Crunch time: varsity playoff probabilities

The Journal’s sports editors break down best and worst-case scenarios for Queen’s varsity teams as they close their regular seasons

Every varsity team currently has a shot of making the OUA playoffs—or has already clinched their spot.
Every varsity team currently has a shot of making the OUA playoffs—or has already clinched their spot.
As varsity teams near their final regular season games, we sat back and crunched the numbers.
These are our outlooks for all six teams. We’re hoping for the best—but preparing for the worst. 
 
Men’s basketball—10-9, fifth in OUA East
 
Outlook: While the men’s basketball team has time to make amends for winning two of their past seven games, their final four are coming against some of the best in the country. This weekend, they’re slated to play the UOttawa Gee-Gee’s (13-6) and Carleton Ravens (18-1). The next weekend, they’re up against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (7-12) and Ryerson Rams (18-1). 
 
Meanwhile, Queen’s is battling with the Laurentian Voyageurs (11-8) for fourth in the OUA East—the teams are facing identical opponents for their last four games. In the event both teams finish in either fourth or fifth, they’ll play each other in the first round of the OUA playoffs. The winner would then play the conference’s top team.
 
Best Case: Gaels upset UOttawa, beat U of T, and finish regular season with 12-11 record. Laurentian finishes the season 0-4, putting Queen’s fourth in the OUA East to play the Voyageurs in the first round.
Worst Case: Queen’s loses all four final games and finish 10-13. U of T wins final four games of season, and Queen’s plays UOttawa in the first round of playoffs.
 
Women’s basketball—12-7, fourth in OUA East
 
Outlook: Having clinched a spot in the first round of the postseason, the women’s basketball team has four games left this season. At this point, they’ve all but ensured a fourth place finish.
 
Currently, the Gaels are matched up against UOttawa (17-2), Carleton (15-4), U of T (4-15) and Ryerson (15-4) to close out their season. With three of those four matchups come against teams above them in the OUA East, the Gaels will need to fight to keep home court advantage in the first round. 
 
Behind Queen’s are the York Lions (8-11), who play the same four teams as the Gaels over the next two weeks. York would have to win all four to tie with the Gaels. With a pair of surprise wins against top-ranked teams, they could sneak into third in the OUA East, but they’d also need Carleton or Ryerson to lose all four of their games. 
 
Best Case: Win all four matches while Ryerson or Carleton lose at least three, tie for second in OUA East.
Worst Case: Lose all four matches, finish regular season fourth in OUA East.
 
Men’s hockey—18-9-0, third in the OUA East
 
Outlook: With only one regular season game remaining against the McGill Redmen (16-7-4), the men’s hockey team will be a contender come the OUA playoffs. Now, they’re looking to rack up the final points needed to clinch home ice advantage.
 
After losing to the RMC Paladins (6-19-2) in the 133rd Carr Harris Cup, the Gaels will matchup against McGill on Saturday to determine who takes third in the OUA East. While tied for third in the OUA East, if McGill wins, the Gaels will fall to fourth after their devestating loss to RMC.
 
Currently, the Gaels lag behind Carleton (16-5-5) in the standings by a point. The Ravens’ two final games are against the UOIT Ridgebacks (13-8-5) and Laurentian (9-16-1). If the Ravens lose one game and Queen’s beats McGill, the Gaels will jump to second in the OUA.
 
Best Case: Gaels win over McGill while Carleton loses one of their final games, finish second in OUA East.
Worst Case: Lose to McGill, fall to fourth in OUA East.
 
Women’s hockey—13-8-1-0, third in OUA East
 
Outlook: The women’s hockey team (13-8-1-0) faces the most complex situation of any Queen’s team as they jockey for playoff positioning. With their win against UOIT (9-12-1-1) on Thursday afternoon, the Gaels leapfrogged into third in the OUA. Now with two games left, they’re guaranteed to finish at fifth, but can finish as high as second.
 
Due to the nature of the OUA playoff structure, the Gaels are most likely to play one of three teams in the first round: U of T (11-6-2-2), Ryerson (10-5-4-2), or Nipissing (9-6-5-2). Including Queen’s, the four teams are currently filling the third to sixth spots in the divisional standings.
 
Granted the Gaels beat York (5-10-3-1) on Friday night, Queen’s will be within the top five of the league. While a win over Brock (7-6-5-2) the following Saturday would help their cause, some of the top teams will have to rack up late-season losses for Queen’s to finish second in the OUA.
 
Best Case: Gaels win final two games of season, competitors lose last set of games. Queen’s finish second in OUA.
Worst Case: Women fall in final two games while opponents win and ascend in rankings. Gaels finish seventh in OUA, play second seed in first round of playoffs.
 
Men’s volleyball—12-3, first in OUA East
 
Outlook: With three games remaining, the worst case scenarios for the men’s volleyball team aren’t realistic. Playing RMC (1-14) twice with a game against Trent (0-13) in between, the team’s focus is slowly shifting towards the playoffs. Behind them, Ryerson (10-5) and U of T (10-5) both sit four points behind in the standings with a difficult schedule to cap off their regular season.
 
With that in mind, plenty is on the line going into this last stretch for the Gaels. A win in the quarterfinals over the OUA West’s fourth seed would afford Queen’s the chance to host the OUA Final Four, giving them home court advantage throughout the semi-finals and, if successful, the OUA Championship.
 
Best Case: Gaels win final three games—the highest likelihood—securing first place in OUA East.
Worst Case: Men drop final three games and Ryerson or Toronto wins last three, conceding first place.
 
Women’s volleyball—9-6, third in OUA East
 
Outlook: After a slow start to the season, the Gaels have recently picked up momentum and look likely to sweep their final four games of the regular season.
 
Luckily for Queen’s, they’ll close out their season twice against the RMC Paladins (0-15), with a game each against the Trent (1-13) and Lakehead (1-14). 
 
Currently, women’s volleyball’s only a win behind U of T (10-5) in the OUA East. Toronto also has four regular season games left, and if the Gaels win all four while Toronto loses one of their next three matches, the teams will be tied for second in their division. In the event of a tie in records, the Gaels will claim second—they have the season series in hand over U of T.
 
Right behind the Gaels in the OUA East are York (7-6) at fourth, who have six games to go. If York goes 4-6 in that stretch and Queen’s goes 2-4, the teams will be tied for third in the OUA East. Queen’s also has the advantage in the team’s head-to-head this season.
 
Best Case: U of T goes 3-1, Gaels win final four regular season games and finish second in OUA East.  
Worst Case: York leapfrogs Queen’s after the Gaels loses four straight, drop to fourth in OUA East.

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