A North's Musical Chairs
It's the final day of the regular season. Normally, this is pretty chaotic, but this year is pretty settled. Except, of course, for the A North Boys, which has 4 teams fighting for 3 spots. (The A North girls are very settled). So let's run through this before I get another 15 emails.
From yesterday's update:
1. The Top 4 are set.
Cony and Hampden will be the 1/2. Lawrence and Mount Blue will be the 3/4. Easy enough.
2. Erskine is done.
The Eagles have finished their schedule. They're probably the 5 seed, but they could slip all the way to 7. Basically, they'll either be scouting a potential first-round matchup and/or refreshing Twitter a lot. (Tip: notifications!)
3. Medomak Gets Free Points
Medomak still isn't in with 12 wins, which has never happened under the current format (Madawaska missed the tourney at 10-8 in 2008, per @TheStatsGuy262).
One of the benefits of 12 wins is you tend to have a lot of help points. They're going to add a minimum of 4.94 to their Heal Points, no matter what. They have 2 wins against Camden and 1 against Morse. They play each other. They've beaten Gardiner and Lincoln Academy twice each. They play each other. No one else in this mess has any guaranteed Help Points. Which means that Medomak will pass Messalonskee via Help Points and move into the 6. That's important.
4. Win and You're (Probably) In
Here's the matchups for these 4 teams, along with what the Model thinks their chances are.
Messalonskee @ Cony (22.8%)
Medomak @ Oceanside (29.9%)
Skowhegan vs. Lawrence (42.5%)
Brewer vs. Mt. Blue (38.6%)
No one is a favorite, but everyone controls their own destiny, except for Brewer. If Brewer wins, they're in 97.6% of the time. If everyone wins, Brewer likely stays home, unless they can manage to thread the needle of help points. Like they did last year. None of these opponents are locked into their seed, so they all have something to play for.
Let's say everyone loses and the help points fail. Medomak passes Messalonskee for the 6. Brewer stays home.
Messalonskee was pretty much in 2 weeks ago, so much so that we weren't even listing them in polls on Twitter. Since then, they've lost 3 straight. Now they have to finish with a Cony team no one wants to play. Honestly, I could see them being the team that stays home. On the flip side of that, Medomak has won 6 of 7. Brewer and Skowhegan have won 3 of 4. I wouldn't assume any of those teams will be an easy out in the tourney.
7. Help Wins
When you're looking at Help Points, the big thing is what I like to think of as "clean wins". Basically, if you beat a team no one else beat. In a 4-way race, that's pretty complex. But there's more clean wins than you think. Medomak has Lincoln Academy (x2), Morse, Mt. Ararat, and Gardiner. Messalonskee has Brewer and Waterville. Brewer has Cony and Skowhegan. Skowhegan has Winslow. Remember those guaranteed Medomak points? Some of them are clean. If, for example, Morse beats Camden, those are clean points. But if Camden wins, that'll help Brewer as well. Confused yet? Maybe this will help. Teams highlighted in green are clean. Teams in red help everyone (and no one). Teams that aren't highlighted help some teams and not others.
So who's getting in?
The beauty of this is it'll be decided on the court. Everyone can essentially play their way in. Medomak has the biggest buffer. They get in 92.8% of the time with a loss. Messalonskee gets in 87% of the time and Skowhegan 66%. Brewer: 0%. The question is, can Brewer pull off another upset? And can the other 3 teams afford to assume they won't?