August 02, 2006

Win or Go Home: The NBA has changed the playoff seeding rules to value won-loss record over winning a division, ending the situation that allowed the best-record Spurs to meet the second-best Mavs in the second round instead of the Western Conference finals.

posted by rcade to basketball at 02:35 PM - 11 comments

Does anyone wish one of the major sports would dump the artificial conference divisions and seed the entire league in one bracket? I would've loved to see Dallas/S.F. in the Super Bowl in the early '90s instead of Dallas/Buffalo.

posted by rcade at 02:44 PM on August 02, 2006

I think having seperate conferences and divisions can make for a lot of excitement, division races and interleague play for example. What I don't like is over emphasis on divisions, paticularly in hockey. Why anyone would want to see eight Detroit vs. Columbus games instead of some good thrashings of the Leafs by the Wings is beyond me.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:48 PM on August 02, 2006

YYM, as a practical matter, how would you arrange the schedule to have both? If teams don't play more intra-division and intra-conference games then what do the races really mean? Playing all other teams the same number of times with divisions added would only exclude teams with better records in other divisions or conference from playoffs, as one can see from the recent East/West imbalance in the NBA. You can't tell me that most years of the last 10 or so the 9 and 10 teams from the West weren't better, and more deserving of playoff slots, than the East's 7 and 8. Maybe its just that I've been watching, relatively speaking, so much more soccer the last five years or more but I prefer the single table structure. Throw out the playoffs and add in a league cup and supercup.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:00 PM on August 02, 2006

Lets face it, its all about money. The old days in baseball allowed conference seeding so the best in the National and American Leagues won the pennent and went to the World Series. Now there are lots of playoff games so money can be made for tix & concessions. Its a sign of the times. Money first, sport second.

posted by Tigger1 at 03:11 PM on August 02, 2006

Maybe its just that I've been watching, relatively speaking, so much more soccer the last five years or more but I prefer the single table structure. Throw out the playoffs and add in a league cup and supercup. Agreed, ive liked the European leagues (EPL etc...) formate over the systems used by American professional sports since I started following it in the 70's. While we will never see the likes of relegation here in the States, IMO it sure would be fun. Im not a basketball fan so I wont comment on what the NBA is doing, but I do LOVE to follow the NCAAB tourny and the way the 64* teams are ranked (even in four regions). I don't follow baseball all that closely untill the playoffs begin but every year it seems that there are one or two teams that get in with records near or below .500 by virtue of playing in a "weak" division. It looks like NASCAR is as close as we get with this whole Chase set up. Taking the top 10 teams and ranking them for the last 10 races. Perhapes not a perfect system but it is one I enjoy. *it is still just 64 isnt it?

posted by Folkways at 03:37 PM on August 02, 2006

Put all 30 teams in one conference. Each team can play each team in a home and ome series. That will be 58 games. The other 24 games can be scheduled in a rotating fashion where you'd play 12 other teams in another H&H series. Take the top 12 with the top 4 getting byes.

posted by dbt302 at 03:47 PM on August 02, 2006

Nah - keep the divisions. I like it. It's flavour. Sports shouldn't be all about fairness. If that were true, Iverson and Lebron would be called for palming the ball. But this re-seeding is a good half measure. You can be unfair, just so long as you don't flaunt it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:01 PM on August 02, 2006

dump the artificial conference divisions If baseball did that, then watching any of the west teams (AL at least) would just be a waste of time, not that it's not already. At least, this gives us fans of those teams something to cheer for.

posted by graymatters at 04:52 PM on August 02, 2006

Folkways: it is technically 65 now- the 64th and 65th teams have a game the tuesday before the tournament starts. The loser goes home (though they were technically in the tournament) and the winner gets slaughtered on Thursday or Friday by a #1 seed.

posted by tieguy at 05:11 PM on August 02, 2006

Thanks tieguy, a thought about mentioning the play-in game but never got it typed out.

posted by Folkways at 05:50 PM on August 02, 2006

I'm wondering if the league researched the probability of 1-4 matchups (like DAL-SAS) before going to a six-division format wherein crap teams like Denver could receive top seeds. Perhaps they didn't think of it then because it wasn't much of a problem in the four-division format. The top wild-card team wouldn't get the top overall seed until the conference finals. And over the last 20 years of the 4-division format, only two No. 3 seeds had been more than five games better than the No. 2 seed. I think an easy (and less reactionary) solution to this NBA problem would be to simply do it in special situations. So if a wild-card team was 6-11 games better than a division winner, then they'd push ahead into one of the top three seeds. That would avert an early Dallas-San Antonio matchup, but I don't think Cleveland's one-game superiority over New Jersey merits a switch-up in the seedings in a similar situation.

posted by jackhererra at 08:54 AM on August 03, 2006

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