Behold: The strangest tiebreaker in the history of sports.
Iona Prep (N.Y.) and Cardinal Hayes (N.Y.) finished the CHSAA boys basketball regular season tied in the standings when Cardinal Hayes rallied for a 60-58 victory against Iona Prep on a final shot Tuesday night. The result also required a tiebreaker to determine the top seed in the forthcoming CHSAA tournament, one of the more prestigious basketball championship brackets in the Northeast.
So, what was the protocol to break the tie? A ratio of total points scored to total points allowed? Far too sensible. A coin flip? Too traditional.
No, as reported by our Gannett partners The Journal News, the tiebreaker came down to an even more capricious method:
Coaches for both Iona Prep and Hayes were informed by the league that the top seed will be based on the total score of Wednesday night’s St. John’s-DePaul game, which is scheduled for 9 p.m. If the total score is an even number, Iona Prep will be seeded No. 1. Hayes will be awarded the seed if the total is an odd number.
On Wednesday night, St. John’s edged DePaul by a score of 77-76. That’s 153 points, which means Hayes will ascend to the top seed and play Monsignor Scanlan. Iona Prep will play All Hallows, the second-to-bottom seed.
If that tiebreaker procedure seems bonkers, that’s because it is. Picking a winner based on the outcome of a completely unrelated sports event at a different level of the sport has absolutely no connectivity with what is actually happening with the teams and players themselves. It’s like picking home field advantage in the NFL playoffs based on a prop bet from a regular season Big Ten matchup between Ohio State and Iowa (take the over!!).
There are literally dozens of other ways in which the tiebreaker could have been determined that would be more sensible than the odd/even split of a combined total from a Big East regular season basketball game. The result of a chili cook-off between the two schools’ cafeterias would be more apropos (and something tells us the cafeterias might even be down for it).
In the end the schools had no recourse against the procedure, so it will progress as expected. For Iona Prep coach Steve Alvarado, that means moving on and focusing on the challenges at hand … even if no one can accurately explain why those challenges are being faced by Iona Prep and not Cardinal Hayes.
“I guess it really doesn’t matter at this point,” Alvarado told The Journal News. “There are no gimmes in our league. Our first-round game will probably be tough no matter who it is.”