In Canada West, No. 9 Saskatchewan is top seed for the RPI-offs, with the 2-3-4 slots filled by Regina (ranked No. 3 nationally), Winnipeg (No. 7) and unranked Alberta. Based on the consensus of the cognoscenti, then, the conference's two best teams are on course to play for an auto-bid.
Rather than be capricious and arbitary -- see, Stephen Miller is not the only one who can use bigly words to betray that he's easily threatened -- we'll go strictly by the poll for seeding this one.
- Laval (RSEQ champion). They have scored 90 points twice in conference play. Their male brethren have hit 80 once.
- Regina (Canada West champion). They have defeated Winnipeg on its floor, so the Cougars would seem eminently capable of doing so on a neutral floor.
- McMaster (OUA champion). If they are as good as the poll says they are, then the Marauders should be able to win out, upend Carleton in the play-in semifinal and then win the Critelli Cup to get the top spot out of Ontario.
- Queen's (OUA finalist). The first-in-RPI Gaels will have benefit of home-court advantage throughout the Critelli Cup playoffs. Carleton was full value for its 60-52 win last Friday, but the Ravens made 8-of-18 treys against the best three-point defending team in OUA and the Gaels were 2-of-10 from deep against the 14th-ranked three-point defending team. That 18-point gap was the game story.
There is likely no chance of a rematch between Carleton and Queen's until the Critelli Cup or the Final 8. Queen's is in line to get either Ryerson and Windsor in the semifinal.
- Saskatchewan (Canada West finalist). Yes, there would be poetic (in)justice if the teams who were each first in RPI go head-to-head at nationals.
If Alberta gets knocked out in the quarter-finals, then there's a potential Winnipeg-Saskatchewan play-in Canada West semifinal. Winnipeg has already defeated Saskatchewan twice.
- Saint Mary's (AUS champion). Remember they defeated Carleton and played close scores against the other members of the Ontario triad shortly after Christmas.
- Carleton (at large). Have a higher spot in the polls than Winnipeg and one fewer loss in conference play. The Wesmen are 5-1 against the other teams included in this exercise and the Ravens are 5-2. That also comes into play.
- Victoria (host). Their seeding ain't changing, barring a miracle run.