Sunday, 4 March 2007

Sunday Thoughts: First Crack at Nationals Seedings, Wild Card Selection Process

Nice article by Howard Tsumura about Casey Archibald, Canada West Player-of-the-Year who has led his team to the Final Eight in Halifax Captain Casey Leads T-Birds

Wayne Kondro's article on last night's OUA East Final at Carleton that appeared in this morning's Ottawa Citizen Ravens Rule East has an article summarizing last night's UBC victory at Brandon for the Canada West championship T-Birds Canada West Champs As well, an article from the Brandon Bobcats official web site T-Birds Take Canada West Championship in heartbreaker over Bobcats

Here is an early preview of Friday's QSSF conference championship game between Laval Rouge et Or and Concordia Stingers in Montreal. The Stingers won all 4 regular season meetings between these two "Q" league rivals and both teams won their semi-final games with reasonable ease. We will discuss this game at length later in the week but the game features all 5 of the "Q"'s first team all-stars (Concordia's Patrick Perrotte, Dwayne Buckley and Damian Buckley plus Laval's Jean-Philippe Morin and freshman Jean-Francois Beaulieu-Maheux), the league MVP (Perrotte), Rookie-of-the-Year (Beaulieu-Maheux), Defensive Player of the Year (Dwayne Buckley) and Coach of the Year (John Dore, Concordia). Suffice to say these two teams dominated Quebec this season and it should be a tremendous game Friday night in Montreal.

Nationals seedings situation as of today: Four teams have already punched their tickets to the Final Eight in Halifax: UBC, Brandon, Carleton and Windsor. The seeding committee awaits the results of this coming Friday's game from Quebec, where the winner of Laval at Concordia QSSF championship game (7 PM Eastern) receives an automatic bid and the two AUS tournament semi-final winners (games at 5 PM Eastern and 7 PM Eastern), which will identify the 7 automatic qualifiers. According to CIS President Marg McGregor, interviewed on Rogers Television at halftime of the Ottawa Carleton game last night, the wild card committee will announce the 8th team to qualify for the Nationals on Saturday night after the Wilson Cup and AUS championship game have been completed.

Wild card aside, in terms of seedings at the Final Eight, my understanding is that the Top 4 seeds will include the four conference champions (Canada West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada). The next 4 seeds be comprised of the remaining qualifiers. As such, it appears likely that Brandon, #1 for the past 4 weeks, is virtually set as the #5 seed (although this may change if Windsor knocks off Carleton in the Wilson Cup). If this is the case, UBC will be either a #1, #2 or #3 seed because the seeding committee will do its best to not matchup conference foes in the first round. Also, the winner of the Carleton/Windsor matchup at next Saturday's Wilson Cup will be a Top 4 seed. As will the AUS champion and the Quebec champion. Today, that's the only thing that is virtually certain. The seedings will be much easier to predict after about 9 PM Eastern on Friday night.

WILD CARD SELECTION PROCESS: Here is our current understanding of the wild-card selection process. This year, two of 16 OUA, two of 14 Canada West, two of eight Atlantic and one of five Quebec schools get automatic berths. Those teams not automatically qualifying and having a legitimate opportunity to be considered for a wild card spot are assessed by a committee of four coaches. According to Marg McGregor, CIS President, interviewed on Rogers Television last night during halftime of the Ottawa/Carleton game, there are 8 pre-determined, equally-weighted criteria that go into selecting the wild-card team. We will endeveour to publish these criteria if they become available. The four coaches on this season's committee are Lethbridge coach Mike Connolly, Bishop's coach Eddie Pomykala, Saint Mary's coach Ross Quackenbush and an as-yet undetermined OUA representative. Brock's Ken Murray will act as a facilitator for the conference call on which the wild card selection will be made, but Murray does not have a vote. In the event there's a tie between the four voting coaches, Dave Crook, the National Association of Basketball Coaches of Canada president and Winnipeg coach, will cast a deciding ballot. We hope to have more clarity on this process as the week progresses.

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