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Games Behind, NBL16, WNBL15Tweet
HOLD your horses there if you are adamantly advocating NBL teams will need at least break even 14-14 win-loss records to reach the playoffs.
A look at the current volatile table, utilising the "games behind" system employed in North American sports, reveals 14-14 right now would be good enough for equal-second place, considering Illawarra and New Zealand currently sit there on 12-12.
Melbourne and Perth, who face off in the west this week, share a piece of fourth on 11-12, strongly indicating even a negative record might be good enough for post-season action.
It's not as if that hasn't happened before, either.
As recently as the 2012-13 season, the Hawks finished third on 13-15 and the Kings fourth on 12-16, though both quickly were swept by Perth and New Zealand respectively in the semis.
The Breakers and Wildcats were standouts though that season while this year, it is only the regular season champion Adelaide 36ers who consistently have looked playoff certainties.
WHO KNEW? Anthony Drmic scrapping with Reuben Te Rangi exemplies the surprising Sixers.
And that was after losing their season-opener in Wollongong by 34 points to Illawarra when even those few pundits who tipped them for 7th were wondering why they hadn't gone with the consensus and selected them for 8th!
What a season this has been, and continues to be!
HEADING into the NBL's Round 17, this is how your club is going in terms of every respective four-game season-series.
Bear in mind, series wins ONLY matter if teams have tied win-loss records at the end of the 28-game regular season. Then they become the ultimate tiebreaker. In the event of a win-loss record tie by more than two teams, a mini-table between them comes into play which is why those points spreads remain somewhat relevant.
Adelaide's series records, considering it is regular season champion and five games clear at the top, now are irrelevant because it cannot be caught.
ADELAIDE: V Brisbane 3-1, +36 Series Won. V Cairns 2-0, +29. Two to go and points difference is strong. V Illawarra 1-2, -13 points. This series is alive and concludes this week. V Melbourne 2-2, -7. Series Lost. V NZ 2-1, +2. Still pending. V Perth 3-1, +18. Series Won. V Sydney 4-0, +29. Series Won.
BRISBANE: V Adelaide 1-3, -36. Series Lost. V Cairns 2-1, +20. Probably have this, given the points difference. V Illawarra 0-3, -21. Series Lost regardless of 4th game. V Melbourne 2-2, -19. Series Lost. V NZ 1-3, -19. Series Lost. V Perth 2-1, +18. In good shape, defending an 18-point buffer. V Sydney 2-1, +8. Very much wide open.
CAIRNS: V Adelaide 0-2, -29. Will take a lot to salvage this. V Brisbane 1-2, -20. Points difference is a worry. V Illawarra 3-0, +38. Series Won, regardless of 4th game. V Melbourne 1-3, -5. Series Lost. V NZ 3-0, +20. Series Won, regardless of 4th game. V Perth 1-2, -14. Still have a shot at this but it will take a 15-point home win. V Sydney 1-3, -17. Series Lost.
ILLAWARRA: V Adelaide 2-1, +13. Points spread still favours Hawks. V Brisbane 3-0, +21. Series Won, regardless of 4th game. V Cairns 0-3, -38. Series Lost, regardless of 4th game. V Melbourne 2-1, +15. In the box seat. V NZ 2-2, +11. Series Won. V Perth 2-2, -6. Series Lost. V Sydney 1-3, -15. Series Lost.
MELBOURNE: V Adelaide 2-2, +7. Series Won. V Brisbane 2-2, +19. Series Won. V Cairns 3-1, +5. Series Won. V Illawarra 1-2, -15. Road blow-out has made salvaging this much tougher. V NZ 1-2, +13. Series pending. V Perth 0-2, -6. Series can still be saved. V Sydney 2-1, -6. Only need a win in 4th game.
NEW ZEALAND: V Adelaide 1-2, -2. Blew their big advantage in this but a 3-point win in Adelaide to save it isn't out of the question. V Brisbane 3-1, +19. Series Won. V Cairns 0-3, -20. Series Lost, regardless of 4th game. V Illawarra 2-2, -11. Series Lost. V Melbourne 2-1, -13. A win clinches it. V Perth 3-1, +15. Series Won. V Sydney 1-2, -1. This one definitely is up for grabs.
