It happens every year during preseason basketball talk — or any sport for that matter — when a coach will do the coachspeak thing and praise the parity of such league. They usually do this for two reasons: 1. its’ an easy topic because nobody has played a game yet and most everybody is optimistic. 2. And most coaches within said league have a mutual respect for each other and heaping compliments between each other is more of a customary thing to do.
But in the case of the Summit League men’s basketball race this year, there really is parity. There’s so much parity that the conference has it coming out of its ears. NDSU and South Dakota are 11-4 heading into the season finale on Saturday. The next five teams are either 8-7 (Denver, Omaha) or 7-8 (Fort Wayne, South Dakota State, IUPUI). Western Illinois has the eighth seed locked up at 5-10 and all the Leathernecks did was take NDSU into overtime in Fargo last week. Having an eighth seed who has a couple of road wins, including at Fort Wayne, is not a comforting thought for whoever gets the No. 1 seed. Summit assistant commissioner David Brauer pointed out today that one of the reasons for the parity is the result of the growth of teams within the league. You could assume that to include higher budgets, better facilities and better scheduling.
Obviously, NDSU will get the top seed if it beats Omaha and USD loses at IUPUI. But if both the Bison and Coyotes win or lose, figuring that out … well, good luck. NDSU sports information director Wes Offerman says if both the Bison and Coyotes win, then NDSU will get the top seed if Western and SDSU both win. Here are the Summit tiebreaking criteria, which mainly centers on who beat the next-highest ranked team.
Summit League tiebreaker procedures
- Two teams criteria
1. Results of head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
2. Comparison of each tied team’s record against the team occupying the highest position in the standings continuing down through the standings until a team gains an advantage.
3. 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.
4. If a tie still cannot be broken after applying criteria (1), (2) and (3), it will be broken by comparing each tied team’s RPI (based upon the RPIratings.com Report issued on the morning following the last regular season League game).
- Multiple-team criteria
1. Results of each tied team’s collective record against the other teams tied for the same position.
2. If multiple ties still remain, then each tied team’s record shall be compared to the team or group (if 2 or more are tied) occupying the highest position in the standings continuing down through the standings until a team gains an advantage.
3. If the above results in two teams remaining, the two-team tiebreaker is used.
4. If a tie involving three or more teams still cannot be broken after applying criteria (1) and (2), it will be broken by comparing each tied team’s RPI (based upon the RPIratings.com Report issued on the morning following the last regular season league game.)
I’m not sure its’ all worth fretting over anyway if you’re a Bison fan. NDSU has a top two seed locked up and whether you play Western or somebody else — there is no cupcake opening-round game. It’s called parity, in the true sense of the word.