ALLEN, TX – The Kelly Cup playoffs are still months away, but if you look at the division standings you can already see a separation between the haves and have-nots.
As a reminder, the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup playoffs will be played entirely within the division, with the division winners playing the fourth place finisher and second place team meeting the third place team in the first round (division semifinals). The winners of each series will meet in the division finals, leading to the conference finals and Kelly Cup finals.
– With about 30% of the season completed, only the north division is competitive from top to bottom. The top three teams in the division all have 26 points and are only seven points ahead of last place Worcester with 19 points. This is in sharp contrast to the other three divisions.
In the south division, first place Florida (35 points) has a 24-point lead over last place Jacksonville (11 points).
In the central division, first place Toledo (31 points) has an 18-point lead over last place Indy (13 points).
In the mountain division, first place Wichita (34 points) has a 20-point lead over last place Rapid City (14 points). Here, the top four teams (Wichita, Colorado, Idaho, Allen) have widened the gap over the bottom three teams (Tulsa, Utah, Rapid City) in the last ten games. The top four have all won seven of their last ten games. The bottom three have just one win (Utah), two wins (Tulsa) and three wins (Rapid City) over the last ten games. There is now a seven-point gap between fourth place Allen and fifth place Tulsa. While seven points don’t sound like much, history says a team that far behind at this point will rarely make the playoffs.
– Here is the playoff status of the other three divisions:
North Division – This is the toughest division to predict because only seven points separate first and last place. Based on the current standings Wheeling, Reading, Adirondack, and Manchester make the playoffs. Brampton and Worcester miss the playoffs.
South Division – Florida, South Carolina, Greenville, and Atlanta are in good position to make the playoffs even though Greenville and South Carolina have only won four of their last ten games. Orlando, Jacksonville and Norfolk are on the outside looking in. Orlando was way out of the playoff picture but has closed to within six points of a playoff spot by winning seven of their last ten games.
Central Division – Like the mountain division, the Central Division has a distinct gap between the top four teams and the bottom three. Toledo, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Fort Wayne are battling for the top four spots and will make the playoffs. The bottom three are seven points behind (Quad City), eight points behind (Kalamazoo) and 11 points behind (Indy) the last playoff spot. Again, history would say the bottom three teams have little chance of making up the deficit to make into the playoffs.
– The San Jose Barracuda got pounded at home last night losing to Stockton by a score of 6-0. The Barracuda’s record is 9-9-0-1 which places them in a tie for fifth place in the Pacific Division. Their next three games are against division-leading Tucson on Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The Barracuda have been playing with a short bench because of injuries. There could be a chance for a call-up from Allen over the next week.
– Have had several questions on the status of players and when they might return to the lineup. I will be attending practice today and will have a full report tomorrow.