PERTH: V Adelaide 1-3, -18. Series Lost. V Brisbane 1-2, -18. Going to need a 19-point win at home to get this one. V Cairns 2-1, +14. Series still pending but in good shape. V Illawarra 2-2, +6. Series Won. V Melbourne 2-0, +6. Plenty left in this series. V NZ 1-3, -15. Series Lost. V Sydney 2-1, +8. Kings would need a 9-point win in Perth to steal this.
SYDNEY: V Adelaide 0-4, -29. Series Lost. V Brisbane 1-2, -8. Need a 9-point win. V Cairns 3-1, +17. Series Won. V Illawarra 3-1, +15. Series Won. V Melbourne 1-2, +6. Life left in Game 4 of this, for sure. V NZ 2-1, +1. This is certainly up for grabs. V Perth 1-2, -8. Winning by nine in Perth will be a big challenge.
THE WNBL also is getting down to a tight finish with several series still pending, Melbourne and Adelaide well out of the equation.
Bear in mind the WNBL draw has inequities, with some series going only three games and others four. Yeah, makes no sense but, go figure. It certainly makes for an enthralling few weeks to go.
(And to keep - the gone but not forgotten - Melbourne and Adelaide happy, here's a pic anyway, a Michelle Couling gem of Bec Cole!)
And now, those head-to-heads...
BENDIGO: V Canberra 2-1, +8. That 14-point road loss stung and Game 4 also is in Canberra. V Dandenong 2-1, +16. Best-of-3 Series Won. V Perth 1-1, -28. One left in this best-of-3, making the margin largely unimportant (Unless there's a three-way tie). V Sydney 1-3, 0. Series Lost. V Townsville 1-2, -10. Went from 1-1 and +10 to 1-2 and -10 so 4th and final game is huge.
CANBERRA: V Bendigo 1-2, -8. This series is alive with a fourth game to come. V Dandenong 1-2, -8. Best-of-3 Series Lost. V Perth 1-1,-1. The decider in this is in Perth. V Sydney 2-1, +1. This is a 4-gamer with the last one in Canberra. Up for grabs. V Townsville 2-1, -23. Scored the home upset needed to keep this 4-game series alive, despite negative points spread.
DANDENONG: V Bendigo 1-2, -16. Best-of-3 Series Lost. V Canberra 2-1 +8. Best-of-3 Series Won. V Perth 2-0, +41. This is a 4-gamer with a home and away fixture to come but the margin is very solid. V Sydney 1-1, -7. Best-of-3 with the decider away. V Townsville 1-0, +27. Best-of-3 with a lot of life left in this series.
PERTH: V Bendigo 1-1, +28. Best-of-3 with decider in Bendigo. V Canberra 1-1, +1. Best-of-3 with last one at home. V Dandenong 0-2, -41. Four games in this so Perth can still tie it, but that margin, whoa. V Sydney 1-2, -33. Best-of-3 Series Lost. V Townsville 2-1, -11. Best-of-3 Series Won.
SYDNEY: V Bendigo 3-1, 0. Series Won. V Canberra 1-2, -1. There's one to go in this traditional rivalry. V Dandenong 1-1, +7. This is only out of 3 so the decider is key. V Perth 2-1, +33. Best-of-3 Series Won. V Townsville 2-1, +5. This goes 4 with the last one in Townsville. Well and truly alive.
TOWNSVILLE: V Bendigo 2-1, +10. Turned this 4-game series around last round. V Canberra 1-2, +23. Shock road loss leaves this 4-game series up for grabs, despite great points buffer. V Dandenong 0-1, -27. Away and home to go in this 3-gamer. V Perth 1-2, +11. Best-of-3 Series Lost. V Sydney 1-2, -5. This goes four games, the last one in Townsville. Still alive.