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.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Guru's WNBA Musings: Much May Still Be at Stake When Chicago Travels to Minnesota

By Mel Greenberg

And so everything spoken about in the previous post about looming gridlocks is still alive going into Friday night and the weekend.

Some of the scenarios are longshots but fun to talk about and some are very real like the one involving the top two overall treams -- the Eastern Division-leading Chicago Sky (23-9) and Western-leading Minnesota Lynx (25-8), which will host the Sky Saturday night on what will be the final encounter for each in the regular season prior to the playoffs.

So with Minnesota getting eclipsed by a point at Los Angeles to the Sparks Thursday night, it comes down to this in terms of number one overall seed and homecourt advantage if either the Lynx or Sky or both gets to the finals.

Chicago hosts the Atlanta Dream one more time Friday night. A Sky loss and Minnesota is the top pre-playoff dog for the third straight year, though the perk only has the Lynx 1-1 in terms of winning the WNBA crown.

But if Chicago wins, then Minnesota has to avenge its overtime loss to the Sky earlier in this season in the two-game cross-conference series to claim overall record.

However, if the Sky win, both will have the same won-loss record and in the next tie-break a Chicago 2-0 sweep would be the magic bullet to gain the top overall seed.

This game could have extra implications since postseason voting from the nationwide media panel can continue into 1 p.m. EDT Monday and if Chicago lands best overall record, voting for MVP and several other categories could be impacted, though either way, actually there could be some affected scenarios.

But even if Minnesota wins in this game scenario for Saturday night, Chicago could be top dog if the Sky get to the finals and Los Angeles prevails in the West but even this is undecided at the monent.

Whoever has the better record -- Chicago is slightly ahead of L.A. (23-10) right now -- gets the advantage. Either could be ahead of the other when the regular season closes Sunday night but if they tie then because they split their two-game set, whoever has the better record against the opposite conference in this situation gets the break.

The Guru did not calculate Los Angeles, but will bring it to the table if needed Sunday night. Chicago is 7-4 against the West with the Minnesota game remaining.

As for that potential Eastern three-way talked about nothing changes from our previous discussion and let's let Friday night play out before re-visiting it but speaking of visits, the Guru will be in Washington for the Mystics' game against the Connecticut Sun.

Draft Lottery Riot

For the fans of the four teams, which could play spoilers to the seeds proceess this weekend, here's some forecast for getting to the best position for the number one pick, though next time around there will be more quantity but slightly less quality.

The wild four-way worst record 11-23 tie-up could still happen among the San Antonio Silver Stars (11-21 -- at Phoenix, Friday, hosting Atlanta Sunday), the Tulsa Shock, which kept it in play losing to Seattle Thursday night (11-22 -- at Seattle Saturday), New York Liberty (11-21 -- at Indy Friday, at NY Sunday), and Connecticut (9-23 -- at Washington, Friday, hosting Indiana, Sunday).

So if the Guru understands tiebreakers, and he will correct if wrong, the process gets worked in reverse. This brings to mind several, years ago in 2008 when Minnesota was running away with the worst record and then had the audacity to win a couple the last week, get caught by Los Angeles, which then had the worst conference record for the tiebreak and then the ping pong balls cooperated.

The prize of course at No. 1 was Candace Parker. Chicago lucked out ahead of Minnesota and picked up Sylvia Fowles.

Anhow to break a four-way deadlock -- this could not happen if Connecticut had not won by a point Wednesday night over Atlanta -- we start by creating a mini-league comparable record among the four have-nots.

So doing so, the reverse standings are as follows.

New York 3-5
Connecticut 4-4
Tulsa 4-4
San Antonio 5-3.

Now, what needs clarification is which way we go, and when the Guru checks it out Friday he will tweet which is correct.

New York at 3-5 would be first out and rights to No. 1 if as the song goes, we started at the bottom.

Then to get second worst, we have to start all over again in a three-way jam.

The standings would be

Connecticut 4-4
Tulsa 3-3
San Antonio 3-3

The Sun would drop out unless the .500 record trumphs wins, and have the second best shot and then since Tulsa and San Antonio would decided three and four at 3-3 each it would go to conference record, which is still in the balance.

If cross conference mix comes into play Connecticut was 2-10 against the West, New York was 3-9, and Tulsa was 4-8.

But if we go the other way meaning San Antonio in the four-way, the Silver Stars with the best record drop out and go to the lottery with the fourth best chance for No. 1.

The three-way then looks like this:

Connecticut 3-3
New York 3-3
Tulsa 2-2

This now needs clarafication -- the Guru shouldn't start doing this in the middle of the night when he can't call the leagdue -- but if we look at it from a still deadlock by percentage, Tulsa drops to the third pick with the better cross-conference percentage.

Then Connecticut and New York become the remaining tie and at 2-2 would go to see has the worst conference percentage and that is still open since right now New York is 8-12 with two East games left and Connecticut is 9-13 and likewise.

But if we want to go the simple route without a four-way crunch, if Connecticut loses either game, the Sun wins the best shot.

Even if the Sun win Friday, if the other three all win their next game, Connecticut will still be in prime position.

If you are not confused, Friday results may bring clarification in the lottery competition, or not, but the Guru will be back to update.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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