Also, far be it to wonder whether any team contemplated the reality that if you're not a Top 4 bye team, it's really immaterial where you finish. There is a 'shifting deck chairs' aspect to sweating out whether you're fifth, sixth or seventh when you have one more hurdle to get to the OUA Final Four or CIS Final 8 than Ryerson, Ottawa, Carleton and McMaster, which probably also have deeper benches.
Brock Badgers coach Charles Kissi had Dani Elgadi play 35 minutes and three other starters play at least 30 (Tyler Brown had only 22 before fouling out) in their 65-62 win at Guelph, which became RPI-irrelevant since it eliminated the Gryphons.
And as it turned out, Brock would have got sixth if it had lost on Saturday. Their outcome mainly flipped Ryerson above Ottawa for the No. 1 seed, and caused Windsor and Queen's to trade places in the 5 and 7 seeds.
Here is the official RPI:
So rather than 'pick your poison,' it's more like Kissi was choosing one for Steph Barrie and the Queen's Gaels.
The upshot is no one tanked. So there is that. For comparison's sake, here is how it would have shook out with a Guelph win on Saturday:
Convoluted, much? One could put forth an argument that if it is between this and knowing the playoff matchups weeks ahead, then let's create the chaos apace.
The next level from that is that since it's not unheard of for teams in other university sports to rest key players before the playoffs, well, it's not that underhanded to tank in the last week of the regular season to try to exert control over potential matchups. There is a moral difference between tanking when the system rewards it and actual game-fixing.
That said, Ontario University Athletics owes it to all concerned to make one simple change: include all 19 teams in the RPI. This issue would not come up again. It must be noted, though, that in Year 1 of the RPI playoffs, it protected the top four teams, Ottawa, Carleton, Ryerson and Windsor. It didn't this time, since the OUA is more balanced among its top strata of teams and its pretty good teams.
So, mea culpa for not remembering at 11 p.m. Saturday night that the the official RPI didn't go to the fourth digit. Here is what it looked like at CIS Hoops:
While we're here, here's what would be nice to see as a future format for the power conference.
- Go to a 20-game schedule for all concerned, with the Central, East and North teams having an extra home-and-home against a non-divisional team. It could rotate through over a number of years.
- Cap winning margins in the 90th percentile to control for the mismatches that are a fact of life throughout regular-season play in CIS, and use Simple Ranking System (SRS) to determine a 12-team playoff field. Whether that continues to involve an even three per division or something more akin to the NHL's divisional format with at-large/wild-card teams is irrelevant.
It is a modified bracket. The winner of the 12 vs. 5 game will play the 4 seed on Quarter-Final Weekend; winner of 11 vs. 6 visits the 3 seed, and so on. The OUA re-seeds for the Final Four, which Ryerson is in the driver's seat to host if it defeats either Lakehead or Western.