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WVU Big 12 Tournament Seeding: How To Not Play Baylor

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This tiebreaker stuff is a mess, so let's go through exactly how West Virginia could avoid playing Baylor in the conference tournament.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of this season, WVU has been able to beat (or at least compete) with every team in the conference... except Baylor. West Virginia just does not match up well against the Baylor Bears and, if the conference tournament started today, the Mountaineers would be playing them.

currentbig12bracket

currentbig12standings

Kansas, Texas Tech, and TCU are the only teams depicted in their respective spots because they are the only ones locked into seeds. The other seven teams in the Big 12 have something to play for between now and Saturday. What also comes into play are the Big 12 tiebreaker rules. You thought football was bad?

Tiebreakers. The first criteria in the breaking of ties in the standings shall be head-to-head competition of tied teams. The following procedure will be used to establish the postseason championship seeds when ties exist.


  1. Ties Involving Two Teams.

    1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular season.

    2. Each team's record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings, and then continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

      When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group's own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.

    3. A comparison of the tied teams Conference-games only road record. 

    4. A comparison of the tied teams Conference-games only road record vs. the team(s) occupying the highest position in the final Conference regular season standings, and then continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

      When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group's own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.

    5. Draw. In the event tiebreaking procedures are unsuccessful and a draw is necessary in determining any portion of seeding, the following procedure will be used:

      1. The draw will be conducted in public or with media attendance. 
      2. Institutions involved in the drawing have the right to have a local representative in attendance at the drawing. 
      3. A single slip of paper for each institution (with name or logo) will be placed into a container and will be drawn in order of seeding from highest to lowest.

That's just for scenarios that are between two teams. Three or more?

  1. Ties Involving More than Two Teams.

    1. Results of collective head-to-head competition during the regular season among the tied teams (mini round-robin).

    2. If more than two teams are still tied, each of the tied team's record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings, and then continuing down through the standings, eliminating tied teams with inferior records until one team gains an advantage.

      When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group's own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.

    3. If more than two teams are still tied, a comparison of the tied teams Conference-games only road record. 

    4. If more than two teams are still tied, a comparison of the tied teams Conference-games only road record vs. the team(s) occupying the highest position in the final Conference regular season standings, and then continuing down through the standing until one team gains an advantage.

      When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group's own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.

    5. If at any point the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie- breaking procedures above will be applied. 

    6. Once a team is eliminated from a multi-team comparison, it is dropped from further comparisons.

That's a lot to digest all at once. Let's break it down from just the two-team perspective. Iowa State and Oklahoma are currently tied in the standings at 11-6. Iowa State and Oklahoma also split their series, but the Cyclones are 1-1 against Kansas while OU are 0-1. Advantage Cyclones. Not that complicated for the two teams scenarios, but the multi-team thing is where it gets ridiculous. We'll get back to this. Let's stay on course with West Virginia.

The Mountaineers' path in the tournament not only depends on how their outcome against Oklahoma State, but it also hinges on the results of Texas Tech @ Baylor, Iowa State @ TCU, and Kansas @ Oklahoma. With the four games, there are 16 possible outcomes ..... so let's break them down in the WVU point of view.

1-7. All the ways nothing changes: Everyone Wins; Everyone Loses; West Virginia Loses, Baylor Loses (Oklahoma, Iowa State N/A); Oklahoma Wins, Iowa State Wins (WVU, Baylor N/A) : #4/5 WVU Plays #4/5 Baylor

All of these possibilities make it so that no ground is lost between the upper two (Oklahoma, Iowa State) and the lower two (West Virginia, Baylor.) It's not that nothing changes for everyone else, but from where WVU is sitting, they would always play Baylor. So that knocks out seven of the possible 16 outcomes. 9 left. Let's do the simpler ones first.

8. West Virginia Wins, Baylor Loses, Oklahoma Loses, Iowa State Wins: #3 WVU Plays #6 TBD

ISU 12-6

WVU 11-7

OU 11-7

BU 10-8

Iowa State clinches the two seed and Baylor is locked in at 5. OU and WVU split the series, but the Mountaineers went 1-1 against the Jayhawks while OU goes 0-2 against them. West Virginia jumps Oklahoma and plays whoever gets the #6 seed. Oklahoma plays Baylor.

