We have somewhere between one and nine matches left in our season. It’s almost certain that our last home match will take place this Wednesday versus UC Riverside. Looking at our prospects through the eyes of a handicapping oddsmaker, I don’t like our chances. From here on out, we need to win or go home, and given that we’ve only managed one victory from our last seven matches, things look pretty grim.
First up, UCR. While we are 1-3-3 (0-1-2 at home) from our last 7 matches, UCR is 4-2-1 (1-2-1 away). Our prior match versus UCR occurred at home where we won 3-1. My odds of prevailing: 60%.
Should we win, we play at CSUF in the semi-finals. While Fullerton has had our number in recent Big West tournament matches, our best scoreline of the year was a 5-2 thrashing of CSUF at home. So, the match-up may be a favorable one for us. CSUF is also coming off a 2-1 loss in a meaningful match at home versus last place UC Irvine, so they may be lacking form. My odds of prevailing: 40%.
Statistically speaking, we have about a 24% chance of making it to the final, where we would likely play at Davis. However, Davis will probably host CSUN in their semi-final match, a team that they drew at home earlier in the year. Should Davis lose their match, we would suddenly host the final. Odds of that happening is about 9.6% (24% of us making it that far coupled with a 40% chance of Davis losing). Anyway, let’s say the most likely thing happens which is Davis playing in the final. Given the -8 goal differential over 2 legs, I place our chances of winning at 30%.
With my odds of making it to the final at 24% and then beating Davis at 30%, I give our current odds of making it to the NCAA tourney at 7.2%. Of course, we can nearly double those odds by beating Riverside on Wednesday, and those odds nearly double again if Davis loses in the semi-final.
So, our total number of matches left in the season is closer to 1 than it is to 9. And while the cumulative odds to make it far are quite daunting, each win (or a Davis loss) boosts our odds significantly. We’ll know on Wednesday whether we bust out for 2017 or get moved to another table.