Here We Go Round and Round . . .
Only a day after our last tie-breaker analysis (and with only one game played in that time in the entire WNBA!), the Mystics' playoff scenario has already changed!
In that single game played last night, our friends the Lynx pulled out a close victory at home over the Shock. So now Detroit has dropped back to 16-16, one game ahead of the musical chairs triumvirate of the Mystics, the Sky and the Sun (all of whom share records of 15-17).
The BasketCases are pleased to report that folks in the hard-working Mystics front office were paying as much attention as we were (or more!) to how that one game affected Washington's playoff chances. As Greg Bibb pointed out in his own blog post earlier today (prompting a comment on our post below from one of our loyal readers), last night's Detroit loss means that the Mystics -- cliché alert -- once again control their own destiny! If the Mystics win out, they will finish at 17-17 and will be in the playoffs no matter what any other team does.
Why? Well, Greg explains some of the possibilities. If Detroit wins their remaining games, they'll finish at 18-16, handing the Sky another loss along the way. So the best Chicago could finish would be 16-18 (behind the Mystics in our "win-out" scenario). But if the Sky beat the Shock, and both teams finish at 17-17, the Mystics would still get into the playoffs under the three-way tie scenario. Got that?
There's an even more complicated possibility: not only that the Mystics, Shock and Sky finish in a three-way tie at 17-17, but that the Dream and Sun could join them with that identical record! A five-way tie that we think would be a league record of its own. How? Well, the Mystics win out, beating Atlanta; Connecticut wins out, beating Atlanta; Chicago beats the Shock; and Detroit beats New York. (Are you dizzy yet?) The tie-break for that five-way tie would be "Better winning percentage among all head-to-head games involving tied teams." After looking at the win-loss records of each of those five teams against the other four, we think the Mystics would indeed still make the playoffs provided they win out.
So, now all the Mystics have to do is beat Atlanta on Saturday and New York on Sunday, and Comcast Center here we come. Believe . . . they can do it!
* * * * * * * *
Thursday night update . . . In what was hardly an upset, although it took an overtime period to do it, Detroit defeated New York tonight, and is now 17-16. But in what was an upset, Chicago defeated the conference-leading Fever, to improve to 16-17. (The Sky's leading scorer was Kristi Toliver, who came off the bench and in a little more than 21 minutes put up 19 points. KT was perfect from beyond the arc (3-3) as well as from the free throw line (6-6). She also outscored Tamika Catchings, who in nearly 35 minutes notched 16 points.) So the pressure on the Mystics to win out continues . . .