Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday championship and NCAA bid scenarios


Note:  To the best of our knowledge, and after carefully reviewing the MW rule book regarding softball tiebreak procedures, we believe this information to be correct, but it is possible that there may be an error.  In other words, don't make any plane reservations to an NCAA regional based on what you're reading here. 

While San Diego State clinched at least a tie for the Mountain West title on Friday, as many as four teams can join the Aztecs Saturday.  Fresno State, UNLV and Colorado State can all tie for the Mountain West championship, and all three can win the automatic NCAA berth that goes to the winner.  Boise State can not win the automatic berth, but the Broncos can still win a share of their first MW softball championship in school history with a win Saturday.

The scenarios:

San Diego State wins the automatic NCAA bid if ...

it beats Boise State on Saturday.  If the Aztecs sweep the 3-game series, they're headed to the NCAA tournament and win the MW title outright, regardless of what happens elsewhere.  If SDSU loses to Boise State, the Aztecs still earn the automatic bid if Fresno State loses to Nevada AND UNLV loses to Utah State.

Fresno State wins the automatic NCAA bid if ...

it beats Nevada on Saturday AND Boise State beats San Diego State.  The Bulldogs win each tiebreak scenario that involves a 3-, 4-, or 5-way tie for the title.

UNLV wins the automatic NCAA bid if ...

it beats Utah State on Saturday AND Boise State beats San Diego State AND Nevada beats Fresno State AND Colorado State loses at least once to San Jose State.

Colorado State wins the automatic NCAA bid if ...

it beats San Jose State twice on Saturday AND Boise State beats San Diego State AND Nevada beats Fresno State AND UNLV beats Utah State.  In an odd twist, the Rams need UNLV to win to create a 4-way tie for the title because the only way Colorado State can claim the automatic bid is with a 4-way tie that consists of itself, along with UNLV, San Diego State and Boise State.  In that grouping, CSU would have gone 6-3 vs. the others, while SDSU and UNLV both would have gone 5-4, and Boise State 2-7.  Once the Broncos had been eliminated with the worst composite record versus the others, UNLV would then eliminate San Diego State by virtue of the Rebels' 2 to 1 series win over the Aztecs, leaving Colorado State and UNLV.  In the head-to-head matchup between those two, the Rams beat the Rebels 2 to 1.  Thus, Colorado State wins the automatic NCAA bid.