Basketball: Final 8 seedings somewhat sketchy

It is a point of pride that none of us had the Final 8 seedings bang on.

Three OUA teams on one side of the bracket, Western-Ottawa in the 4-5 game, with the winner possibly facing No. 1-seeded Carleton in a semi-final, frankly, stinks on every conceivable level.

It stinks because it might hurt attendance for the national semi-final since the Ravens, if they win Friday, will face a team they have already beaten more than once this season. The perception might be out there that it's a fait accompli for Carleton (talk to any Raven for 10 seconds and you'll be disabused of that notion). If people don't come out for semi-final Saturday, they might not return Sunday for the final.

It stinks because there is a clear double standard. The guideline that conference foes should not meet in the first round was followed for the women's Final 8, where Cape Breton ended up seeded No. 7 when there was a strong argument they were better than No. 6 Saskatchewan. It also stinks because it smacks of the petty regionalism which has held back university sports for far, far too long.

It is understandable if there's a backlash against Carleton for being in automatically as the host team. However, visiting it upon the heads of Ottawa and Western is absolutely brutal. Coach Dave DeAveiro's Gee-Gees and Brad Campbell's Mustangs at least rate a shot at the best of the rest of Canada and a chance to succeed or fail on their own merits. Both of them are Top 5 teams. Ottawa has just four losses since November, all of them vs. the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds for the Final 8. Western has only lost four, two to the No. 1 team. Give them a shot at someone from outside their province, just as a true test.

Brock did come in with 13 losses last season, but at least it rated such a chance as the third team coming out of the OUA, since it was the 7 seed. Where teams are seeded isn't as big as having good matchups.

You know the rest of the story. The Badgers beat a team from the West Coast, Western took out one from the East Coast, Carleton beat one from the Prairies and the semi-finals ended up being a big Ontar-ari-ariorama, three teams from Upper Canada and one from the Maritimes (Acadia). Far be it to think that led to some teeth-gnashing everywhere else in between Halifax and Vancouver.

(Irony: That petty regionalism is a big reason why UBC wants to join the NCAA. The T-Birds end up with Final 8 first-timers Dalhousie instead of either Concordia, Ottawa or Western, who might be a tougher matchup. Prove this alumnus wrong, Dal.)

There is no easy out for why, for one basketball tournament, the seedings are arranged so Canada West teams don't meet in the first round, and why for the other, it's set up so it cannot be an all-Ontario final. There might be some aspect of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing;

One conference, which has produced the national championship team six years running, has three of the Top 5 teams in the country. Two of its schools can sell 10,000 tickets for a regular-season game in the dead of January in the midst of the longest transit strike in their city's history. We should be proud, as Canadians, that we have built up our collegiate basketball to such a point and instead something like this happens. With all due respect, it is hard to understand the logic behind these choices, and I'll prefer to think there is more to due with that than it running counter to our choices from last night.

Here are the seedings
  1. Carleton (Host/OUA champion)
  2. Calgary (Canada West champion)
  3. UBC (Canada West silver medallist)
  4. Western (OUA West champion)
  5. Ottawa (OUA bronze medallist)
  6. Dalhousie (AUS champion)
  7. Concordia (Quebec champion)
  8. St. Francis Xavier (wild card)
It should be a good tournament, nevertheless. The game can overcome all; god bless the sport of basketball.
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  1. Neate

    I'm not sure how you solve the problem of conference foes meeting in the first round. In this case, is Dal better than Ottawa or Western, thus giving Dal a higher seed and splitting up an all-OUA first-round game? Do you give conference winners the first four seeds, even if they aren't the "best" teams in the country (a la NHL playoffs)? I say seed the teams in order of "goodness" and play the games. If that mean's OUA vs. OUA in the first and second round, so be it. If people won't come out to watch the best teams play, no matter from where they hail, so be it.

  2. By making all OUA teams on the same side you eliminate the possibility of an all-OUA championship game.

    I agree about some sketchy rankings. How is Concordia behind Dalhousie? Concordia has led their conference start-to-finish and also beat St FX in preseason before all of the scandals...


