Magic Number-palooza!!!

Remaining LEAGUE schedules:

UNH - @NU/NU, BC/@BC

BC - UMA, @UNH/UNH

ME – @MCx2, UMAx2

BU - @UVMx2, NU/@NU

NU - UNH/@UNH, @BU/BU

UMA - @BC, @MEx2

UML - PC/@PC, UVMx2

MC - MEx2, @PC/PC

UVM - BUx2, @UMLx2

PC – @UML/UML, MC/@MC

In case anyone reading a sports fan forum is unfamiliar with the concept of Magic Number (M#), the M# is the combined number of wins (or points, in this case) by Team A and losses (or lost points) by Team B that would result in Team A reaching their goal.

Let's see if we can figure out what each team is looking at as we head into the penultimate weekend.

Since they have the tb over BU, the only teams they have to worry about are BC and ME. They lose the tb to ME and tied BC in the first of three with a H&H to wrap the season.

Six points up on ME with four games (eight points) left for the Black Bears, UNH's M# to outpace Maine, and lock up at least 2nd, is 3.

Since BC only has three games left to make up their gap, with the tb TBD, the M# for UNH at the moment is a conditional 5. If BC loses Friday and UNH takes 3+ in their last four games, it's over. If BC wins Friday, even a UNH sweep this w/e (or a BC tie and UNH taking 3) will leave the 'Cats vulnerable to a BC sweep which would also yield the tb to the Eagles. M# aside, if UNH goes into next w/e with even a one-point lead (which will be the case unless BC wins their single and UNH gets swept), then they'll just need a split (at most) with BC to stay ahead of the Eagles for good.

BC's M# to catch UNH is in the neighborhood of 9, but that may change depending on how things look going into the final, tb-deciding w/e. Certainly if they pick up six this w/e (BC win, 2 UNH losses), they would draw even and 3 of 4 against UNH would wrap up 1st (they also would be ahead of everyone else at that point).

It should be noted that if BC and UNH end up tied in points (which would happen at 34pts minimum) with a split H2H record (1-1-1 or 0-0-3), BC would take the tb at the 2nd tier with more wins. Theoretically, if BC made up the two points on UNH with two ties (0-0-2), rather than a 1-1-0, then they might force a 3rd tier tb (which would then be based on the next highest seed - if ME, then BC's record is better; if BU, then UNH's is better, and so on), but BC only has one game left that is not against UNH. That leaves them only one possibility to tie before any ties they have are also ties for UNH, keeping the spread the same. In fact, if BC does tie that UMA game, then BC and UNH can't end up tied for the season, so tbs are moot.

BC is 4-up on ME, but ME has a game-in hand. BC has the tb, so ME would have to pass them. In that case, BC's M# w/ ME is 4.

Moving to BU, BC's lead is two larger, but BU has the tb, meaning BC needs to be out of reach. BC's M# w/ BU is 3.

BC takes the tb from NU, but loses it to UML. Therefore, in both cases, BC just needs to get to 31 (or make it so the other team's max drops by one). For both NU and UML, BC's M# is 1.

As discussed previously BC is out of everyone else's reach.

Maine has the tb w/ UNH, but a slim margin for error. Since UNH's M# is 3, Maine's M# w/ UNH is "not 3" (which I'll call -3)... or 14 (of the 16 combined pts remaining).

Similarly, w/ BC, Maine's M# is "not 4" (-4), or 10 (of the 14 combined).

BU has the tb w/ Maine, so Maine needs to stay ahead of the Terriers. With a two-point lead, they can only afford to miss one to control their own destiny here. That makes their M# w/ BU 7.

Maine holds the tb w/ both NU and UML, so the relative M#s there are 5 and 4.

Maine's tbs w/ UMA and MC are TBD, as those are their final two opponents.

Since UMA only has six points available to make up a four point deficit, Maine hitting a M# of 3 before the two meet next w/e would do it. With only the one game this w/e UMA cannot catch ME before their H2H. If ME's M# w/ UMA doesn't move at all

For MC, they have eight points available to close a 5-pt gap. The mutual tbs are mixed at all levels. The H2H will llikely decide the 1st tier. Since ME won the 1st mtg, MC taking 3 of 4 would split the season (1-1-1) and leave MC 3 pts back. The 2nd tb, league wins, would depend on how the odd point was gained. In this situation, if MC sweeps PC and ME goes 0-1-1 vs UMA, then MC would have more wins and take the tb. However, if MC went 1-0-1 against PC and ME was swept, then the 2nd tier tb is tied and we'd go to record against top teams. Depending on who that is, the tb would swing one way or the other.

