ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State men’s basketball team is finishing up its final week of regular season games and has an outside chance of winning the PacWest season championship. The Storm, at 14-5 in conference play, sits behind only Concordia University (15-4). Meanwhile, Cal Baptist and Azusa Pacific are both tied with DSU at 14-5.
Dixie State’s final game will be at home, hosting Concordia. A win against Concordia will ensure a share of the PacWest season championship and a first-round bye in the Pacific West Conference Tournament.
Azusa Pacific lost Wednesday to BYU-Hawaii, but still controls its own destiny for conference tournament seeding thanks to its overtime win against Chaminade on Thursday night. If the Cougars win their last game and Dixie State also wins against Concordia, APU will win a share of the conference season championship and the top seed in the conference tournament. APU’s remaining game is on the road at UH-Hilo. The Vulcans are fighting for the final spot in the conference tournament.
Concordia will win the conference season title outright with a win against DSU in St. George. If Concordia loses to DSU, the worst they can do is share in the season championship. Concordia is ineligible for postseason play and the PacWest Conference Tournament because this is its first year competing in Division II.
Cal Baptist has the easiest final game. The Lancers are on the road at Holy Names, one of the basement dwellers in the PacWest. The Lancers have shown they can beat the teams they are supposed to beat. All five of their conference losses have come against APU (2x), DSU, Hawaii Pacific and Concordia.
In the event that two or more teams finish 15-5, they would all share the season conference title. The seeding for the conference tournament in that event would go to tiebreakers. The No. 1 and 2 seeds receive first-round byes and need only two wins to earn the title as PacWest Conference tournament champions and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Azusa Pacific would still get the No. 1 seed with a win against UH-Hilo as they have an undefeated record against Dixie State, Cal Baptist and Concordia (6-0).
Assuming DSU also finishes 15-5, they would get the No. 2 seed with a 3-3 record against the top three teams, or should APU lose Saturday night, the No. 1 seed.
Cal Baptist, with a 2-4 record against the other top three teams, would fall to the No. 3 seed in the tournament. The Lancers only get a top two seed if they win and either DSU or APU loses.
The best scenario for Dixie State is to win against Concordia and hope that APU loses against UH-Hilo. If the Storm and APU both win, Dixie State still gets the No. 2 seed and a share of the PacWest season championship.
Hawaii Pacific and BYU-Hawaii have both locked in as the fourth and fifth teams in the PacWest Conference Tournament. HPU can move up in seeding if either or both CBU and APU lose their final games, as they hold the tiebreaker against both teams. As messy as it is at the top of the standings, the real puzzle is at the bottom.
The only thing that clarified on Thursday night for the teams fighting for the final spot was that Point Loma was eliminated from contention. Chaminade, UH-Hilo, Fresno Pacific and Dominican are still in contention for the final spot. If UH-Hilo wins against APU on Saturday night, they are in. All other scenarios involving the other three teams should the Vulcans lose actually depend on how the top of the conference plays out.
The two games Saturday night that will have the most effect on the PacWest Conference Tournament seedings and invitations are the DSU-CU matchup and the APU-UHH matchup. On Saturday night, Dixie State fans will also be cheering for the Vulcans.
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