  3. The problem is that there's a guideline in place and it's followed for one tourney and not the other.

    Hell, maybe we should just give conference seeds the first 4, let the rest fight it out. Granted, compare that to the NCAA where Pitt and UConn out of the Big East will likely each be No. 1s.

    Let's just go to 16 teams already.

  4. The problem with separating Ottawa & Western is that that would require getting the OUA East and OUA West to admit that they are actually in the same league.

    This is easier said than done, to say the least....

  5. Funny, but it seems to me that when the tournament was in Halifax for oh so many years, the seeding committee would contrive mightily to avoid putting the two AUS reps...and there were almost always two BTW, whether deserved or the same bracket, thus creating a possibility of an all AUS final.
    Can you say cha-ching?
    Well, it finally looks to me the UBC finally caught a break...maybe.
    Playing a young Dal team instead of veteran teams like Guelph or Ottawa or Brock.
    Surely, they'll make it to round 2 this year.
    Will Tyler Richards play?
    If he does, that will tell me something about X.
    Ottawa and Western have every right to be pissed off.
    A pair of 19-3 teams going up against each other in the first round?
    Thanks for freakin' nuthin' seeding committee.

  6. I don't understand what the attendance issue is. Unless your standing to make profit from the tournament there's absolutely no reason to care if two OUA teams play eachother in the first round. I would like to know for what reason it matters if there's no possibility of an All OUA Final. The seeding committee must make a bracket that ranks the teams in accordance to their records and give the best teams the highest ranking. If the seeding committee has revenue to consider while making a bracket then they should obviously not be making the bracket, as this is biased to teams outside the OUA. Let the best teams make the Final 8 and all compete in a fair bracket that doesn't take into account conferences, attendance, and espically money.

  7. Can't say that I have too much trouble with the schedule.
    Ottawa-Western ought to be a good game and and garner decent attendance. It should also be a good draw for the Score in population rich Ontario for a Friday.It might have been a factor in arranging to have two teams from different regions of Ontario meet.
    If it should happen that Ottawa-Carleton meet in the semis--it will be on a Saturday night, which is the prime time slot for sure --and if they can get 10,000 on a week might in a January storm, what might they do on a Saturday for the Final 8.
    Attendance at the final game take care of itself because it is a national final . That one of the two Ottawa based teams is likely to be in it, should add icing to the cake.
    I think there is method in the madness of the schedule makers.


  8. Yeah I don't have a problem with the seeds either. If Ottawa and Western are so concerned with where they ended up they should have won their conference. The seedings set out to achive 2 things...
    1) Make sure that an 0ntario team is in the final $
    2) Make sure an 2 ontario teams are playing on TV in the quarters $$ (they eneded up with 3)

    Ottawa sports fans are the worst in the country, they needed to do everything they could to make this thing a success before it goes back home in two years....

    That being said, as good as Carlton is, St. FX could be the toughest 8 seed to walk into the tournament in the past 15 years. Especially if Richards is back.(Brandon might have won it all from an 8 seed at one point but don't quote me)

  9. It's not just that Ottawa and Western are concerned. True fans might have been looking forward to doing the compare-and-contrast between different conferences. A UBC-Ottawa or Concordia-Western matchup accomplishes this

    X should be tough in that first round, notwithstanding what happened the first time it played Carleton.

    If memory serves, Brandon made it to the final as the 8 seed in 2000, losing to St. FX. Saint Mary's won as the 8 seed in '99. Does that sound right?

  10. Califax said

  11. Concordia has a strong team but was unfortunately in the weakest conference. Dal was seeded higher for gaining 3 victories over top 10 teams (X twice, CBU once) in their final two weeks and Concordia just didn't have comprable late-season victories, which the committee clearly gave weight to. As for Dal being young, Bendigue and Sullivan are seniors and Farine now has two full AUS years under him. Beattie, Lopez and Walcott may be young but they aren't playing like it. The key is that Veit is just now playing at the level he was before his injury. If Veit hadn't missed so much time because of the ankle injury (when Dal was platooning the admitedly young and inexperienced Nortman and Wang), Dal would likely have hovered around the top ten through the year. While UBC should clearly be favoured, don't be surprised if Dal puts up a fight.

