Friday, September 11, 2009

Watch Your Step!

As we reported in our update last night to our previous post, Detroit picked up another win yesterday (by beating New York in overtime), and so did Chicago, upsetting Conference-leading Indiana. So what do those wins mean for the Mystics' playoff chances?

Well, as we established yesterday, if the Mystics win both of their remaining games this weekend, they will make the playoffs. That won't change between now and Sunday, no matter what. However, with two of their rivals winning last night, a Mystics mis-step at this point could be very very costly indeed.

The BasketCases hate to even contemplate a Mystics loss this weekend, but the still-complicated, still-tight playoff race begs the question: can the Mystics lose a game and still make it into the playoffs? Well, yes . . . but. There's always a "but" isn't there? In this case, the "but" is that the Mystics have to lose the "right" game (and two rivals have to lose as well).

Here are the current possibilities:

1. (Our favorite scenario!) The Mystics win out, finishing with a record of 17-17: they make the playoffs. Yay!

2. (Our least favorite scenario.) Either the Sky (now at 16-17) or the Sun (now at 15-17) win out and the Mystics (now at 15-17) lose either of their two remaining games: the Mystics are out of the playoffs. Boo!

3. (The most brain-numbing scenario.) The Sky lose their last game (to Detroit), finishing at 16-18, and the Sun lose one of their two games (either to Atlanta or Indy), also finishing at 16-18. If that happens, the Mystics could afford to lose to Atlanta New York (the "right" loss) as long as they beat New York Atlanta. They'd still be in. But the reverse is not true . . . if they beat lose to Atlanta (the "wrong" loss) and then lose to beat New York, season over! Here's why:

a) In a three way tie among the Mystics, Sky, and Sun, Connecticut would drop out because both Washington and Chicago have better head-to-head records (2-1) against them.

b) To break the tie between the Mystics and Sky, we'd first go to conference record, which would be an identical 10-12, so then we'd have to go the next tie-breaker, which (as our loyal readers know by now) is "better winning percentage against all teams with a .500 or better record at the end of the season." Though the season hasn't ended yet, it's close enough that we can determine how this might play out. At the moment, the Mystics have a 5-9 record against the five teams with records at or above .500 (Indy, Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix and Seattle), with one game to play against Atlanta. Chicago's record against the same teams is 6-8, with a game left against Detroit. This means that the Mystics and the Sky could both finish with 16-18 records, and 6-9 records against those teams . . .but only if Washington beats Atlanta. (A win against below .500 New York doesn't help.) So if the Mystics get that critical above .500 win . . . Tied again!

Does the WNBA have a fourth tie-break for that scenario? Of course! It's "better point differential in games involving tied teams." (Here comes the good news!) In their four head-to-head games, the Mystics scored a total of 305 points, while the Sky scored 296. Advantage (and tie-break) to the Mystics by 9 points! The Mystics get in. Whew!

Complicated? You bet! That's why the safest scenario, of course, is for the Mystics to simply go out and beat Atlanta and beat New York. One step in the wrong direction leaves open the possibility that Washington could drop out of the playoff race. And with just one mis-step at this point, the Mystics could find themselves a long (long!) way down.

Go Mystics . . . WIN OUT!

* * * * * * * * * *

Friday night update . . .a couple of firsts . . . Atlanta beat Connecticut this evening, 88-64. This win secured the Dream's first playoff berth in their short history. It also eliminated the Sun from the playoffs, the first time in Connecticut's history that it will not be playing in the post-season. Congratulations to the Dream on making the playoffs. (And congratulations also to Detroit, which was idle tonight but locked up a playoff berth with Connecticut's loss.)

Need a bus? The Mystics announced late today that if they make the playoffs, they'll be providing free, round-trip shuttle bus service from Metro's College Park station to Comcast Center for any playoff games played there. This is a good, smart move by the Mystics!


At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After yesterday's game, I CANNOT figure out why Kristi is not getting more playing time. I'm not a big Maryland fan, so I'd like to think that I'm not biased... But seriously, she has been going off lately when her 3p shot is on(22, 25, and 19 points) and there are STILL games where Coach Key doesn't put her in?? At least give her 5 minutes to see if her shot is on! <\RANT>


At 10:37 AM, Blogger fr mike said...


At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristi's coach is a flaming idiot who should be canned immediately. It's no surprise that KT's tweets have referenced feeling down lately...who wouldn't working for such an imbecile?!?

I am wondering if the KT playing time issue is personal, actually. Thoughts?

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Kristi but Chicago must lose!!! Go Mystics - let's make it uncomplicated and win!!

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It very weird that some games she gets 0 minutes especially because she has proved she can score. That's crazy..., why draft her if you aren't going to play her atleast 10-15 minutes a game to back up their starting PG or 2 guard? I wonder if it is personal. It's odd... I will admit that I am biased....I only started watching the Mystics because of Crystal and Marissa. Too bad she isn't on the Mystics backing up Lindsay.

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is AB still considered a time-limited player? Feel DC could win w/o her if everyone brings A plus game, but w/Ajavon's inconsistency, would prefer AB at helm. She did hit two 3s in limited play last game...Hoping Planck is into half-truths.

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article from the Washington Times said her ankle is feeling "much better". I bet she plays. I guess she hasn't practiced much the last few weeks. I agree, would feel more comfortable with AB at the helm. We need all players to step up they did against Seattle at home.

At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if Washington wins out, they won't make the playoffs if Chicago beats Detroit. Chicago would win based on their record against teams finishing at .500 or better.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous immediately above:

Sorry, but you have used the wrong tie-breaker to determine how a three-way tie among Washington, Detroit, and Chicago would be broken if the Mystics win out and Chicago beats Detroit (putting all three at 17-17).

The first tie-break used when three or more teams are tied is "better winning percentage among all head-to-head games involving tied teams." Here, DC and Detroit would finish with a 4-3 record in the head-to-head games among these three teams, while Chicago would finish 3-5 and thus be eliminated from the playoffs.

The tie-break involving records against teams at or above .500 is used as the third tie-break, if necessary.

The tie-break rules are on the WNBA web site, here:

As no less an authority than Greg Bibb has stated this week, if the Mystics win out, they are in the playoffs, no matter what happens with any other team.

-- BC

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think that you mixed up scenario #3. We can lose to NY (if CHI loses to DET) but MUST beat ATL, right?

Thanks to ATL for winning vs. CON tonight... They're in and clinched at #2 (I think).


At 9:51 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are correct, our brains have been addled by too much stat crunching! Thanks for catching this. We had it right in our brains and on our work sheet (as you can tell by paragraph 3(b), but reversed the names of the teams in the intro to paragrah 3.

To recap, in scenario three, Washington could afford to lose to NY, but must win against Atlanta tomorrow.

We've corrected the post. Thanks again!

-- BC


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