With the end of the regular season rapidly approaching, it’s time to examine how the playoff picture might come into focus. In the spirit of basketball pundits projecting which teams make the NCAA Tournament and which seeds they earn, here’s a projection — albeit very unscientific — of the Eastern Conference playoffs, sorted by projected points:
[table id=49 /]
In the end, things don’t look much different from the current standings. Louisville has a firm hold on the No. 1 seed, and as suggested earlier this week, could start playing for home field advantage in the finals — a realistic goal.
The only shuffling based on these projections is at the bottom of the pile. With a winnable road match and two at home left, Orlando is likely to jump over Cincinnati to land in sixth. And with a match in hand, Bethlehem is likely to match Cincinnati in total points with 45. In that case, Bethlehem has more league wins than Cincinnati and wins the first tiebreaker, bumping the Orange and Blue down to eighth.
The good news is Cincinnati does make the playoffs, and that’s even with a loss projected Saturday at Charlotte. Cincinnati’s last two matches are at draw-prone Ottawa and last place Toronto. A draw seems likely against the Fury, and even with Cincinnati struggling away from Nippert Stadium, a victory against Toronto is attainable.
The challenging news is in eighth place, Cincinnati must make another trip to Louisville for the season’s fifth Dirty River Derby match.
Projections were updated to reflect Bethlehem’s draw with Tampa Bay earlier today. They will be updated every week until the end of the regular season.