So... to be safe, ME needs to be out of reach of MC. MC's max is 29, so ME just needs 4. Remember that H2H play moves the M# twice as fast. If ME takes two points from MC, that also means MC's max has dropped two, putting ME out of reach. IF MC sweeps, they take the tb and are only a point back, meaning that the M# for ME w/ MC is still 4.

ME took the season from UVM (2-0-1), so a tie keeps them ahead. That makes their M# over UVM just 2.

Losing the tb to UNH means BU can't catch them.

BU's M# w/ BC is -3, or 11 (of 14).

BU's M# w/ ME is -7, or 9 (of 16). Even with sweeps both ways in BU's favor, that will carry over into next w/e.

BU's tb w/ NU is pending the final w/e H2H. If that splits, like with MC and ME, it depends who gets the tie to make up the odd point. The two teams have different records against each of the three that might earn 1st, but BU owns both against BC and ME where NU loses both. The UNH/NU tb depends on their finale, but if NU takes 2 pts from UNH

With all of that up in the air, BU's only lock at this point is to keep or expand their one-point lead, making their M# w/ NU 8.

BU has the tb w/ both UMA and UML and a two-pt lead, so the M# for each is 6. Against MC, w/ the tb, the M# is 5.

The tb w/ UVM is in the balance this w/e, and the two tied their 1st mtg. If they split this w/e, BU would maintain their 4 pt lead going into the final w/e, meaning the best UVM could do would be catch them. With the H2H split, the 2nd tb goes BU's way. (Actually, UVM has so many ties that

So, if BU takes 2 (or more) from UVM, that's a M# of 4 that locks it up for BU going into the final w/e. If they take fewer pts, UVM will take the TB and BU will need one more to stay out of UVM's reach, making the M#, in that case, 5.

You've seen NU's marks against the teams above them already, so take the inverse and that's what they need in each situation.

Can't get to UNH, -1 w/ BC (win out and have BC lose out), and -5 (+11) w/ ME. For BU it's -8, or 9.

For UMA, the Huskies get the tb nod - so they have a point to spare - but UML owns the relevant NU tb. M# over UML is 8, for UMA (only 3 games left) it's 5.

NU played MC early enough that they hadn't gelled yet, which let them take the season series. For NU/UVM, the reverse is true. That puts the M# for both at 6 for NU.

Nearly identical points and overall record. In the event of a tie, UMA takes the season 2-1-0. Other than that, it's team-by-team with individual breakouts. UML owns BC, MC and NU tbs. The rest are pending or not in their favor. UMA owns, UML, PC and UVM, with more pending.

M#s for both in the tight field are the inverse of what the teams above them need to stave them off, and similarly, matching the results of those below them in order to hold the narrow lead.

In UMA's case, with one fewer game left, when it comes to controlling their own destiny, they are essentially tied with UVM and a point behind MC.

With MC, the only H2H tb they've taken (ME and PC pending) are the teams on either side of them - UMA and UVM. If you're only going to on two tbs, it's handy to have them be over the teams closest to you in the standings as you fight to stay ahead of 9th and into the playoffs. For other teams above them, they should plan ahead and assume they need to pass them in points to move up.

TBs only over BC (not that it matters) and NU, with two pending (BU, UML), in case it matters down the road. Other than that, you can surmise UVM's prospects by seeking them in the

Dead and buried, PC can't catch anyone and will end their season next w/e against MC.

I'll be on the road Friday, but I wanted to get this out for people to digest before the games commenced.

That said, it's late and I need a nap, so I'm just going to post what I have. Feel free to proofread, especially the later sections, for any errors or lack of readability. If something's not clear, let me know and I'll try to clear it up for the post-Friday analysis.

Remaining LEAGUE schedules:

UNH - @NU/NU, BC/@BC

BC - UMA, @UNH/UNH

ME – @MCx2, UMAx2

BU - @UVMx2, NU/@NU

NU - UNH/@UNH, @BU/BU

UMA - @BC, @MEx2

UML - PC/@PC, UVMx2

MC - MEx2, @PC/PC

UVM - BUx2, @UMLx2

PC – @UML/UML, MC/@MC

In case anyone reading a sports fan forum is unfamiliar with the concept of Magic Number (M#), the M# is the combined number of wins (or points, in this case) by Team A and losses (or lost points) by Team B that would result in Team A reaching their goal.

