Basketball: Regional qualifiers for 2011; report

The estimable Wayne Kondro has a must-read this a.m.: Starting in 2011, regionals will be held to determine the final three spots at the Final 8 to go along with the four conference champs and whoever is assigned the host team.
"Berths and matchups at those regional tournaments will be strictly prescribed. Five teams will come from the OUA, four from Canada West, two from the AUS and one from the QSSF. They will be spread out across all three regionals and will automatically slot into matchups based on a team's final placement within its conference playoffs, or in some cases where it finished in the regular season standings.

"The upshot is that conferences that feel they have had a strong year can make their case on the floor, said NABC president and Regina coach James Hillis."
It's wish-you-thought-of-it-first idea. CIS president Marg McGregor told SSN Canada last weekend that the seeding committee next year will be instructed to avoid intra-conference first-round matchups, but this takes it one step farther.

If such a system had been in place this season, Carleton (host), Calgary, Concordia, Dalhousie and Western would have had the automatic berths (no, the Mustangs didn't win the OUA outright, but play along, it's 3:15 a.m.).

For argument's sake, the regionals would have looked like this:
  • West regional: Brandon vs. Windsor (CW4/OUA2); UQAM vs. UBC (AQ3/CW1). The 'Birds probably wouldn't have had much trouble.

    Please bear in mind that Canada West is junking its three-division format, so this season's Alberta team could easily go into Brandon's spot.
  • Ontario regional: McMaster vs. Cape Breton (OUA4/AQ2); Victoria vs. Ottawa (CW3/OUA1).

    This probably would have the best four-team pod.
  • East regional: Ryerson or Waterloo vs. St. Francis Xavier (OUA5 vs. AQ1); Toronto vs. Trinity Western (OUA3 vs. CW2).

    Varsity Blues coach Mike Katz would finally get a chance to get to the Final 8 without having to go through Ottawa or Carleton. U of T, with the 10th-best RPI in the country, would have stood a good chance to advance (without even presuming that St. FX would have had three players suspended).

    Regular-season performance will be considered, so the committee would have to weigh Ryerson's 12-10 record vs. Waterloo being 10-12 with a playoff win (and a higher RPI than the Rams).
Hopefully, that makes some sense. The runner-up in each conference would host a four-team regional. All three regions have at least one team going cross-country. The West and the East each send a team to Ontario. the OUA sends two teams to the East regional. It's possible you could see some switching around from year to year, similar to the Vanier Cup playoff system (although that's another one which needs fixing).

One question for the OUA is how to fit everything in, especially since the Wilson Cup, its championship game, now has meaning. Perhaps it could do a single-site conference tournament.

CIS to introduce regional men's basketball playdowns (Wayne Kondro, Canwest News Service)
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  1. If the city hosting wins their division who gets the hosts birth. If the runner up does there is still a problem with the runner up being much weaker than other teams in the country or will they have wild card spot.

  2. Much like this year, if the host wins their conference then the runner up gets the spot.

    Why do you assume the runner up would be much weaker than the other teams in the county? If the proposed scenario was used this year, the spot would have gone to Western. Do you consider them to be much weaker than Dalhouse, Carelton, Concordia, and Calgary?

  3. I think this is a great idea, if for nothing more than eliminating the whining over wildcards.

    The extra travel costs are a consideration, but I think most programs wouldn't hesitate.

    Wow - innovative ideas approved by the CIS. Who'da thunk it?

  4. How is this innovative?

    Pretty much 35 years behind an NCAA-like model.

    And as for this year's tourney, seeding committee pretty much got it bang on and although it would have been nice to see some cross-division semi-finals, it was equally as nice to not have an all-CW or all-OUA final as that is the game that matters the most.

    All of this debate about avoiding conference match-ups just means there is the chance that the final would be conference match-up.

  5. Bang on!

    I can't believe the amount of wasted energy that was spent on the seeding of the tournament. UBC and Carleton were the top 2 seeds in the country virtually all year and it was great they had the chance to meet in the CIS Final.

  6. Without pouring water on what little fire this proposal might have ignited, the devil is in the details for this proposal. See below where the selection of some teams for the regionals still is likely to involve some subjectivity unless a formula is put in place... but what is the formula. Not to mention how will the travel/lodging etc. be funded for these tournaments ? Who will pay ?

    Maybe an example using how things would have shaken out using this season's teams but the AUS as host (2011) might help to illustrate the point of which teams qualify for regionals and a sample bracket showing that 9 teams must travel sometimes across the country for maybe one game.

    I'm assuming there are actually 17 teams in the post-season tournament as follows:

    Automatic Qualifiers:
    1. Carleton (OUA champ)
    2. Calgary (Canada West champ)
    3. Concordia (Quebec champ)
    4. Dalhousie (AUS champ)
    5. X (AUS host bid)

    3 regional tournaments with 4 teams in each = 12 more teams = 17 teams in total (43 teams in CIS total); decent ratio.

