There has been a number of people requesting a late season analysis, following a beautifully written article last season from Foxes player Jordan Hendrix. Hendrix's work on his late season analysis last season was warmly met from the entire playing group. Jordy has once again worked his magic and can be appreciated here: Southern Conference Final Round Match-ups and Permutations
The Eastern conference has only 5 teams capable of reaching the finals. Despite four teams vying for the top spot, three of those teams could still finish as low as 5th and miss out on finals altogether. It is that close! The final match of the night between the Foxes and the Sharks will determine the final standings and is definitely the match of the round.
Final round matches
Bears V Crocs
Unfortunately for the Crocs their 1-6 start to the season meant finals were long gone. They can still shape the top 4 however by eliminating the fast-finishing Bears.
Should the Bears win their final game they will be relying on one of the Foxes, Penguins or Koalas to lose. The Foxes are playing the ladder leading Sharks and therefore are the most likely of the 3 teams to give up a spot to the Bears.
Bears likely finish: 4th or 5th.
Bears highest possible finish: 2nd
Bears lowest possible finish: 5th
Penguins V Mustangs
Like the Crocs, the Mustangs are playing solely for pride but could eliminate the Penguins pending the score line of other matches.
For the Penguins, finals destiny is in their own hands. Win and they make finals guaranteed.
In fact, if they win they could finish as high as 1st assuming the Foxes can upset the Casey Wassylko led Sharks. Lose however and they may have a nervy wait assuming the Bears had accounted for the Crocs in the earlier matchup. A loss could see them missing out on finals altogether.
Penguins likely finish: 1st to 3rd.
Penguins highest possible finish: Could finish as high as 1st.
Penguins lowest possible finish: 5th
Bucks V Koalas
The Bucks will be looking to put a sorry season behind them by potentially knocking the Koalas out of the finals race. This will only be a possibility if the Bears have already won in the earlier game.
The task for the Koalas on the other hand is simple. Get the W and they make finals and could still finish as high as 1st. The Koalas could still make finals if they lose but would be relying on one of the Penguins, Foxes or Bears to lose.
Koalas likely finish 1st to 3rd.
Koalas highest possible finish: 1st
Koalas lowest possible finish: 5th
Sharks V Foxes
The Sharks are the form team of the competition having won their last 7 games and are deserving of the top position on the ladder. They are the only team in the Eastern conference to have locked in a finals birth and will finish top of the ladder if they account for the Foxes in the final Eastern Conference regular season match.
Lose and they could drop to as low as 4th due to their poor percentage in relation to their final’s rivals. They will be looking for revenge after the 30 point mauling, they received by the Foxes in their previous meeting. Since then, however the fortunes of the two teams couldn’t be more different. The Foxes limping to the final game of the season and facing the real possibility of missing out on finals altogether. Whilst the acquisition of Casey to the Sharks has them arguably flag favourites.
For the Foxes they just simply need to win. Assuming the Bears win their final matchup against the Crocs, the Foxes will be playing the Sharks in effectively an elimination match. Lose and they will be out. Win and they keep their championship hopes alive.
Sharks likely finish 1st or 4th.
Sharks highest possible finish: 1st
Sharks lowest possible finish: 4th
Foxes likely finish 3rd or 5th.
Foxes highest possible finish: 1st
Foxes lowest possible finish: 5th
Eastern Conference Final Round Match-ups and Permutations
Unlike the Eastern conference, the Western conference is wide open with 7 of the 8 teams still a chance to make finals. Whilst the Reapers and Matadors are guaranteed top 2 finishes, all of the other teams (Mambas excluded) will be experiencing some pregame nerves.
Final round matches
Ducks V Mambas
Unfortunately, the Mambas are the only team which cannot mathematically make finals. They could however upset the Ducks and throw their finals plans into utter chaos.
Technically speaking the Ducks could win and still miss out on playing finals. For that to happen however the Unicorns would need to thump the Matadors by over 50 points. As such for the Ducks the message is simple: Win and they will make finals.
If they lose however, they will be sweating on a number of other results. Considering their rivals are playing the two top sides they should still scrape into finals even if they do lose.
Ducks likely finish 3rd.
Ducks highest possible finish: 3rd
Ducks lowest possible finish: 6th
Matadors V Unicorns
The Matadors are already guaranteed a top 2 finish and could finish on top of the table if they comfortably take care of the Unicorns.
The Unicorns however have everything to play for although their destiny is not in their own hands. Their poor % means a loss is likely to see them miss out on finals by %. Even if the Unicorns win, they will be relying on either the Ducks or the Toucans to lose to guarantee their place in the finals. In any case their poor percentage will play a big factor in where they end up.
Unicorns likely finish: 4th or 6th.
Unicorns highest possible finish: Could finish as high as 3rd.
Unicorns lowest possible finish: 6th
Matadors likely finish: 1st or 2nd .
Unicorns highest possible finish: 1st
Unicorns lowest possible finish: 2nd
Camels V Blazers
As long as one of the Ducks or Unicorns have lost in the matches leading up to this one, the winner of this match still has a chance to scrape into the finals. The loser however is officially out.
The Blazers high percentage means if they win they will require 2 of the Ducks, Toucans or Unicorns to lose. Considering the Toucans and Unicorns are both playing top 2 teams this is a high possibility.
For the Camels to scrape into finals however will not only require 2 of the above teams losing but will also require the Camels to win big to make up the % differentiation. It may be just out of their reach.