Manchester just clinched the divisional title which means if Halifax or Vermont want to get into the play offs it will be a fight for one of the wild card spots.
So here is basically how things need to break down for Halifax to get the wild card spot to play a one game play off to make the post season (most likely against Rochester or Wilmington):
Halifax need to win TWO more of the remain games than Vermont do since Vermont hold the tie breaker. Remaining games:
Vermont: Quebec, Montreal, Quebec, Buffalo (Best possible record: 14-6)
Halifax: Buffalo, Manchester, Montreal and Montreal again (assuming that game that was postponed gets played) (Best possible record: 13-7)
So basically Vermont need to lose two games that on paper they should win and Halifax need to win a game that on paper they should lose. I just don’t see it likely happening. Halifax did win their last home game against the Millrats (an absolutely thrilling Thursday night game) and the roster changes that the two teams have undergone since then actually make me think that Halifax have gotten better while Manchester have maybe slightly regressed – so I see Halifax as actually having a better than 50% chance of pulling that one out. But I don’t know which two of those games I can see Vermont losing: Montreal’s new roster is an absolute disaster, and Buffalo have the worst record in the PBL (with a chance to finish with the worst record in league history). Quebec might be able to win one of those games if they’re firing on all cylinders, but two? I just don’t know.
There is another, very unlikely scenario which is Halifax and Vermont both making the wildcard game by virtue of one of the two contending Eastern Conference teams (Wilmington and Rochester) having a melt down.
The Sea Dawgs (12-4) have three games remaining and could possibly finish 12-7 if they lose to Rochester (possible) and then drop both games to Detroit (not so likely but not impossible).
Rochester have a whopping 7 games left and could theoretically finish 9-10 if they lost every single game… more plausible would be losses to Augusta and Buffalo (plus a win vs. Augusta, a win against Chicago, one against Wilmington and two wins against Buffalo) which would leave them at 13-6.
Flip that game between the two teams and you can switch their records around. Materially it’s the same thing in terms of its affect on Halifax and Vermont.
This would put Rochester or Wilmington in the play offs and the other team on the outside looking in with Halifax and Vermont playing in Vermont for the wildcard spot by virtue of having higher win percentages. The major problem with this scenario is that both Rochester and Wilmington have only 19 games on their schedules by virtue of other teams running poorly. Rochester have a game that was supposed to be played against the now defunct Mid-Michigan Destroyers, and Wilmington have a game which may or may not be re-played against Montreal. Both games were easy wins for the Eastern Division team. It would be an absolute disaster for the league to have a team not make the play offs because they couldn’t finish their schedule due to no fault of their own.
Solution: Wilmington should play Rochester. That way each team plays a full 20 game schedule and whether they make the play offs or not is in their own hands.
So the reader’s digest version of this post: Halifax need to win every game and at least one of its rivals needs to lose multiple games that they should win. As fans all we can do is go out to games and cheer them on, hoping for wins. It doesn’t look good on paper but fortunately for the Rainmen, basketball isn’t played on paper.