    Tournament play-in; assume 3 sites are for 3 other conference runners up - AUS with host bid and 2 automatic qualifiers already wouldn't get to host a regional:

    Regional #1 at UBC (CW runner up)
    1. UBC
    2. Windsor
    3. OUA #4
    4. UPEI

    Regional #2 at Western
    1. Western
    2. Brandon
    3. CW #4
    4. Cape Breton

    Regional #3 at UQAM
    1. UQAM
    2. Ottawa
    3. OUA #5
    4. TWU

    According to Kondro's story, the 12 teams participating in the regionals would come from the following conferences in the following quantities

    OUA (5 teams: Western, Ottawa, Windsor and 2 more teams; i.e. there would have to be a selection of 2 more teams presumably 1 from the East and 1 from the West; how would those other 2 teams be selected: another game ? order of finish ? wild card ? UNKNOWN...

    CW (4 teams: UBC, Brandon, TWU and 1 more team; how would that 4th team be selected; again the issue arises as to how to select that 4 team)

    QSSF (1 team UQAM in this example)

    AUS (2 more teams; semi-finalists from AUS tournament: Cape Breton, UPEI)

    with this UPEI goes to Vancouver, Trinity Western to Montreal and others... I'm assuming the entire purpose of having this regional is to not repeat conference playoffs. There are major costs here that need to be budgeted for somewheres as they say.

    So, again, who will pay ? and how will Canada West figure out their 4th team in the regional (5th CW team in the 17 team field) and OUA figure out their 4th and 5th teams (5th and 6th OUA teams in the 17 team field) ?

    To summarize, 17 teams:

    6 OUA
    5 Canada West
    4 AUS (including 1 host bid)
    2 QSSF

    14 of the 17 teams are easy to select:
    OUA = division finalists = 4 teams; now how figure out next 2; fairest way is another game(s) but who plays who when there are 4 quarter-final losers to choose from.
    CW = CW Final Four = 4 teams; now how do you choose the 5th team ?
    - other 2 conferences work ok.

    ....your welcome

  7. That's pretty good, probably better than mine (I was trying to make sure I got mine up for the morning).

    The fairest way? This year in the OUA, two non-divisional finalists teams finished well above .500, Mac and Toronto. The Blues were 10th in RPI. Take them over York and Waterloo, who also reached the semis but were sub-.500 in conference play.

    That fifth-best team out of Canada West would be a doozy in some years, true.

    As for budgeting, the conferences and the national associations had better be kicking in something to pay for travel costs, since they came up with the idea.

    (FYI, you're, not your, no offence. I'm the jerk for needing to point it out.)

  8. If the host team is not strong and does not earn it's spot and gets a buy to the final 8 the tournament will lose it's integrity . The by has worked out well the last couple of years only because Carleton was a top 8 team . If you are going to start to have a NCAA type tournament you have to go all the way and have all teams earn spots with a very clear format for qualifying for all regionals.

  9. Look at the trade-off, though. Four teams will qualify by winning a conference title, three get in by winning a regional that will, in effect, be open to representatives from across the country. Seven of the eight teams will have come in having won their last game before the nats; this year, it was five (Runner-up UBC and a Western team which almost beat Carleton being two of the other three). In terms of integrity, they seem to be on safe ground.

    The host-team issue kind of forks off (i.e., another issue but not totally separate). I believe you're saying that we can't just assume the host team will be a powerhouse

    The host team issue is whether it's the conference hosting and just assigning the berth to its runner-up, or a school hosting. You can't assume that team will The fact remains only three times (counting next season) since 1984 has there been a host team

  10. innovative for the CIS. baby steps here people. Progress is progress, absolute or relative.

  11. Neate re: how to pick the last 2 OUA and 1 CW teams; the point is that unless you have true play-in games, there is still subjectivity in the choice of who plays and who doesn't so the "wild card debate" does not go away, it is simply pushed down.

    Another point, how will this affect regular season and playoff scheduling. To allow teams to travel x-country requires time. 5 teams will byes would not play for 2 weeks.

    using 2011 calendar:
    18, 19, 20 March = CIS Nationals
    11, 12 March = play-in tournaments
    4, 5, 6 March = conference finals
    (would this now be a tournament in the Q and OUA ???)
    25, 26, 27 February = conference quarter-finals (division semi-finals unless you have those on the Wednesday March 2nd).

    Looks like the season would have to end on 18, 19 February, which appears doable. This year the OUA season ended on 21 February and playoffs were condensed with games Saturday and Wednesday.

    The scheduling part of it appears doable.

    I also believe that OUA teams would be much more amenable to a conference tournament (maybe an 8 team OUA event where same playoff format applies i.e. 6 teams make it in each conference with 2 byes in both east and west; winners of division qf games advance to 8 team OUA tournament over 3 days; winners of first round matchups automatically advance to the CIS 17 team tournament, ultimate Wilson Cup champ qualifies automatically and the final 2 OUA spots for CIS tournament are decided by the 2 consolation round games at the OUA tournament. Why couldn't something like this be held at Copps Coliseum or other ?