July 29, 2014
Ohio or Boston will take the fourth and final MLL playoffs spot, with Rochester, Denver and New York already in, but all sorts of scenarios in play for how they finish. (Bill Danielewski)
Ohio or Boston will take the fourth and final MLL playoffs spot, with Rochester, Denver and New York already in, but all sorts of scenarios in play for how they finish. (Bill Danielewski)

MLL Playoff Picture Coming Into Final Focus

by Sean Burns | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

With just two weeks of regular season play remaining, the Major League Lacrosse playoff picture is becoming clearer and clearer. Three of four playoff spots have already been claimed, with three teams in the running to take the last one to be decided soon.

Rochester (9-3), Denver (8-4) and New York (7-5) are in regardless of final results, holding enough of a cushion to assure a spot in the league semifinals, to take place on the weekend of August 16th. Ohio (6-6) currently stands in fourth place, while Boston (5-7) and Florida (5-7) are on the outside, but still have a shot if things break in their favor.

Interestingly, that leaves the 2013 champion Chesapeake Bayhawks and runner-up Charlotte Hounds (both 4-8) as the only ones without a live shot at the post-season in the last two weeks.

Rather than the format of previous seasons where semifinals and finals were played on the same weekend, the league switched to a consecutive-weekend format for 2014, with the top two teams playing host to the third and fourth teams, followed by the finals at Georgia's Kennesaw State University (near Atlanta) a week later.

If the season were to end today, the matchups would be simple: Ohio would visit top seed Rochester, while Denver would host New York. But there's still some wiggle room, so here's how things stand according to MLL tie-breaker rules (special thanks to MLL's Marco Rosa for helping explain the tiebreak for us and sorting out how things will fall depending on results).

Rochester (9-3)

Clinched a playoff spot. 
Can clinch home field with Win OR with loss to Ohio AND a New York OR a Denver loss

Denver (8-4)

Has clinched Playoff spot
Can Clinch home field with Win AND a New York Loss

New York (7-5)

Has clinched playoff spot
Can finish no worse than third place with Win OR with loss to Charlotte AND an Ohio loss

Ohio (6-6), Boston (5-7), Florida (5-7)

Cannot clinch playoff spot (this week)
Boston is eliminated with a loss to Florida
Florida is eliminated with a loss to Boston AND an Ohio win

If Ohio wins out, they will clinch a playoff spot, and can potentially pass New York into third place.

FULL TIE-BREAK RULES

(via MLL, in case anyone was wondering)

If, at the end of the regular season, two or more Teams finish with identical won-lost percentages, the following steps will be taken, in order, until a conference champion and subsequent wild card teams are determined.

Two Teams Tied

a) Best won-lost percentage in all head-to-head games (games between the tied clubs).
b) Best total scoring margin (total point scored differential) in all head-to-head games.
c) Best total scoring margin (total point scored differential) in all games.
d) Strength of victory (all games)
e) Coin Toss.

Three or More Teams Tied

a) Best won-lost percentage in all games among the tied teams.
b) Best total scoring margin (total point scored differential) in all games among the tied teams.
c) Best total scoring margin (total point scored differential) in all games.
d) Strength of victory (all games).
e) Coin Toss.

(Note: If two Teams remain tied after the third or other Teams are eliminated during any step, tie-breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-Team format).

Other Tie-Breaking Rules/Procedures

a) Only one Team advances in any tie-breaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the next applicable tie-breaker. For example, if two Teams remain tied in a three Team tie-breaker after all other clubs have been eliminated, the procedure reverts to step one of the two-Team format to determine the winner.

b) In comparing records among tied teams, the best won-lost percentage is the deciding factor since teams may have played an unequal number of games against one another.


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