The final week of the season is upon us! It’s hard to believe we’re here already, but there’s still plenty of cricket to be played this weekend, with the playoff picture still to be finalized in all four divisions. Tom Nielsen returns with updated Power Rankings for the Atlantic Conference (view yesterday’s Pacific Conference rankings here), then dives into finishing probabilities as well as playoff scenarios for each team involved. Finally, Tom offers up a brief viewing guide for each division for the weekend, and what results you might hope for if you’re on “Team Chaos” and want to see high drama in the final matches.
The power rankings in the Atlantic continue to show the model’s appreciation for the Empire State Titans, who widen their gap at the top as the best team in the Conference. A couple of losses to the Atlanta teams drop Morrisville – feeling the effects of losing Jaskaran Malhotra to Team USA duty – down the rankings to 6th, still comfortably ahead of the rest of their division.
Out East, we have a relatively complex set of scenarios mathematically, but the model says the most likely outcome is a finishing order of the Empire State Titans in first, New Jersey Stallions second, and The Philadelphians third. Here’s a current look at the probabilities, and then we’ll dive into some scenarios.
The Empire State Titans and New Jersey Stallions control their own destiny in the East. Win out, and they’ll both make the playoffs regardless of other results. With a strong NRR advantage, the Titans will take first if they remain tied on points with the Stallions, so New Jersey will need to win a game more than the Titans to take first.
The Philadelphians will need some help to get into the playoffs. The most likely way in: On Saturday, the Stallions fall to the Yorkers and The Philadelphians beat the New England Eagles. This would set up a wonderful winner-takes-all match on Sunday between The Philadelphians and the Stallions: winner goes to the playoffs, loser misses out. The Philadelphians have a chance of getting first if this scenario happens and the Titans lose their final two matches (~1% probability of this).
Lastly, the Manhattan Yorkers do have a mathematical chance of getting to the playoffs. To simply tie for a playoff spot on points, the Yorkers need a perfect set of results – the probability of this occurring is 0.86% – from the 6 matches in the East. Even if they do tie on points, they’d need to climb an absolute mountain on NRR on some combination of the Titans, Stallions and The Philadelphians. Given that The Philadelphians and Titans play the last-place Eagles, this turn of events is unlikely.
Here’s a little viewing guide to the weekend’s matches by time slot.
On Saturday morning, the Yorkers play the Hawks while the Eagles play the Titans. The Titans are heavy favorites and would clinch a playoff spot (assuming no NRR shocks) with a win, while the Yorkers need to win as slight underdogs to keep their remote chances alive.
On Saturday afternoon, the Yorkers wrap up a doubleheader with a match against the Stallions, who could nearly clinch a playoff spot themselves with a win. The Philadelphians will be favorites against the Eagles. A Stallions loss and Philadelphians win (a set of events with a 20% probability) would set up the aforementioned winner-take-all match the next day. If The Philadelphians and Stallions both win, it might be time to break out the NRR calculators, as The Philadelphians could pass the Stallions on NRR with a thumping win on Sunday, depending on scores Saturday.
Finally, the East wraps up with Yorkers v Titans and The Philadelphians v Stallions on Sunday. The Titans will be strong favorites against the Yorkers in a match that has only a remote chance of having playoff implications. For a neutral, hopefully The Philadelphians and Stallions carries meaning into Sunday, and Stallions would be slight favorites.
The playoff picture in the South is much cleaner than in the East. Currently, the Atlanta Fire and Morrisville Cardinals occupy the playoff spots in the top two. This weekend sees the Atlanta teams playing each other: once on Saturday and once on Sunday.
The situation here is simple: If the Param Veers take both matches, they will qualify for the playoffs ahead of the Cardinals. Any other result would see the Cardinals hold onto the final playoff spot, including a No Result, as the Cardinals have a decent NRR advantage on the Param Veers. The model gives the Param Veers a 27% chance to beat the Fire in each match, so it’s a ~7% chance that the Param Veers get past the Cardinals into the playoffs.
Minor League Cricket is saving the best for last, with playoff races still being decided on the final weekend in both the East and the South. To set up optimal final-day chaos on Sunday, a neutral would want to see the Stallions lose on Saturday along with wins for The Philadelphians and Param Veers. Happy watching (live on YouTube)!