Tonight’s the night.
The Erie BayHawks aren’t playing Thursday, but they should take a look at the outcome of tonight’s games. They will impact Erie’s playoff hopes and Central Division championship aspirations.
Here’s the latest.
The Erie BayHawks (25-23) are still clinging to that eighth and final playoff spot.
The BayHawks are just a game ahead of Reno (24-24) and Sioux Falls (24-24), but own the tiebreaker against both teams. Erie closes out the season with back-to-back games against Fort Wayne (19-29) with the first being on the road Friday and latter being at home Saturday.
However, with Bakersfield (26-23) losing at Idaho on Wednesday night, Erie is now just a half game behind of the Jam for seventh spot. If Erie and Bakersfield finish the year tied, the BayHawks would finish ahead of the Jam because they own the tiebreaker against them.
Bakersfield closes out the regular season Friday at Idaho (30-18). With the way the D-League playoff system is set up, it won’t matter if Erie is seventh or eighth because the divisional winners get to pick their opponents, but that’s another conversation all together.
Anyway, let’s look at tonight’s games and see how they impact Erie’s playoff hopes.
Reno (24-24) at Los Angeles (18-31), 6:30 p.m. – Reno can pull within a half game of Erie with a win against the D-Fenders. The Bighorns have won four straight games and six of their last seven while the D-Fenders have won three of their last four games with the loss ironically coming against the BayHawks in Los Angeles last week.
Dakota (26-22) at Iowa (26-22), 8 p.m. – First off, the winner will take sole possession of first place in the Central Division with one game remaining for each team.
In regards to the divisional championship race, if Dakota beats Iowa, the Wizards would also need to beat Anaheim (15-33) to win the division. If Dakota lost the Arsenal and Iowa beat Sioux Falls, the two teams would end up tied again and the Energy own the tiebreaker against the Wizards.
How does Erie get in the championship mix if Dakota beats Iowa? The BayHawks can’t win the division if Dakota beats Iowa because they don’t own the tiebreaker against the Wizards.
How can Erie win the division? The BayHawks need to win their last two games, have Iowa beat Dakota tonight and lose to Sioux Falls on Friday and have the Wizards lose their final game against Anaheim. Erie owns the tiebreaker against Iowa, not Dakota.
Considering the Arsenal have lost their last eight games, the odds aren’t in their favor to win at Dakota on Friday.
As for Iowa’s chances against Dakota, the Energy have lost six of their last seven games, but are 4-2 against the Wizards.
Then again, without Courtney Sims and Cartier Martin, who are both in the NBA right now, Iowa’s just not the same team that started the season 8-1.
What if Erie, Iowa and Dakota wind up tied for the Central Division title? It depends.
The champion would be determined by which team has the better winning percentage among all head-to-head games involved the tied teams.
If Iowa beats Dakota: Iowa would wind up 8-6 (.571) against Erie and Dakota and win the division. Dakota would finish 7-7 against Erie and Iowa. Erie is 6-8 against Dakota and Iowa.
If Dakota beats Iowa: Dakota would wind up 8-6 (.571) against Erie and Iowa and win the division. Iowa would finish 7-7 against Erie and Dakota. Erie is 6-8 against Dakota and Iowa.
So the winner of tonight’s Dakota-Iowa game would win the division if there was a three-way tie between themselves and Erie.