Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Guru's WNBA Report: Your Guide to the Tight Eastern Playoff Stretch Drive

(Guru's note: Sunday night's action headlined by Chicago's 25-point plus rally is in the post directly under this one.)

By Mel Greenberg

Back in 2010 when the Seattle Storm won its second WNBA title, it spent most of the season along with most of the Eastern Conference getting fat on the Storm's Western opponents.

Remember the final regular season standings out West?

1. Seattle 28-6
2. Phoenix 15-19
3. San Antonio 14-20
4. LA 13-21
4. Minnesota 13-21
6. Tulsa 6-28

Meanwhile, everyone in the East but the Chicago Sky, heading for sunshine at last, had a better record.

The one thing notable, which has been part of the Guru's lore here, was the tiebreak at No. 4, established in the final days of the season when the Minnesota Lynx seemed to have the game won with four seconds left, only to lose to the Los Angeles Sparks on a length-of-the-court score by the soon-to-be-retired Tina Thompson (now with Seattle) after this season.

Several months later, however, Minnesota got the last laugh because relgated to the lottery, the Lynx got the top pick, which led to the selection of UConn great Maya Moore, which in large part but not all, led to a WNBA title in 2011 and return to the finals in 2012.

The Guru mentions this as precursor to what follows because now it's the East to play the mediocre game, though perhaps at this hour a little less severe.

However, just like 2010 out West five teams are in a tussle for next month's four conference spots in the playoffs, though the Atlanta Dream's stabilization over the weekend has Angel McCoughtry and her teammates closer to fighting Chicago for first than emeshed in the gridlock below.

One interesting thing in the mire is that if the Washington Mystics, the surprise team in the conference under former Connecticut Sun Mike Thibault, extends their season it will be due in large part to going 7-5 against the West.

But a glance at the schedules for each seems to indicate a multiple backslide into the hunt and while the losers get to the lottery, the next draft will have quality, but it won't be on the order of the last time around that had Brittney Griner (Baylor-Phoenix), Elena Delle Donne (Delaware-Chicago), and Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame-Tulsa) at the top of the pile.

First, here's the standings in the East after Sunday's games:

1. Chicago 17-8, --, Games Remaining: 9
2. Atlanta 13-9, 2.5, Games Remaining: 12
3. Washington 12-14, 5.5, Games Remaining: 8
4. Indiana 11-14, 6.0, Games Remaining: 9
5. New York 10-15, 7.0, Games Remaining: 9
6. Connecticut, 7-17, 9.5, Games Remaining: 10

While it will be genuine sort of bumper cars against each other, some games against the West will still be factors.

Of course, what is not known is how many more injuries or other issues deprive teams of able rosters and though the Guru took a guess at probable records, the reality is there are many tossups, which might delight teams'
fans though the total performance is not to the liking of purists, or those in the state of Connecticut where winning in the pros in Uncasville or college in Storrs and Hartford have been a way of life.

Some key multiples left on the slate, Chicago has three with Atlanta, but two are at home. Washington has two with New York and two with Atlanta, while New York has two with Indiana, as well as much-recently-tougher Tulsa, Phoenix and Minnesota in crossover games.

The Guru calls it like this but again it is a very tenuous call:

Chicago 6-3
Atlanta 9-3
Washington 3-5
Indiana 4-5
New York 3-6
Connecticut 3-7

If that occurs the final standings will look like this:

Chicago 23-11
Atlanta 22-12
Washington 15-19
Indiana 15-19 (not listed in as tie-break result)
New York 13-21
Connecticut 10-24

Here now the East games the rest of the way, but to be conservative games there are tossups in reality that will be mentioned that way outside what the Guru thought, even though he isn't given you his picks in every game. :)

Actually, which might change some of the forecasts, he will note the obvious or at least comment under the initials GP for Guru pick.

East Playoff Push Till End of Season

Tuesday, Aug. 20
Chicago at Washington -- GP: Chicago
Minnesota at Atlanta -- GP: Minnesota

Wednesday, Aug. 21
San Antonio at Indiana -- GP: Indiana

Thursday, Aug. 22
Minnesota at Connecticut -- GP: Minnesota

Friday, Aug. 23
Atlanta at Washington -- GP: Atlanta
New York at Chicago -- GP: Chicago

Saturday, Aug. 24
Indiana at Minnesota -- GP: Minnesota
Chicago at Atlanta -- GP: Tossup shade to Atlanta, both of back-to-back

Sunday, Aug. 25
New York at Connecticut -- GP: Connecticut (driven by rivalry)

Tuesday, Aug. 27
Minnesota at New York -- GP: Minnesota
Connecticut at Los Angeles -- GP: Los Angeles

Wednesday, Aug. 28
Washington at Atlanta -- GP: Atlanta: Homecourt advantage

Thursday, Aug. 29
Connecticut at Seattle -- GP Seasttle: Storm still fighting for playoffs in West

Friday, Aug. 30
Indiana at New York -- GP: Tossup slightly favoring Indy.

