Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Postseason Redux

Two weeks ago, I looked at NU's postseason possibilities. At 12-12 overall and 5-6 in conference, there was some enthusiasm from fans and the punditariat for Northwestern's chances to make the NIT and even the NCAA. Unfortunately, the 'Cats have dropped four straight since then, which has pretty much killed all talk of NU in the postseason as far as I can tell.

Fret not, fellow Wildcat fans, for there remains a glimmer of hope. Four wins in four days in Indianapolis, however unlikely, would guarantee NU's first-ever trip to the dance. There are also scenarios in which the 'Cats could make the CBI or possibly the NIT. I made this chart to show every possible post-B1G Tourney record and the concomitant post-season possibilities.

There are 20 possible final records for the 'Cats. I treated the last three regular season games as one lump, since I don't think it makes much difference to the postseason chances how those games play out individually. Obviously, these 20 outcomes are not equally likely. My guess is that 1-2 in the regular season and 0-1/1-1 in the B1G Tourney are the most likely finishes.

Nevertheless, I was somewhat surprised to see that there are more scenarios in which NU would likely make some postseason tournament than not. My suspicion two weeks ago was that NU had a better shot at the NCAA tourney than the NIT; I think this chart bears that out.

In summary, here's how I see NU's overall postseason possibilities.

I still think the 'Cats will be done when they leave Indy, but they still have something to play for this season. No need to pack it in and wait for next year just yet.

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