Monday, October 24, 2011

Kansas 6A District 4

The playoff scenarios for our high school team's district are outlined here by Tod Palmer of the Star:

The standings in district play today are

Team                        Record  Point Differential
Free State Firebirds        2 - 0   +11
Olathe Northwest Ravens     1 - 1   + 7
Lawrence Chesty Lions       1 - 1   - 4
Olathe North Eagles         0 - 2   -14 

Just to give it an ONW perspective....

If ONW can win by a single point over Olathe North on Friday night, they would be 2-1 in district, moving to +8 on points.  Obviously North would be out of the playoffs at 0-3 and -15.

I wondered if there was any way that ONW would NOT make the playoffs if they won. I looked at several Lawrence-Wins-and-ONW-Wins-by-1 scenarios to answer the question, since those outcomes create three 2-1 teams at the top of the table.

  • If Lawrence beats Free State by 1 point, the Lions, Firebirds, and Ravens would all be 2-1. Free State would be the #1 seed (2-1, +10) and ONW would be the #2 (2-1, +8). Lawrence would be out at 2-1 because their point margin would only climb to -3.
  • If Lawrence scores a big victory against Free State (13 points or more being the max differential that is recorded in district play) then Lawrence could be the #1 seed at 2-1 +9. ONW with a 1 point win would be 2nd at 2-1 +8, and the Firebirds would be out, falling to 2-1 but all the way down to -2 on the all-important point differential.
  • If Lawrence scores a 12 point victory over Free State, and ONW can beat Olathe North by just that single point, then Lawrence and ONW would be tied in point differential at the top of the district table. To break that tie, the head to head would be used, and ONW would be the #1 seed. Lawrence would at that point win the marginal point tiebreaker (and the head to head) with Free State. (Lawrence's magic margin number is 8... they need to win by that much to have ANY shot to get in if ONW wins.)
There is NO scenario I can see that keeps ONW out of the playoffs if they win on Friday night. Win and they're in. So in the immortal words of Al Davis, Just Win Baby.

A few other scenarios worth the knowing going in:
  • Free State wins the district if they win over Lawrence.
  • Olathe North can't win the district. They are the only team that can't win the district at this point. 
  • The Eagles can be second and in the playoffs at the expense of ONW if they win by 11 or more and Free State wins by any margin. In that scenario, three teams are 1-2.  Lawrence's point differential would be no better than -5, while ONW and ON would be 1-2 and -4 on points. ON would win the head-to-head tie-breaker or point differential and become the #2 seed. Eagles fans have to root for Free State and hope their boys pound the Ravens.
  • Olathe Northwest can lose by 10 or less and back into the playoffs IF Free State prevails, creating three 1-2 teams that have all beaten each other.
  • If Lawrence wins and Olathe North wins, the two Lawrence teams are in the playoffs, and the Olathe teams stay home.
  • Mathematically speaking, there are 676 potential outcomes that matter in terms of pairs of winners and the two games point differentials (1 to 13+). There are 169 point differential combinations for each winning pair outcome, and there are four potential winning pairs of teams. Using that info, the statistical likelihood of each team making the playoffs:
    • Free State - 88.46%
    • Olathe Northwest - 69.23%
    • Lawrence - 36.54%
    • Olathe North - 5.77%
  • All that said - mathematics probably don't mean much. Without Strauss, Lawrence may not get to 8 points, much less beat Free State by 8. Olathe North has a serious chance to be the #2 seed in the district with a two touchdown win over the Ravens. 
So Olathe North fans will root for Free State. Lawrence fans will root for Olathe North. Free State will want to take care of business, think positively, and not care who wins the other game.

As a Raven fan, root for a 4 to 12 point Lawrence win if you're sure the Ravens will beat Olathe North. That will get us the #1 seed and a strong chance to win a playoff game for the first time in program history. Or if you're a glass-half-empty type, root for Free State and hope to trade touchdowns with Olathe North. Just stay within 10, and we're in the playoffs again.

Mostly though - Just Win Baby.

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