Saturday, Aug. 31
Atlanta at Chicago -- GP: Potential first-place showdown favoring Chicago
Connecticut at Phoenix -- GP: Phoenix on homecourt with playoffs push.

Sunday, Sept. 1
New York at Tulsa -- GP: NY barely won first time and Tulsa better now

Monday, Sept. 2
Los Angeles at Atlanta -- GP: Los Angeles. Maybe Sparks East champs :)

Wednesday, Sept. 4
Indiana at Atlanta -- GP: Tossup favoring Atlanta

Friday, Sept. 6
Washington at Connecticut -- GP: Washington still in playoff hunt
Atlanta at New York -- GP: Atlanta but we've seen one upset already
Indiana at Chicago -- GP: Chicago homecourt but closer to tossup

Saturday, Sept. 7
Connecticut at Indiana -- GP: Could be tossup but homecourt to Indiana

Sunday, Sept. 8
Phoenix at Atlanta -- GP: Tossup but homecourt Atlanta though who knows
Chicago at Washington -- GP: Chicago but playoff implcations could factor

Tuesday, Sept. 10
Phoenix at New York -- GP: Phoenix slightly but playoff factors could alter
Washington at Indiana -- GP Indiana on homecourt but this will be big

Wednesday, Sept. 11
Atlanta at Connecticut -- GP: Atlanta but Conn tries to affect race for others
Phoenix at Chicago -- GP Chicago but could be tossup. Sky won in the desert

Friday, Sept. 13
Connecticut at Washington -- GP: Washington going for sweep
New York at Indiana -- GP: Indiana at its scoreboard watching night
Atlanta at Chicago -- GP: Chicago and could decide top seed

Saturday, Sept. 14
Chicago at Minnesota -- GP: Minnesota wants a little revenge

Sunday, Sept. 15
Indiana at Conn. -- GP: Pride game for Connecticut but Indy may need it.
New York at Washington -- GP: Washington could be fight for fourth
Atlanta at San Antonio -- GP: Atlanta but tossup if Stars still alive in West

East Remaining Opps Team by Team
(C) -- East/West Crossover Game
This List In Order of Sked

Chicago: at-Wash., vs. N.Y., at Atl., vs. Atl., vs. Ind., at Wash., vs. (C) Pho., vs. Atl., at (C) Minn., Total West 2=1 Each H-H, Total East: 7= 3R-4H -- 9All

Atlanta: vs. (C) Minn.., at Wash. vs. Chi., vs., Wash., at Chi., vs.(C) LA., vs. Ind., at NY.; vs. (C) Pho., at Conn., at Chi., at (C) San Ant. Total West: 4=1R-3H, Total East 8=5R-3H -- 12All

Washington: vs. Chi., vs. Atl., at Atl.., vs. Conn., vs. Chi., at Ind., vs. Conn., vs. NY. Total West - None, Total East 8=2-6 8All

Indiana: vs. (C) San Ant., at (C) Minn., at NY.,, at Atl., at Chi., vs. Conn., vs. Wash., vs. NY. at Conn. Total West: 2=1R-1H. Total East: 7=4R-3H 9All.

New York: at Chi, at Conn.,, vs. (C) Minn.,, vs. Ind., at (C) Tulsa, vs. Atl., vs. (C) Pho., at Ind., at Wash. Total West: 3=1R-2H. Total East 6=4R-2H 9All

Connecticut: vs. (C) Minn., vs. NY., at (C) LA, at (C) Seatt., at (C) Pho., at Wash., at Ind., vs Atl., at Wash., vs. Ind. Total West: 4=3R-1H. Total East: 6=3R-3H. 10All.

East Remaining Games vs. Opp Teams
This Counts Opposition Team

Chicago: vs. West (2) Pho (H), Minn. (A). vs. East (7) vs. 2-Wash (2A), vs. 1-NY (1H), vs. 3-Atl. (1A-2H), vs. 1-Ind. (1H),

Atlanta vs. West (4) Minn (H), LA (H), Pho (H) , Snn Ant. (A). vs. East (8) vs. 2-Wash (1A-1H), vs. 3- Chi (1-H, 2A), 1-Ind. ( H), 1-NY (A), 1-Conn. (A)

Washington vs. West (None). vs. East (8) 2-Chi (2H), 2-Atl (1-A, 1-H), 2-Conn (2H), 1-NY (1H), 1-Ind. (1A).

Indiana vs. West (2) San Ant. (H), at Minn (A). vs. East (7), 2-NY (1A-1H), 1-Wash (1H), 2-Conn. (1A-1H), 1-Atl (1A), 1-Chi (1A).

New York vs. West (3) Minn (H), Pho (H), Tulsa (A). vs. East (6) 1-Chi (1A), 1-Conn. (1A), 1-Wash (1A), 2-Ind. (1-A, 1-H), 1-Atl (1H).

Connecticut vs. West (4) Minn. (H), LA (A), Seattle (A), Pho (1A). vs. East (6) 2-Wash (2A), 1-NY 1H), 1-Atl (1H), 2-Ind. (1A. 1-H),

That's it for now.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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