Let's see if we can figure out what each team is looking at as we head into the penultimate weekend.

**UNH: 32 pts**Since they have the tb over BU, the only teams they have to worry about are BC and ME. They lose the tb to ME and tied BC in the first of three with a H&H to wrap the season.

Six points up on ME with four games (eight points) left for the Black Bears, UNH's M# to outpace Maine, and lock up at least 2nd, is 3.

Since BC only has three games left to make up their gap, with the tb TBD, the M# for UNH at the moment is a conditional 5. If BC loses Friday and UNH takes 3+ in their last four games, it's over. If BC wins Friday, even a UNH sweep this w/e (or a BC tie and UNH taking 3) will leave the 'Cats vulnerable to a BC sweep which would also yield the tb to the Eagles. M# aside, if UNH goes into next w/e with even a one-point lead (which will be the case unless BC wins their single and UNH gets swept), then they'll just need a split (at most) with BC to stay ahead of the Eagles for good.

**BC: 30 pts**BC's M# to catch UNH is in the neighborhood of 9, but that may change depending on how things look going into the final, tb-deciding w/e. Certainly if they pick up six this w/e (BC win, 2 UNH losses), they would draw even and 3 of 4 against UNH would wrap up 1st (they also would be ahead of everyone else at that point).

It should be noted that if BC and UNH end up tied in points (which would happen at 34pts minimum) with a split H2H record (1-1-1 or 0-0-3), BC would take the tb at the 2nd tier with more wins. Theoretically, if BC made up the two points on UNH with two ties (0-0-2), rather than a 1-1-0, then they might force a 3rd tier tb (which would then be based on the next highest seed - if ME, then BC's record is better; if BU, then UNH's is better, and so on), but BC only has one game left that is not against UNH. That leaves them only one possibility to tie before any ties they have are also ties for UNH, keeping the spread the same. In fact, if BC does tie that UMA game, then BC and UNH can't end up tied for the season, so tbs are moot.

BC is 4-up on ME, but ME has a game-in hand. BC has the tb, so ME would have to pass them. In that case, BC's M# w/ ME is 4.

Moving to BU, BC's lead is two larger, but BU has the tb, meaning BC needs to be out of reach. BC's M# w/ BU is 3.

BC takes the tb from NU, but loses it to UML. Therefore, in both cases, BC just needs to get to 31 (or make it so the other team's max drops by one). For both NU and UML, BC's M# is 1.

As discussed previously BC is out of everyone else's reach.

**Maine: 26 points**Maine has the tb w/ UNH, but a slim margin for error. Since UNH's M# is 3, Maine's M# w/ UNH is "not 3" (which I'll call -3)... or 14 (of the 16 combined pts remaining).

Similarly, w/ BC, Maine's M# is "not 4" (-4), or 10 (of the 14 combined).

BU has the tb w/ Maine, so Maine needs to stay ahead of the Terriers. With a two-point lead, they can only afford to miss one to control their own destiny here. That makes their M# w/ BU 7.

Maine holds the tb w/ both NU and UML, so the relative M#s there are 5 and 4.

Maine's tbs w/ UMA and MC are TBD, as those are their final two opponents.

Since UMA only has six points available to make up a four point deficit, Maine hitting a M# of 3 before the two meet next w/e would do it. With only the one game this w/e UMA cannot catch ME before their H2H. If ME's M# w/ UMA doesn't move at all

*this*w/e (UMA beats BC, MC sweps ME), then ME's M# will still be 3, but the head to head means all M# points are paired up (a point for ME is also point lost by UMA and v.v.), so it will end up being "M# = >2", which would be effectively 2 pts in the standings for ME. Either a win or two ties would do it.For MC, they have eight points available to close a 5-pt gap. The mutual tbs are mixed at all levels. The H2H will llikely decide the 1st tier. Since ME won the 1st mtg, MC taking 3 of 4 would split the season (1-1-1) and leave MC 3 pts back. The 2nd tb, league wins, would depend on how the odd point was gained. In this situation, if MC sweeps PC and ME goes 0-1-1 vs UMA, then MC would have more wins and take the tb. However, if MC went 1-0-1 against PC and ME was swept, then the 2nd tier tb is tied and we'd go to record against top teams. Depending on who that is, the tb would swing one way or the other.

