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Playoff Picture

A look ahead as the Swarm prepare for their final three games of the regular season

The Georgia Swarm improved to 11-4 after a dominant win against the Toronto Rock last Friday, and the team now enjoys a well-deserved bye week after their perfect March.

While the Swarm clinched their postseason spot on March 15 with the win against the Rochester Knighthawks, that doesn’t mean that their work is done. The Swarm are still hunting for that top spot in the East Division and home-floor advantage in the postseason.

This season, the NLL changed the playoff format, so now the top four teams in each division advance to the postseason. The postseason starts the weekend of May 3 and will run weekly until a new NLL World Champion is crowned. The 1-seed and the 4-seed will meet in the division semi-finals at the 1-seed’s home, and the 2-seed and the 3-seed will clash that first week in May in the 2-seed’s barn. From there, the winners of both games advance to the Division Finals and play that game in the higher seed’s home. From there, the winner represents the East Division in the NLL Finals and will take on the West Division winner. The better regular season record determines home-floor advantage.

The significant postseason format changes means the Swarm still have something to fight for: home-floor advantage through the NLL Finals.

The NLL postseason tentatively runs through the entire month of May. Given that the top four East Division teams are 23-4 at home this season, home-floor advantage is the clear goal for the Swarm, especially since they’re 6-1 in Sting City this season. But to get a solid month of home-floor advantage in the postseason, the Swarm have some work to do in the East.

2018-19 NLL East Division Standings

East Division W L W% GB GF GA
x – Buffalo 12 3 .800 0 203 161
x – Georgia 11 4 .733 1.0 186 167
Toronto 8 5 .615 3.0 151 152
New England 7 6 .538 4.0 156 159
Philadelphia 3 10 .231 8.0 152 167
Rochester 2 11 .154 9.0 147 179

Right now, the Swarm are in second place, and if the season ended today, they would have home-floor advantage for the first round of playoffs. If Buffalo advances to the East Division Finals, then the Swarm would meet them in KeyBank Center. If either the 3-seed or 4-seed advance, then they would play the Swarm in Infinite Energy Arena in the East Division Finals.

Unfortunately, the season doesn’t end today, and the Swarm have to bring their A-game for every game in April and ask for a little luck if they want to claim first place in the East Division.

With three games left (April 5 vs. San Diego; April 13 at Calgary; April 20 vs. Philadelphia), the Swarm will need to win their last three contests and the Bandits to drop at least a game for them to claim first in the East. For the tiebreaker, the Swarm need the Bandits to lose at least one more game to an East Division opponent, and the Swarm will need to best Philadelphia on April 20. This would give the Swarm the better division record (10-3 versus Buffalo’s potential 9-4) and the higher seeding against the Bandits.

Both Toronto and New England have five games left in the season. For the Swarm to clinch the 1- or 2-seed in the East, they will need the Rock to lose at least two more games and the Black Wolves to lose one more. The Swarm took the season series against both teams, and if they end up tied record-wise with the Rock or Black Wolves, then the Swarm would host against either team.

Thinking further ahead, the Swarm also want to stay ahead of everyone in the West Division.

2018-19 NLL West Division Standings

West Division W L W% GB GF GA
San Diego 8 4 .667 0 141 135
Calgary 7 7 .500 2.0 153 151
Saskatchewan 6 6 .500 2.0 150 141
Colorado 6 8 .429 3.0 150 149
Vancouver 4 10 .286 5.0 136 164

San Diego and Saskatchewan each have six games left to play. The Swarm need to at least knock off San Diego and win one more game to stay ahead of them and hold the season series if the two potentially meet in the NLL Finals (this assumes that the Seals would win five of their last six games). The Swarm need the Rush to lose one more game to stay ahead of them, having already bested the Rush on Jan. 27 and holding the season series against them.

For Calgary, the Swarm need the Roughnecks to fall one more time – preferably at the hands of the men in blue and yellow for tiebreaker implications. If the Swarm lose in Calgary on April 13, then they will need to win the other two games to stay ahead of Calgary in case the Roughnecks go on a tear. As of now, the only way the Roughnecks would get home-floor advantage against the Swarm would be if they win their last four games of the season – including their contest against the Swarm on 4/13 – and the Swarm drops their last three. The Mammoth and Warriorscannot catch up to the Swarm’s record, even if they win out the rest of the season.

But the easiest way to ensure no one in the West Division has home floor advantage in the NLL Finals? Win three more games.

The easiest way to ensure the Swarm remain one of the top two teams in the NLL? Win three more games.

Control the controllables.

Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse Team