West Chester is currently tied with Millersville for sixth place in the PSAC East with a 5-7 record, one game behind Bloomsburg, Cheyney and East Stroudsburg for the third and fourth playoff spot. Here are 12 possible scenarios and the Golden Rams’ playoff chances in each case (in all scenarios, West Chester must win its two remaining games – Wednesday night at Cheyney and Saturday afternoon at home against Bloomsburg and Mansfield must beat Kutztown on Wednesday night to secure the top seed in the East):
Scenario 1 – West Chester ties Bloomsburg (#3 seed)
The Golden Rams could ideally have Bloomsburg defeat East Stroudsburg on Wednesday. A win by the Huskies over the Warriors combined with a Rams win over the Wolves would have both teams at 6-7 in league play entering Saturday’s showdown at Hollinger.
The Rams would win a one-on-one tie breaker with the Huskies should the two teams finish tied at 7-7. The second tie breaker would be head-to-head records against teams finishing ahead of Bloomsburg and West Chester; the Rams win that tie-breaker on the basis of a season sweep of current division leader Mansfield (9-3), while the Huskies were swept by Mansfield.
The Mountaineers host Kutztown (8-4) at Decker Gymnasium on Wednesday. Besides the Rams, the Golden Bears are the only other team to have defeated the Mounties this season. A win by Mansfield on Wednesday night clinches the top seed in the East regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s games.
For these two teams – and only these two teams – to finish tied for third at 7-7, both the Warriors and the Wolves must lose both of their remaining games – Cheyney faces Mansfield on Saturday, while East Stroudsburg travels to Shippensburg. Millersville would also have to lose at least one of its next two games – Wednesday against Shippensburg and/or Saturday at Kutztown.
Scenario 2 – Three way tie between West Chester, Bloomsburg and Cheyney (#3 seed)
If the Rams do their part on Wednesday by beating Cheyney, while Cheyney turns around and beats Mansfield on Saturday, and East Stroudsburg loses its next two games, this three-way tie occurs.
All three teams would have split their respective series with each other. Hence, it’s off to the second tie-breaker, in which again, West Chester would have an advantage, not only over Bloomsburg, but Cheyney as well. If Cheyney finishes 7-7 after splitting their last two games, West Chester would capture the #3 seed; however, Cheyney would claim the #4 seed with their split over Mansfield trumping Bloomsburg’s being swept by the Mounties.
Scenario 3 – Three way tie between West Chester, Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg (#4 seed)
Should East Stroudsburg lose to Bloomsburg and defeat Shippensburg with the Rams beating the Huskies, the Warriors would finish in a three-way tie with Bloomsburg and West Chester. In this scenario, East Stroudsburg would win tie-breakers against both the Huskies and Rams, as the Warriors would have swept both teams by this point. East Stroudsburg would then earn the #3 seed, while West Chester would again beat Bloomsburg in a tie-breaker for the #4 seed.
Scenario 4 – Three way tie between West Chester, Bloomsburg, and Millersville (#3 seed)
Despite their loss to the Golden Rams on Saturday, the Marauders aren’t exactly out of the playoff hunt. But, like West Chester, Millersville will need a lot of help.
In this scenario, Millersville would have to win its final two games (vs. Shippensburg on Wednesday, at Kutztown on Saturday).
As all three teams will have split the season series with each other, all three teams would have 2-2 records against each other. West Chester captures the #3 seed with its season sweep of Mansfield, while the Marauders and Huskies were both swept by the Mounties.
The next tie-breaker – the records against teams above the Huskies and Marauders until the tie is broken or reach seventh place – is going to be a tad more complicated. Both teams were swept by Mansfield and both teams would have split their remaining series against the rest of the division.
The third tie-breaker would be number of wins against Division II opponents at or over .500. It may be fair to say that Bloomsburg’s three pre-crossover wins against non-Division II opponents – not to mention their infamous loss to Lock Haven – will likely hurt them under this tiebreaker, so Millersville would appear to have the edge here.
However, from a West Chester perspective that portion of the tie-breaker is probably not relevant, since the Rams will have clinched a playoff berth by this stage. For the purposes of this article, we’ll leave the determination of these two teams up to the Home Office at Lock Haven.
Scenario 5 – Three-way tie between West Chester, Cheyney and East Stroudsburg (#4 seed)
If the Warriors beat Bloomsburg then lost to Shippensburg, West Chester beats Cheyney and Bloomsburg and Cheyney bounces back to beat Mansfield, then East Stroudsburg gets the #3 seed (having swept both the Rams and Wolves), while West Chester beats out Cheyney for the #4 seed as the Rams swept Mansfield while the Wolves split the season series with the Mounties.
