Monday, February 18, 2013

Hobbs wins should give Eagles push into postseason, sets up interesting Tuesday

  It was a weekend of redemption for the No. 7 Hobbs boys basketball team as the Eagles ousted a Carlsbad team 88-50 Friday after losing to the Cavemen 69-66 in Carlsbad earlier this season, and then beat No. 6 Las Cruces High 78-60 Saturday to avenge a 21-point loss to the Bulldawgs last season in Las Cruces.
  More importantly, however, Hobbs after going on a small two-game skid may be regaining steam heading into its regular-season finale in Clovis on Friday, the District 4-5A Tournament and the state tournament.
  Prior to Friday and Saturday, Hobbs (19-6 overall, 1-2 district) was looking rough around the edges, particularly defensively and with its press as the Eagles were giving up a ton of easy buckets in losses to Carlsbad and Clovis.
  This weekend Hobbs was able to get out and run and puts some points on the board after scoring 66 and 59 in its last two contests.
  But the importance of Friday's game in Clovis will be determined Tuesday when Clovis (2-0 in district) travels to Carlsbad (1-2).
  A Clovis win means the Wildcats win district, Hobbs is second and Carlsbad finishes third (Hobbs owns the tiebreaker over Carlsbad via point differential) and Friday's game is more about keeping good momentum heading into the playoffs (oh, and that whole rivalry things too).
  HOWEVER, if Clovis loses to Carlsbad (the Cavemen are tough on their home court) that is when it gets interesting for Hobbs.
  If Clovis loses, then Hobbs will be playing for a chance to win district with a win or finish last in district with a loss Friday in Clovis.
  A win Friday for Hobbs after a Clovis loss Tuesday puts the district in a three-way tie for the title (all teams would be 2-2) and point differential would determine the top two teams. Those teams would then play a playoff game for the district regular-season title at a neutral site.
  As of now when it comes to point differential (there is a 10-point cap), Clovis leads at plus-12, Hobbs is at plus-5 and Carlsbad is minus-17. With the 10-point cap, it would likely mean if there was a three-way tie that Hobbs and Clovis would play each other. Carlsbad would need to win by 10 or more Tuesday to move to minus-7 and Clovis to plus-2 then have Hobbs beat Clovis by 10 or more Friday to move Clovis to minus-8 to get into the district playoff at this point if there were to be a three-way tie.
  But if Clovis loses Tuesday then beats Hobbs on Friday, Clovis wins the district at 3-1, Carlsbad finishes second at 2-2 and Hobbs takes third at 1-3 – the worst scenario possible for the Eagles.
  This would mean Hobbs would have to travel to Carlsbad for the district tournament semifinal, but more importantly, would have to be seeded behind Carlsbad for the state tournament as a team with a worse district record than a fellow district member can't be seeded ahead of them (if teams tie, however, the NMAA can use its discretion to seed the teams where it sees fit). This would likely mean Hobbs begins the state tournament on the road despite having a better overall resume than Carlsbad.
  Basically for Hobbs it comes down to if Clovis wins Tuesday, the Eagles are guaranteed to host the district tournament semifinal for finishing second and can be seeded ahead of Carlsbad for the state tournament (which likely means a home game for the first round).
  If Clovis loses Tuesday, Hobbs has a chance to play for the district title in a playoff if it beats Clovis in Clovis on Friday or will finish third with a loss to Clovis and likely won't play in Tasker Arena again this season.
  So much rides on Tuesday's outcome.