The Power Rankings continue after an epic Labor Day weekend of 30+ games! After examining the Atlantic Conference, now we see where the Pacific Conference stands with only two weeks to go in the regular season. In addition to updated power rankings, we’ll examine results from the model’s 10,000 simulations of the remainder of the season, and how this weekend’s matches might impact the playoff race – remember, only the top two teams in each division will qualify for the post-season.
Over in the Pacific Conference, Labor Day weekend featured the only opportunity for cross-over action between the Western and Central Divisions this season. All in all, 17 of the 21 scheduled matches were played, with rain spoiling Saturday’s action in St. Louis. It was a competitive weekend, with the Central taking 10 of the 17 matches.
The cross-over matches allow us to put the entire Pacific Conference in one set of rankings, with a fairly equitable split between Central and West up and down the lineup. The East Bay Blazers have the best NRR in all of Minor League Cricket, and the model rewards those dominating performances with the #1 spot in the Pacific. The Michigan Cricket Stars came away from their matches against the West with a couple wins-against the top-spot Blazers and the Seattle Thunderbolts. Michigan takes the two spot, and the rest of the playoff contenders from the Central and West are close behind.
Taking a closer look at the Central Division, we have a playoff race that is effectively down to three teams: Austin, Houston, and Michigan. Irving are mathematically alive, but a difficult schedule and NRR deficit make it unlikely that they’ll sneak into one of the two playoff positions. Austin and Houston have advantages on points and Houston has a game in hand over Michigan, who are lurking not far behind.
The meaningful matches in the Central this week are down in Texas, where Houston play Irving on Saturday and Austin on Sunday. Houston are favorites vs the Mustangs with a 30% swing in playoff qualification probability at stake. On Sunday, it’s a coin flip and vital match for both teams, as Austin can clinch a playoff spot with a win. Michigan have a bye this week and will close out their season with a couple matches against the Chicago Blasters next week. Michigan will be hoping for losses from Houston this weekend to have the easiest path to the playoffs.
In the Western Division, the favorites for playoff spots as it stands are the Golden State Grizzlies and East Bay Blazers. The Silicon Valley Strikers are currently tied for first on points with Golden State, but Golden State and East Bay have games in hand and significant NRR advantages.
There are plenty of impactful matches in the West this weekend. On Saturday, the Seattle Thunderbolts take on East Bay and Golden State, the model’s preferred playoff teams. Seattle will have the opportunity to play spoiler as clear underdogs in both matches. A ~20% swing in playoff probability is at stake for East Bay and Golden State. On Sunday, East Bay and Golden State face off in a huge match, where the winner may have a chance to nearly cement a play-off spot, pending Saturday’s results. Seattle will then finish off the trio of Northern California matches in what should be a competitive clash against Silicon Valley, who are fighting for their playoff life.
The Central’s play-off picture will get a little clearer this weekend with Austin and Houston looking to lock down play-off positions. Out West, East Bay and Golden State will face off in a massively important match on Sunday after each taking on Seattle the day before.