As we enter the final weekend of the regular season, I wanted to try and bring some clarity to the potential seeding situations for the USD men and women, as it pertains to next week's Summit League Tournament.
Things are pretty black and white for Joey James and the Coyote men. They secured at least the No. 5 seed with with last week's win over Western Illinois. And with only a slight chance of moving up one spot - the Coyotes would have to sweep the weekend and get some help - they are all but settled into the 4-5 quarterfinal match-up, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 9.
SDSU hosts Denver tonight, before the Coyotes come to town on Saturday. Fort Wayne will wrap up with games at Western Illinois and Omaha.
There are a couple of scenarios that could result in a USD-SDSU quarterfinal meeting, although they seem a little far-fetched.
If the Jacks lose to Denver, and all three teams finish the weekend 1-1, SDSU would get the 4-seed because Denver and Fort Wayne have a win over North Dakota State. SDSU would also get the 4-seed if they were to lose both games, and Fort Wayne goes at least 1-1.
Given SDSU's track record at Frost Arena, it seems more likely that the Coyotes' first round opponent would be either Denver or Fort Wayne, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Frankly, either one would be a more favorable opponent for USD, which split the season series with both.
There's another log-jam on the women's side. And this one includes the Coyotes, along with Western Illinois and Fort Wayne.
The team that emerges from that mess will find themselves on the opposite side of the bracket from Summit League front-runner and five-time defending tournament champion South Dakota State. The other two will not only face each other in the opening round, but the winner would get the well-rested Jackrabbits in the semifinals. That's a tough draw.
Western Illinois has the toughest remaining schedule. The Leathernecks will be at Fort Wayne tonight, before closing the regular season Saturday afternoon at IUPUI. The Mastadons wrap up with Omaha.
While USD will, undoubtedly, be keeping an eye on the events in Indiana, they are actually the team that has the most control over its situation.
If the Coyotes manage to sweep the weekend - they host NDSU tonight and SDSU on Sunday - it won't matter what the others do. USD, by way over their win over the Jackrabbits, would earn the No. 3 seed through the Summit League's tie-breaking criteria.
That's easier said than done, but the schedule couldn't set up much better for the Coyotes. USD is 10-1 at home this season. And while you can never assume a win over a rival, let alone two, you've got to like the odds.
*Programming Note: Due to Midco Sports Network's live coverage of the 2014 NSIC Basketball Championships, next week's episode of Coyote Corner will air on Thursday, Mar. 6 at 8 p.m.