The Power Rankings continue after an epic Labor Day weekend of over 30 matches! After researching the Atlantic Conference, we now see where the Pacific Conference stands with just two weeks left in the regular season. In addition to the updated power rankings, take a close look at the results of the model’s 10,000 simulations from the rest of the season, and how this weekend’s games may affect the playoff race. Remember that only the top two teams in each division qualify for the postseason.
During the Pacific Conference, the Labor Day weekend this season was the only opportunity for crossover action between the Western and Central Divisions. All in all, 17 of the 21 scheduled games were played, with rain ruining Saturday’s action in St. Louis. It was a competitive weekend, with the Central winning 10 out of 17 games.
The crossover matches allow us to put the entire Pacific Conference in one series of rankings, with a fairly even split between Central and West up and down the lineup. The East Bay Blazers have the best NRR in all of Minor League Cricket, and the model rewards the dominating performance with the No. 1 spot in the Pacific. The Michigan Cricket Stars came out of their games against the West with a couple of wins – against the Premier League Blazers and the Seattle Thunderbolts. Michigan takes the two spots and the rest of the Central and West playoff candidates are close behind.
If we take a closer look at the Central Division, we have a playoff race that basically comes down to three teams: Austin, Houston and Michigan. Mathematically, Irving is still alive, but a tough schedule and an NRR deficit make them unlikely to sneak into either of the two playoff positions. Austin and Houston have a points advantage and Houston has a game in hand against Michigan, which is not far away.
The significant games in the Central this week are in Texas, where Houston will face Irving on Saturday and Austin on Sunday. Houston is favorite against the Mustangs with a 30% chance of qualifying for the playoffs. On Sunday, it’s a coin flip and a crucial game for both teams, as a win could secure Austin a playoff spot. Michigan has a farewell this week and will close their season next week with a few games against the Chicago Blasters. Michigan hopes to lose to Houston this weekend to have the easiest way to the playoffs.
In the Western Division, the Golden State Grizzlies and East Bay Blazers are the favorites for the playoffs. The Silicon Valley Strikers are currently on par with Golden State, but Golden State and East Bay have games in hand and significant NRR advantages.
There are many impactful matches in the West this weekend. On Saturday, the Seattle Thunderbolts will take on East Bay and Golden State, the models favored for playoff teams. Seattle gets the chance to play spoiler as clear underdog in both games. A ~20% chance in the playoffs is at stake for East Bay and Golden State. On Sunday, East Bay and Golden State will face each other in a huge game, where the winner may have a shot at almost snagging a playoff spot, pending Saturday’s results. Seattle will then finish the trio of Northern California games in what should be a competitive showdown against Silicon Valley, who are fighting for their playoff lives.
The Centrals playoff picture is set to get a little clearer this weekend, with Austin and Houston looking to secure the playoff positions. Out West, East Bay and Golden State will face each other on Sunday in a hugely important game after each victory over Seattle the day before.
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