware loses and the Mary beat Drexel, otherwise they finish #11.
12) UNCW - The Seahawks have already clinched last.
So there are all the scenarios. Still one wild wacky regular season day left in the CAA. We'll see how it turns out.