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Playoff Picture: Who's in and who's out

March 18, 2016
We’re just under a month away from the MLL Championship Weekend presented by Smartlink. As we near the most important games of the season it’s time to figure out who will be there to compete for the Steinfeld Trophy.

The Denver Outlaws clinched the first seed in the playoffs with their 12 th victory. The Outlaws’ 12 wins tie the MLL record for the most wins in a season and improve Denver’s new record for the best start in MLL history.

The Hamilton Nationals earned their spot in Championship Weekend with their win over Boston. The Nationals now sit in second place in the League and can snag the second seed in the playoffs with a win over the Charlotte Hounds or a loss by the Chesapeake Bayhawks this weekend.

The Ohio Machine and the New York Lizards will not be in Championship Weekend. Ohio was eliminated with its loss to Hamilton on July 20. New York was knocked out by the Rochester Rattlers last weekend.

Now for the teams still in the hunt. Chesapeake is leading the pack with a 7-5 record, Charlotte sits at .500 and Rochester and the Boston Cannons are still in contention at 5-7.

Chesapeake is currently third in the League and cannot be eliminated this week. A win over Rochester will secure a playoff berth for the Bayhawks. Chesapeake defeated Rochester 17-14 in the teams’ first meeting, the first game of the season on April 27. This three-goal margin may come back into play if Chesapeake loses to Rochester by two goals or fewer. In this case, then Chesapeake can still clinch a spot in the playoffs if both Charlotte and Boston lose their Week 13 matchups.

Charlotte is in fourth place in the League. While Charlotte cannot be eliminated this week, they can take a spot in Championship Weekend with a win over Hamilton and a loss by Boston.

Both Rochester and Boston can face elimination this weekend. Rochester is in fifth place in the League. A loss to Chesapeake and a win by Charlotte will rule out Rochester’s chances of playing in Championship Weekend. Furthermore, a win by Rochester by fewer than three goals in addition to a Charlotte win and Boston loss will eliminate Rochester from the playoffs.

Boston is in sixth place in the League and cannot clinch a playoff berth in Week 13. A loss to Ohio and a win by Charlotte will eliminate Boston from playoff contention.

With these teams all so close in record, it’s possible that a tie will have to be broken to determine the final two teams in Championship Weekend. In a two-way tie, the first factor is the win-loss percentage in all head-to-head games between the tied teams. If one team won both matchups, then the tie is settled there; if the games were split, the next step is looking at the total points scored differential in all head-to-head games. If neither team has an advantage in this category, then the team with the best scoring margin in all games will advance to Championship Weekend. In the case that neither team has a superior scoring margin, then the strength of victory in all games will be analyzed. A three-way tie is also possible at the end of the regular season. These ties are broken just as two-way ties are broken. First, the win-loss percentage in all games among the tied teams will be analyzed, then the total scoring margin in games among the tied teams, then the total scoring margin in all games. If no team or two teams advanced based on these factors, the strength of victory in all games will be reviewed. Additionally, if one of the three tied teams earns a spot based on an early step in the tie-breaking process, then the two remaining teams will be treated as though they are in a two-way tie.

Be sure to watch the games this weekend to see if your favorite team clinches a spot in the MLL Championship Weekend presented by Smartlink August 24 and 25 at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa. To order tickets Click Here.