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Euroleague: Week 14 playoff possibilities

The last time Caja and Siena got together, Siena won 85:74 at home. Thursday the two match up again in a pivotal contest in Vitoria.

As the Euroleague Top 16 Week 13 games started wrapping up and the scores were entering into various league standings applications, one thing became clear as it related to Group F, Nothing is clear with the exception of 12-1 FC Barcelona Regal finishing in the top spot regardless of the outcome of their contest with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. That top spot gives Barça home court advantage and the ability to rest easy on Wednesday night. As for the five other clubs in that are still in the hunt for one of the remaining three playoff spots, there has got to be a few that lost some sleep last night.

The five Group F clubs battling for spots and position are Maccabi Electra, Olympiacos, Khimki, Caja Laboral, and Montepaschi Siena. Of the five, Maccabi Electra is the only club that is safe in the knowledge that regardless of Thursday’s outcome, they are in, but they could finish in second, third or fourth, depending on a number of scenarios. For the other four, depending on what happens in the three games with playoff implications, they could finish second through sixth. In or out, but forget any thoughts of it being easy, with the three games to be played, the number of possibilities is quite extensive, as will be outlined below.

The most amazing fact of the week is that whomever drew up the schedule for the Top 16 games had to have had some divine intervention (if you believe in such a thing), was incredibly brilliant in picking which teams would finish after Week 13 in the top six places of Group F, or got unbelievably lucky (our money is on option three…). As the schedule played out, and the Week 14 matchups stand, No. 1 (Regal) plays No. 2 (Maccabi), No. 3 (Olympiacos) plays No. 4 (Khimki), No. 5 (Caja) plays No. 6 (Siena), and No. 7 (Fenerbahce) plays No. 8 (Besiktas). Seriously, what are the odds…

So, here’s where it gets tricky (trust us on this one, the spreadsheet and notes involved in the following have taken four days to compile and there’s a 100% chance that even after all the checks and rechecks that it’s all wrong…), with two teams at 8-5 and three at 7-6 and all five playing each other, the tie-break possibilities are mind boggling. The three games have eight possible outcomes (team 1, team 3, and team 5 win; team 1, team 3, team 6 win; team 1, team 4, team 5 win; team 1, team 4, team 6 win; repeat with team 2 winning, gives a total of eight). As we dug into how the standings would look in each situation and started looking at the tie-break possibilities, some were simple, such as a head-to-head series were even thought the teams split the pair of games, one team had a higher point differential. In other cases, such as the nightmare that occurs if Regal beats Maccabi, Khimki beats Olympiacos, and Caja beats Siena. In that situation, four teams, Khimki, Maccabi, Olympiacos and Caja all will have 8-6 records. The first tie-break is the records each team has in games with the other three (in other words, throw all results out that don’t include head-to-head games between the four tied clubs). In that this situation, all four teams have 3-3 records. Tie-break two is point differential (PD) in those six games. That pulls Khimki out to the No. 2 spot as they have a large PD in the group of four. The rest depends on by how much Olympiacos loses by. Should they lose by 18, they fall into a tie with Caja for PD, so the next tie break is head-to-head between the two clubs. It should come as no surprise that they split their two games, so we jump to the next tie-break, PD between the two. Not only do they have the same PD, the scores of their games were identical, 82:74 in favor of each home team. So, we keep drilling down to the next tie-break, which is overall PD and here’s where we get a result, Caja has a +36 PD over 13 games and Olympiacos is +26, but in this scenario Caja wins and Olympiacos loses, so the result is firm and the defending champions would be the odd team out. Yeah, this thing can get that involved. How about the rest? Well, what follows is our best effort in figuring it out after a couple dozen pots of coffee and a few sleepless nights, so be gentle with us if we colossally blow it, at least we tried…

The three key games are being played at the same time (20:30 CET – as are all four in Group E), so we’ll all have to fire up a couple of computers with Euroleague TV to keep an eye on things; you can bet there will be a few million text messages flying around with updates from the other games.

Buckle up Euroleague fans, it’s going to be a wild Thursday…

Scenario One:
Barcelona beats Maccabi; Olympiacos beats Khimki; Caja beats Siena

TEAM W L Pos
Barcelona 13 1 1
Olympiacos 9 5 2
Maccabi 8 6 3
Caja 8 6 4
Siena 7 7 out
Khimki 7 7 out

Scenario One explanation: Caja and Maccabi tie at 8-6 and split their head-to-head matches with Maccabi winning the tie-break outscoring Caja 136:133.

Scenario Two:
Barcelona beats Maccabi; Olympiacos beats Khimki; Siena beats Caja

TEAM W L Pos
Barcelona 13 1 1
Olympiacos 9 5 2
Maccabi 8 6 3
Siena 8 6 4
Caja 7 7 out
Khimki 7 7 out

Scenario Two explanation: Siena and Maccabi tie at 8-6 and split their head-to-head matches with Maccabi winning the tie-break outscoring Siena 160:152.