So... to be safe, ME needs to be out of reach of MC. MC's max is 29, so ME just needs 4. Remember that H2H play moves the M# twice as fast. If ME takes two points from MC, that also means MC's max has dropped two, putting ME out of reach. IF MC sweeps, they take the tb and are only a point back, meaning that the M# for ME w/ MC is still 4.

ME took the season from UVM (2-0-1), so a tie keeps them ahead. That makes their M# over UVM just 2.

**BU: 24 points**Losing the tb to UNH means BU can't catch them.

BU's M# w/ BC is -3, or 11 (of 14).

BU's M# w/ ME is -7, or 9 (of 16). Even with sweeps both ways in BU's favor, that will carry over into next w/e.

BU's tb w/ NU is pending the final w/e H2H. If that splits, like with MC and ME, it depends who gets the tie to make up the odd point. The two teams have different records against each of the three that might earn 1st, but BU owns both against BC and ME where NU loses both. The UNH/NU tb depends on their finale, but if NU takes 2 pts from UNH

*and*UNH ends up 1st*and*BU & NU split 3-1 BU*and*the two end up tied at 27 because NU got 3 pts this w/e while BU got swept, then that would give the tb to NU.With all of that up in the air, BU's only lock at this point is to keep or expand their one-point lead, making their M# w/ NU 8.

BU has the tb w/ both UMA and UML and a two-pt lead, so the M# for each is 6. Against MC, w/ the tb, the M# is 5.

The tb w/ UVM is in the balance this w/e, and the two tied their 1st mtg. If they split this w/e, BU would maintain their 4 pt lead going into the final w/e, meaning the best UVM could do would be catch them. With the H2H split, the 2nd tb goes BU's way. (Actually, UVM has so many ties that

*anyone*going to the 2nd tier tb w/ them will come out ahead in league wins. Since no one has tied the season with UVM yet, that possibility only exists w/ UVM's remaining opponents, BU and UML.)So, if BU takes 2 (or more) from UVM, that's a M# of 4 that locks it up for BU going into the final w/e. If they take fewer pts, UVM will take the TB and BU will need one more to stay out of UVM's reach, making the M#, in that case, 5.

**NU: 23 points**You've seen NU's marks against the teams above them already, so take the inverse and that's what they need in each situation.

Can't get to UNH, -1 w/ BC (win out and have BC lose out), and -5 (+11) w/ ME. For BU it's -8, or 9.

For UMA, the Huskies get the tb nod - so they have a point to spare - but UML owns the relevant NU tb. M# over UML is 8, for UMA (only 3 games left) it's 5.

NU played MC early enough that they hadn't gelled yet, which let them take the season series. For NU/UVM, the reverse is true. That puts the M# for both at 6 for NU.

**UMA/UML: 22 points**Nearly identical points and overall record. In the event of a tie, UMA takes the season 2-1-0. Other than that, it's team-by-team with individual breakouts. UML owns BC, MC and NU tbs. The rest are pending or not in their favor. UMA owns, UML, PC and UVM, with more pending.

M#s for both in the tight field are the inverse of what the teams above them need to stave them off, and similarly, matching the results of those below them in order to hold the narrow lead.

In UMA's case, with one fewer game left, when it comes to controlling their own destiny, they are essentially tied with UVM and a point behind MC.

**MC: 21 points**With MC, the only H2H tb they've taken (ME and PC pending) are the teams on either side of them - UMA and UVM. If you're only going to on two tbs, it's handy to have them be over the teams closest to you in the standings as you fight to stay ahead of 9th and into the playoffs. For other teams above them, they should plan ahead and assume they need to pass them in points to move up.

**UVM: 20 points**TBs only over BC (not that it matters) and NU, with two pending (BU, UML), in case it matters down the road. Other than that, you can surmise UVM's prospects by seeking them in the

*other*team's assessments.**PC: 10 pts**Dead and buried, PC can't catch anyone and will end their season next w/e against MC.

I'll be on the road Friday, but I wanted to get this out for people to digest before the games commenced.

That said, it's late and I need a nap, so I'm just going to post what I have. Feel free to proofread, especially the later sections, for any errors or lack of readability. If something's not clear, let me know and I'll try to clear it up for the post-Friday analysis.

## Comment