  12. I don't mean it to be rude I just think with the tourney there last year it really left a lot to be desired. I thought they'd get way more student support / fan support with teams other than the ravens . They got into it for the Carlton game, but every other game was so dead. Including those with OUA teams.

    That being said, I think that it falls on the organizing commitee and was a poor decision to put it at the scotia bank rather than the civic centre. It just looks so empty there....

  13. and yeah Sager I think you're right about Brandon...

  14. Actually, I think I can find logic in the seeding. Consider:
    CW #1: Calgary; CW#2: UBC
    OUA #1: Western; OUA #2: Ottawa
    AUS #1: Dalhousie
    QSSF #1: Concordia
    Host: Carleton; WC: St. FX

    I must admit I haven't gone through the CIS website to review the criteria, but let's go with the assumption that a conference's #1 team should be seeded higher than #2 - that seems logical.

    #1 - Carleton - that's easy.
    #2 - one of Cal, UWO, Con or Dal. From that group, Calgary has had the best year - so they're 2.
    #3 - add UBC to the group of UWO, Con or Dal. UBC was ranked in the top 3 all year - clearly they deserve this rank.
    #4 - UWO, Con or Dal. UWO has been the most consistent of this group so let's put them at #4.
    #5 - Con, Dal or Ott - now in all honestly, is there any way you can say that either Concordia or Dalhousie had a better year than Ottawa? Of course not - Ottawa #5.
    #6, #7, #8 - play themselves out with Dal being ranked ahead of X.

    Putting UBC #4 or Ottawa at #6 is an absolute disservice to them because of the seasons they had.

    That's why I'm not up in arms with this. Does Ottawa get the short end - well sort of - but that's because: i) UBC and St FX lost their conference finals and ii) they are in the same division as Carleton.

    Now if the OUA actually had a playoff structure that ensured it's #1 and #2 representatives were in fact the top 2 in the league, this could be avoided. However, as Mr. Edwards has alluded to, change to historic ways in the OUA is tough to accomplish.

  15. Hey Califax...
    I love it when you said "when the tournament goes 'back home'".
    So that's what it's all about, eh?
    Admit it, you're just pissed you lost the tournament to Carleton and you'll say anything to bad mouth what Ottawa does.
    Well relax, OK?
    You'll get "your" tournament back in 2011, so quit your whining already.
    And BTW, I've been toseveral tournaments in Halifax and there is virtually nobody there on opening day for the afternoon sessions when the two AUS teams aren't involved, so don't me your bullcrap about how dead the crowd is here.

  16. Califax
    You have to keep in mind sports wise alone there is alot going on in ottawa.As fir having at the civic centre sure it maye look better.But the civic centre does not have all the features the scotia bank place has.

  17. There is totally a lot going on in Ottawa. I think that because Halifax DOESN'T have a lot going on, so the "8" is seen as a big deal. It's like the guy who is dating a girl way out of his league so he bends over backwards for her. Sports wise, CIS is all we'll have on a yearly basis. Ottawa has an NHL team, OHL, ect...
    I think it would just do a lot for the tourney and city, if it weren't all the way out in Kanata.
    Maybe the first two days downtown and go to the bank for the final.
    I'll say this once. I didn't mean to badmouth, amd I'm not gonna hijack this to argue point counter point. But, won't pretend I'm not biased towards home.

    Should be a good show this year. Hoping 16 might be in the future...

  18. The tournament is Capital Sports' show, so it never would have been at the Civic Centre, which is city-owned and pretty much designated for the 67's (except when they're kicked out during the home show and always have to start the playoffs on the road).

    Besides, Eugene Melnyk and 67's owner Jeff Hunt reportedly can't stand each other. They'd go in together on the world junior hockey since it is such a cash cow, but anything else, forget it.

  19. How are the advance ticket sales for the Final 8 going.

    Be nice to see an all time record set for one of the games. Maybe Carleton -Ottawa, if they meet.

    The Civic Center could not have handled the 10,500 that the recent MBNA Hoops Classic drew. With using standing room and a shoehorn, 10,000 is the max you can squeeze into the Civic Center.

    Concessions, washrooms ,dressing rooms, parking space,sight lines, lighting, hi-tech AV stuff, are all much superior at the Bank. Location is not.