Scenario 6 – Three-way tie between West Chester, Cheyney, and Millersville (#3 seed)
These three teams split the season series with each other. So, tie-breaker #2 would give West Chester the #3 seed if Mansfield wins the East, with Cheyney and Millersville duking it out for the fourth seed. With a better overall record (and presumably more wins over Division II schools above .500), Cheyney likely gets the fourth seed over Millersville.
Scenario 7 – Three-way tie between West Chester, East Stroudsburg and Millersville (#4 seed)
If the Warriors beat Bloomsburg then lose to Shippensburg, West Chester beats Cheyney and Bloomsburg and if Millersville beats both Shippensburg and Kutztown, then East Stroudsburg gets the #3 seed (having swept the Rams and split with the Marauders), while West Chester beats out Millersville for the #4 seed as the Rams swept Mansfield while the Marauders were swept by the Mounties.
Scenario 8 – Four-way tie between West Chester, Bloomsburg, Cheyney and East Stroudsburg (out)
This would be the worst case scenario for West Chester and Cheyney.
- Bloomsburg would have swept East Stroudsburg, while splitting with Cheyney and West Chester (a 4-2 record against teams in the tie).
- East Stroudsburg would have swept both Cheyney and West Chester, despite being swept by Bloomsburg (also a 4-2 record against teams in the tie).
- Cheyney and West Chester would have a split the series with both each other and with Bloomsburg, but the sweep by East Stroudsburg hurts both teams (2-4 records against teams in the tie).
Hence, Bloomsburg gets the #3 seed, East Stroudsburg gets the #4 seed, while Cheyney and West Chester stay home.
Scenario 9 – Four-way tie between West Chester, Bloomsburg, Cheyney and Millersville (#3 seed)
All four teams will have split the season series with each other. However, West Chester gets the #3 seed based on its season sweep of Mansfield, thus reducing the field to Bloomsburg, Millersville, and Cheyney for the fourth seed. Cheyney wins the fourth seed with a split of their series with Mansfield, while the Mounties swept both Bloomsburg and Millersville.
Scenario 10 – Four-way tie between West Chester, Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg and Millersville (out)
- Bloomsburg would have swept East Stroudsburg, while splitting with Millersville and West Chester (a 4-2 record against teams in the tie).
- East Stroudsburg would have swept West Chester, despite being swept by Bloomsburg and splitting with Millersville (3-3).
- Millersville will have split all three series with Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, and West Chester (3-3).
- West Chester would be on the outside looking in with a 2-4 mark against teams involved in the tie (swept by East Stroudsburg, split with Millersville and Bloomsburg).
Hence, Bloomsburg gets the #3 seed, Millersville gets the #4 seed, while East Stroudsburg and West Chester stay home. The Marauders get the edge over the Warriors, based on their split with the Huskies and Bloomsburg’s sweep of East Stroudsburg.
Scenario 12 (aka the absolute mother of all headaches) – Five-way time between Bloomsburg, Cheyney, East Stroudsburg, Millersville, and West Chester (out)
Even the most jaded of analysts would have major mental health issues when trying to untangle this mess. This scenario would presume the following:
- Bloomsburg beats East Stroudsburg and loses to West Chester
- Cheyney loses to West Chester and beats Mansfield
- East Stroudsburg loses to Bloomsburg and beats Shippensburg
- Millersville beats both Shippensburg and Kutztown
- West Chester beats both Cheyney and Bloomsburg
This would probably be a good time to call your therapist. It would mean that teams ranked third through seventh in the East would all finish with 7-7 records. No, that is not a misprint.
In any event, here comes the breakdown:
- Cheyney (3-5 against teams involved in the tie) is out; the Wolves were swept by Warriors, while splitting their series with the Huskies, Marauders and Golden Rams.
- West Chester (3-5) is out; the Golden Rams were swept by the Warriors while splitting their series with the Huskies, Marauders, and Wolves.
- Millersville (4-4) is out; the Marauders split each of their series with the Golden Rams, Huskies, Warriors, and Wolves.
So, that leaves Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg, and this is why Wednesday’s game is critical. If this five-way tie is caused by the Huskies beating the Warriors, then Bloomsburg losing to West Chester and East Stroudsburg beating Shippensburg, the Huskies take the #3 seed while the Warriors take the #4 seed.
In short, while the Rams control their own destiny, it would be fair to say that East Stroudsburg being involved in any tie-breaker scenario for a post-season berth hurts West Chester, especially in a four-way or five-way tie. Still, considering the way the Rams started off league play, to be still within striking distance of a post-season berth is nothing short of a miracle.
All of which, of course, would be rendered moot with a loss to Cheyney at Cope Hall on Wednesday night.
Creighton Rabs covers West Chester University athletics for glowbass.com. He is neither affiliated with nor employed by West Chester University. Feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; live updates of select WCU events will be available on Twitter at @WCUExaminer.