Let's Talk Tiebreakers

Let's Talk Tiebreakers

The PBC regular season comes to a close on Wednesday and never before have so many teams still had a shot at being one of the top four in their division to earn a spot in the tournament.  Here, we take a division-by-division look at what we know, and what we don't.

Women’s East Division 

Lander is the top seed in the east, Francis Marion will be the #2 seed and UNC Pembroke the #3.  Even if FMU falls into a tie with UNCP, the Patriots will take the #2 thanks to a better in-division record.

Should UNCP fall to FMU and USC Aiken defeat Augusta on Wednesday, UNCP and USCA would be tied at 10-9.  The two teams split their two regular-season games and both would have identical 5-7 in-division records.

UNC Pembroke would take the #3 thanks to a win over top-seeded Lander.  Lander swept USCA in both meetings. 

If Augusta defeats USCA on Wednesday, the Jaguars will be the #4 seed and USCA will be out.  An Augusta win would leave both teams with 9-10 league marks, but Augusta would be 6-6 in divisional play while USCA would be 4-8.   To boil it down: the winner of Wednesday's USCA/Augusta game is in.

Women’s West Division

Columbus State is the top seed from the west with Clayton State #2 and North Georgia #3.

Georgia College has also secured the #4 seed, even if they end in a tie with Georgia Southwestern.  The Bobcats and Hurricanes split their regular-season meetings, but GC owns a 6-6 in-division record, while GSW can finish, at best, 4-8. 

Men’s East Division

Augusta University and UNC Pembroke currently sit tied with 13-5 records.  If both finish the season 14-5, Augusta will take the top seed.  They split their head-to-head meetings, so the tiebreak moves to step two and the best divisional record.  If both should win, then Augusta will have a 9-3 in-division mark compared to UNCP’s 8-4.

Should USC Aiken defeat Augusta and UNCP win, then the Braves will be the top seed and divisional champions.

If USCA defeats Augusta and UNCP falls to Francis Marion, the three teams will be tied at 13-6, bringing in the PBC’s three-team tiebreak formula.

The first step is to look at the combined head-to-head results from all teams involved in the tie.  Under this scenario, all three would be 2-2 against one another as UNCP split with both Augusta and USCA during the season. 

Step two looks at results against the highest-seeded team in the division not involved in the tie, or #4 seed in the east. 

That spot is also up for grabs as Lander holds a one-game lead over Armstrong State and Francis Marion.  To be involved in the three-way tie, FMU will have to beat UNCP.  If Lander falls to Georgia College and Armstrong State beats Flagler, there will be another three-way tie for 4-5-6.  Should that happen, Armstrong State will be the #4 seed thanks to a 3-1 combined record against Lander and FMU.

If Armstrong is #4, then USC Aiken would win a three-way tiebreaker with Augusta and UNCP.  The Pacers swept the Pirates twice while both Augusta and UNCP split. 

If Lander wins on Wednesday and maintains the #4 seed, then UNC Pembroke would be the top seed over USCA and Augusta.  The Braves swept the Bearcats in two games while Lander split with both USCA and Augusta.

Men’s West Division

Five teams will compete for four tournament spots on the final day of the regular season.  The three games we will be paying close attention to are Montevallo at Clayton State, North Georgia at Young Harris and Georgia Southwestern at Columbus State.

The results of those games could lead to anything from a straight 1-4 seed to a five-way tie.  There are eight combinations of results and over 40 possible scenarios that could play out.  That’s too many to attempt a specific breakdown, but there are some things to keep in mind:

  • North Georgia swept Montevallo in both head-to-head matchups this season.  If UNG wins on Wednesday, they will be the top seed regardless of whatever else happens.
  • If there is a five-way tie, Clayton State will be the top seed in the west.  The Lakers would be 5-3 against the other four teams in the tie. Clayton State swept both Columbus State and North Georgia this year.
  • The PBC three-way tiebreaker only finds the team at the top.  Once that team is identified, the remaining teams begin the tiebreak process all over again from step 1.  This process continues until the field is seeded.

The brackets for the PBC men's and women's basketball tournament will be released on Wednesday night following the conclusion of play.