Friday, August 29, 2008

Playoff Picture: Aug. 29

With the WNBA season back underway and just seven games remaining, it's time to start focusing in on the battle to make the playoffs and for positioning within them. Here's the first installment of's Playoff Picture updates.

Team           W   L    GB  Storm  Conf   H/A  500+
San Antonio 19 9 0 1-2 8-9 3/3 6/0
Seattle 18 9 0.5 12-5 2/5 4/3
Los Angeles 16 12 3.0 1-1 8-7 4/2 5/1
Sacramento 15 13 4.0 3-0 6-8 3/3 5/1
Houston 14 13 4.5 2-1 9-7 4/3 5/2
Minnesota 13 13 5.0 2-0 8-7 3/5 3/5
Phoenix 12 16 7.0 3-1 4-12 3/3 5/1
With the top three teams in the West all winning, the Storm remains a half-game back of San Antonio for the top spot in the West and 2.5 up on third-place Los Angeles.

The more important doings are a little lower. With the Storm's win and Phoenix's loss, the Mercury can do no better than tie the Storm, and the Storm holds the tiebreaker. The most wins any of Houston, Minnesota and Sacramento can get is 21, so by winning three more games, the Storm would guarantee at least a tie with them. The Storm holds tiebreakers with both all three teams by virtue of head-to-head record.

There's an extraordinarily unlikely possibility of a four-way tie with Houston/Minnesota, Los Angeles and San Antonio that would leave the Storm out of the playoffs, but for all intents and purposes the Storm's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three wins or any combination of Storm wins plus losses by TWO OF Houston, Minnesota and Sacramento that adds to three.

(UPDATED 8/29 at 3:00 p.m. to reflect Storm holding tiebreaker over Minnesota.)


Sheila said...

Kevin, You said that the Storm's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three wins or any combo of Storm wins plus losses by two of Houston, MN and Sac that adds to three....

So, the Storm won on Thursday, and Houston lost (we're at two right?), then if Minny or Sac lose tonight we would be at the three right (Storm win, Houston loss, and either Minny or Sac loss would equal three)

Am I following you right or not?

Kevin Pelton said...

Not quite, Sheila. The total of (two of) Storm wins + HOU losses, Storm wins + MIN losses or Storm wins + SAC losses must equal three. The losses by other teams don't add together for the Storm's magic number.

Also, that is after Thursday's games, so the Storm's win over Houston has already been counted.