Warning: The following piece is my personal geeking out on the UAAP through hypotheticals and probabilities. Prepare for multiple excel tables, among several other nerdy things. Do enjoy.

We’re finally down to the last 10 games of UAAP Season 82’s Elimination Rounds, and the standings are an absolute mess.After seeing that massive heap from seeds 2-6, I decided to play around with some scenarios that could make this season even crazier than it has already been. As much as I want to pick apart all the possibilities, 10 games remaining means there are still 1,024 possible outcomes. Even if I delete the two games that would be meaningless to the playoff standings (Ateneo vs NU, NU vs UE), we’d be left with 256 outcomes. I am no Math major, so I’ll leave those probabilities to the experts.

Instead, allow me to show you what I think are some of the most interesting scenarios that we could see happen when the UAAP Eliminations Rounds end on October 30. Time to nerd out.

Five and Four way ties

There is only one way the rest of the season can break to create a FIVE-WAY tie for second place. That looks like this:

What then would happen here? Well, a lot of things. Adamson is going to have to rack up three straight difficult wins, while also hoping that UP and UST blow their remaining games. The latter part of that scenario wouldn’t actually be too far-fetched if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s a UP-NU game on Wednesday that the Fighting Maroons should win handily.

First, Ateneo gets their sweep, which means a stepladder format will come into play. This means:

  • Ateneo will go straight to the Finals
  • The two-seed will have a twice-to-beat advantage over the winner of a knockout between the three and four-seed

But in a five-way tie for second, who the hell will be the second, third and fourth seeds? I’ll use everyone’s favorite (and accurate) website for research, Wikipedia.

“In case of three or more teams being tied, the team with the best head-to-head record usually possesses the best seeding, while the other teams will play an extra game to determine the second-best seeding.”

In this case, this would be the final Head-To-Head standings.Interestingly, Adamson (currently sixth) and FEU would tie for the second seed, and they would have split their season series at this point. The likely deciding factor here would be the win margin. Since FEU won by 12 in Round 1, the second-seed will come down to whether Adamson can beat FEU by over a dozen in Round 2.

Then the fun begins. I personally have no idea how the UAAP will have a four-team playoff. Will it be a mini-knockout Final Four? Will they be seeded according to H2H match-up as well? This is unclear – probably because it’s so unlikely to happen. But in a season with this type of parity in the middle, why not, right?

For some additional fun, here are a couple of four-way tie scenarios, one for the second-seed and one for third-seed. Each should likely play out the same way, with the H2H leader gaining first dibs on the seed in question.

Triple-Double Ties

These are pretty damn crazy too, though the odds are also extremely low that these happen. However, these may be the best scenarios to exemplify how this season has gone, as there’s an argument to be made that the UP-UST duo has established a tiny separation from the other three teams in their rat race.

These scenarios would see a tie for second place, which would mean a playoff for the second seed, regardless of whether Ateneo sweeps. A Final Four would mean that the 2 vs 3 match-up would basically become a Best-of-Three (including the playoff). However, an Ateneo sweep would make it even more interesting simply because the loser of the UST-UP (2 vs 3) would have to play a knockout against the winner of the three-team gauntlet between FEU, DLSU and Adamson.

Then the winner of that would have to play the second-seed, who will hold a twice-to-beat.

Still following? I really hope so.

These scenarios are unlikely simply because one of the following has to happen:

  • NU must beat UP
  • UP must beat Ateneo

For the sake of fun, we should all be on our knees praying to the basketball gods.

First Round Winner Wins Again

This is the most, I guess, logical answer, without having to go too deep into the numbers. I personally believe the most logical simulation would’ve been Higher Net Rating wins, but the UAAP stopped tracking Offensive and Defensive Rating this season. Still, this scenario provides more than enough drama with a slightly more logical projection.UST would actually lose its remaining two games, thus knocking it down to a tie with La Salle for fourth. A playoff would ensue among these two teams, with the winner then playing FEU in the first step of the super stepladder format.

This scenario highlights match-ups and remaining schedule, specifically for a team like UST that seems to have one foot in the door for the playoffs. A late season collapse is not out of the realm of possibility for at least one of these teams, and that could just cost them a spot in the Final Four or Stepladder playoff.

My Personal Projection

Ateneo’s demolition of UE last Saturday felt like their signal to the league that they’re going for the sweep. After a slow start offensively in the tournament, the Blue Eagles have found their form and look like the wrecking crew we all expected. This is their sweep to lose.

However, the middle of the pack is where the fun really begins. UST moves past UP in my scenario by winning out, while the Fighting Maroons fall to their Katipunan rivals and La Salle avenges their First Round heartbreaker. The only tie I’ll predict is the one between FEU and DLSU for fourth, an old rivalry reborn on a smaller stage.Ateneo’s demolition of UE last Saturday felt like their signal to the league that they’re going for the sweep. After a slow start offensively in the tournament, the Blue Eagles have found their form and look like the wrecking crew we all expected. This is their sweep to lose.

The odds are that none of the aforementioned scenarios will happen; I could spend the rest of the time between now until Wednesday’s triple header plotting out the other hundreds of permutations. But these scenarios are the proof that we’re at a major crossroad of a UAAP season that stands out simply because the only inevitability seems to be the champion team.

And with literally a thousand possibilities left on the table, we all need to buckle up for the wild finish to UAAP Season 82.