Scenario Three:
Barcelona beats Maccabi; Khimki beats Olympiacos; Caja beats Siena
Khimki, Maccabi, Olympiacos, and Caja finish at 8-6 so the tie-breakers start with games played between those four.

There are a lot of possibilities here, but a couple of solids: 1). Barça wins the group; 2). Khimki finishes in second with a greater point differential and the only game that will affect PD is Khimki – Olympiacos and in this scenario Olympiacos loses.

The variables:
If Olympiacos loses by less than 5:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Khimki
(3) Olympiacos (wins PD tie-break with Maccabi and Caja)
(4) Maccabi
(out) Caja
If Olympiacos loses by 5 or more, but less than 18:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Khimki
(3) Maccabi (wins PD tie-break with Olympiacos and Caja)
(4) Olympiacos (wins PD tie-break with Caja)
(out) Caja
If Olympiacos loses by 18 or more:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Khimki
(3) Maccabi (wins PD tie-break with Olympiacos and Caja)
(4) Caja (wins PD tie-break with Olympiacos)
(out) Olympiacos

Scenario Four:
Barcelona beats Maccabi; Khimki beats Olympiacos; Siena beats Caja
Maccabi, Olympiacos, Khimki, and Siena finish at 8-6. Again, Barcelona finishes first, Khimki finishes second with the best point differential of the group, and Maccabi finishes third.

The variables:
If Olympiacos loses by less than 20:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Khimki
(3) Maccabi
(4) Olympiacos (wins PD tie-break with Siena)
(out) Siena
If Olympiacos loses by 20:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Khimki
(3) Maccabi
(4) Siena (wins head-to-head PD tie-break with Olympiacos)
(out) Olympiacos
If Olympiacos loses by more than 20:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Khimki
(3) Maccabi
(4) Siena (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos)
(out) Olympiacos

Scenario Five:
Maccabi beats Barcelona; Olympiacos beats Khimki; Caja beats Siena

TEAM W L Pos
Barcelona 12 2 1
Olympiacos 9 5 2
Maccabi 9 5 3
Caja 8 6 4
Siena 7 7 out
Khimki 7 7 out

Scenario Five explanation: Olympiacos and Maccabi tie at 8-6 and split their head-to-head matches with Olympiacos winning the tie-break outscoring Maccabi 150:145.

Scenario Six:
Maccabi beats Barcelona; Olympiacos beats Khimki; Siena beats Caja

TEAM W L Pos
Barcelona 12 2 1
Olympiacos 9 5 2
Maccabi 9 5 3
Siena 8 6 4
Caja 7 7 out
Khimki 7 7 out

Scenario Six explanation: Olympiacos and Maccabi tie at 8-6 and split their head-to-head matches with Olympiacos winning the tie-break outscoring Maccabi 150:145.

Scenario Seven:
Maccabi beats Barcelona; Khimki beats Olympiacos; Caja beats Siena
Khimki, Olympiacos, and Caja finish at 8-6 and finish at 2-2 against each other.

1). Barça wins the group; 2). Maccabi finishes in second at 9-5.

The variables:
If Olympiacos loses by 1:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Olympiacos (tie group PD tie-break with Khimki, wins head-to-head PD by 4)
(4) Khimki
(out) Caja
If Olympiacos loses by more than 1, but less than 13:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos and Caja)
(4) Olympiacos (wins group PD tie-break with Caja)
(out) Caja
If Olympiacos loses by 13:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos and Caja)
(4) Caja (wins PD tie-break with Olympiacos based on all Top 16 Group F games, after they tie in group PD, head-to-head record, head-to-head PD)
(out) Olympiacos
If Olympiacos loses by more than 13:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos and Caja)
(4) Caja (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos)
(out) Olympiacos

Scenario Eight:
Maccabi beats Barcelona; Khimki beats Olympiacos; Siena beats Caja
Khimki, Olympiacos, and Siena finish at 8-6 and finish at 2-2 against each other.

1). Barça wins the group; 2). Maccabi finishes in second at 9-5.

The variables:
If Olympiacos loses by 4 and Siena wins by less than 31
All three teams have a (0) point differential
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins PD tie-break based on all Top 16 games, currently at +91)
(4) Olympiacos (wins PD tie-break based on all Top 16 games over Siena)
(out) Siena
If Olympiacos loses by 4 and Siena wins by 31:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins PD tie-break based on all Top 16 games, currently at +91)
(4) Siena (wins on head-to-head PD by 1 over Olympiacos. They tie on group PD (22) and head-to-head records(1-1))
(out) Olympiacos
If Olympiacos loses by 4 and Siena wins by more than 31:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins PD tie-break based on all Top 16 games, currently at +91)
(4) Siena (wins on group PD with Olympiacos)
(out) Olympiacos
If Olympiacos loses by more than 4:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Khimki (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos and Siena)
(4) Siena (wins group PD tie-break with Olympiacos)
(out) Olympiacos
If Olympiacos loses by less than 4:
(1) Barcelona
(2) Maccabi
(3) Olympiacos (wins group PD tie-break with Khimki and Siena)
(4) Siena (wins group PD tie-break with Khimki)
(out) Khimki

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