Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Moreon the Brackets

Note the terrible attempt at wit above so we'll try to make up for it with an informative post.

As Ottawa hosts “AAA” OFSAA this week, talk in the gyms remains fixed upon the Final 8 brackets announced Sunday evening and I have yet to speak to anyone who didn’t think the brackets could have been arranged more effectively. In these instances, numbers can be effective showing the amount of inter-conference play during the season and in this case the numbers clearly highlight the need to encourage more play between conferences. Evidence suggests that there have been few meaningful games involving teams from different conferences: this season only 5 such games were played among the eight teams at the Nationals.

Carleton 2-0 (12 point win at Dal and 22 point win vs. X at Dal Christmas tournament)
Concordia 1-0 (OT win at home vs. X in November)
Calgary 1-0 (one point win over Ottawa at Winnipeg Christmas tournament)
Dalhousie 1-1 (5 point win at home vs. Western and 12 point loss also at home vs. Carleton)
Western 0-1 (5 point loss at Western)
Ottawa 0-1 (1 point loss vs. Calgary at Winnipeg Christmas tournament)
St. FX 0-2 (OT loss at Concordia, 22 point loss to Carleton at Dalhousie)

More effectively seeding the Nationals could have more than doubled the amount of big games between inter-conference teams in a matter of two days. As it stands, there will be 3 first round inter-conference games instead of 4 and the definite possibility that both semi-finals will be playoff repeats. We could have as few as 4 inter-conference matchups in a 7 game championship side pool. Which would be a crying shame.

Overall, there were 16 games played among the teams qualifying for the Nationals regardless of conference and to little surprise the host Carleton Ravens had the best record at 7-0. Here are each teams records in games against teams participating in this season's Final 8:

Carleton 7-0 (3 wins vs. Ottawa, 2 wins at Western, wins at Dal and vs. X at Dal)
Concordia 1-0 (home win in overtime vs. X)
Calgary 2-1 (1-1 vs. UBC and neutral court 1 point win vs. Ottawa)
Dalhousie 3-2 (2-1 vs. X, defeated Western and lost to Carleton both at home)
UBC 1-1 (both vs. Calgary at home)
Western 1-3 (defeated Ottawa at home by 20 in November, lost at Dal and twice at home to Carleton)
St. FX 1-4 (1-2 vs. Dal; losses to Carleton and at Concordia)
Ottawa 0-5 (losses at Western, Calgary on neutral floor and 3 losses to Carleton)

NOTES: Carleton again showed that they will go anywhere to play the best competition in Canada, hosting their own House-Laughton tournament which annually attracts Top 10 teams including UVic this season and also travelling to Ste. Foy for the Laval tournament as well as Halifax to face 3 top AUS teams in Acadia, St. FX and Dal... UBC played only 3 non-conference CIS opponents all season, all at home, hosting Laurier twice on back-to-back days and also Lakehead... Calgary and Ottawa met in a very interesting and exciting semi-final matchup in Winnipeg at Christmas and the Dinos came back from a large deficit to edge Ottawa by 1 on a jumper by Robbie Sihota with just seconds remaining.

One other note, more than one discussion this week has talked about the high probability that the committee tried to ensure that an all-Ontario final did not materialize. To me, this is nonsense. Yes, the committee did not properly perform due diligence on all the implications of their seedings and likely in retrospect given opportunity to re-do the seedings I'm confident that logic would have prevailed. But I don't for a minute believe that the committee colluded to knowingly compromise the event for the sake of ensuring that an all-Ontario final would not take place. Note that the committee's selections also destroyed any possibility of an all-Canada West final, something if materialized would have allowed CW fans to proclaim their conference as tops this season. Hopefully, the CIS leadership learned a valuable lesson in this exercise and future selection processes a more considered approach before finalizing things.

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