9. West Virginia Wins, Baylor Loses, Oklahoma Wins, Iowa State Loses: #4 WVU Plays #5 Baylor

OU 12-6

ISU 11-7

WVU 11-7

BU 10-8

Oklahoma clinches the two seed and Baylor clinches 5, as before. However, the Cyclones swept the Mountaineers, so ISU would be locked in at #3 and West Virginia plays the 5 seed Baylor.

10. West Virginia Loses, Baylor Wins, Oklahoma Loses, Iowa State Wins:  #5 WVU Plays #4 Oklahoma

ISU 12-6

BU 11-7

OU 11-7

WVU 10-8

Iowa State clinches the two seed and West Virginia locks in at 5. Oklahoma and Baylor split their series and both went 0-2 against Kansas. We move down the standings to Iowa State where Baylor swept the Cyclones and the Sooners went 1-1. Baylor jumps Oklahoma to get the #3 seed and #4 Oklahoma plays #5 West Virginia.

11. West Virginia Loses, Baylor Wins, Oklahoma Wins, Iowa State Loses:  #5 WVU Plays #4 Iowa State

OU 12-6

BU 11-7

ISU 11-7

WVU 10-8

Oklahoma clinches the two seed and West Virginia locks in at 5. Baylor swept Iowa State, so they get the #3 seed and #4 Iowa State plays #5 West Virginia.

MULTI-TEAM TIE
12. West Virginia Wins, Baylor Loses, Oklahoma Loses, Iowa State Loses:  #4 WVU Plays #5 Baylor

ISU 11-7

OU 11-7

WVU 11-7

BU 10-8

Time for that three-team round robin. Baylor is booted to 5. WVU went 1-3 against the other two, OU went 2-2, ISU went 3-1. WVU is moved down to #4, OU #3, ISU #2.

13. West Virginia Loses, Baylor Wins, Oklahoma Loses, Iowa State Loses:  #5 WVU Plays #4 Iowa State

BU 11-7

OU 11-7

ISU 11-7

WVU 10-8

West Virginia is booted to 5. Baylor went 3-1 against the other two, OU went 2-2, ISU went 1-3. WVU is moved down to #5, Baylor jumps to #2 followed by OU at #3 and ISU at #4. #5 WVU plays #4 ISU.

14. West Virginia Wins, Baylor Wins, Oklahoma Wins, Iowa State Loses: #5 WVU Plays #4 Iowa State

OU 12-6

BU 11-7

ISU 11-7

WVU 11-7

Oklahoma clinches #2. West Virginia went 0-4 against the other two, BU went 4-0, ISU went 2-2. Baylor moves to #3, ISU to #4, and WVU to #5.  #5 WVU plays #4 ISU.

15. West Virginia Wins, Baylor Wins, Oklahoma Loses, Iowa State Wins: #5 WVU Plays #4 Oklahoma

ISU 12-6

BU 11-7

OU 11-7

WVU 11-7

Iowa State clinches #2. West Virginia went 1-3 against the other two, BU went 3-1, OU went 2-2. Baylor moves to #3, OU to #4, and WVU to #5.  #5 WVU plays #4 ISU.

16. West Virginia Wins, Baylor Wins, Oklahoma Loses, Iowa State Loses: #5 West Virginia Plays #4 Oklahoma

BU 11-7

ISU 11-7

OU 11-7

WVU 11-7

Four team round robin. West Virginia went 1-5 against the other three, BU went 5-1, ISU went 3-3, OU went 3-3. Baylor moves to #2 and West Virginia moves to #5. Iowa State maintains a better record against Kansas, so ISU to #3 and OU to #4.  #5 WVU plays #4 OU.

Summary:

Theoretically, WVU has a 7/16 chance of, yeah, not playing Baylor on that Thursday. The interesting one is if all the right chips fall into place, West Virginia can move up the ladder to the #3 seed. Then, there is a whole other list of possibilities for whom that #6 seed opponent might be and there is no way in hell I'm doing that. I leave you with this: Nested if statements are for Communists.