The brass tacks of Canada West's RPI-based seeding is that its two best teams have a harder road toward the auto-bids, the more advantageous seeding and the greater chance of distinguishing the conference on national TV.
The top four of Calgary, Alberta, Saskatchewan and UBC means that if the form holds, UBC and Calgary will meet in a play-in game at the Canada West Final Four on the Dinos' floor. A loss there would not kill UBC's Final 8 chances, but it would likely take the currently No. 6-ranked Dinos out of the at-large conversation and deprive the Sportsnet audience of seeing Thomas Cooper. For shame!
This was a more interesting one than anticipated. Ryerson is woke since walking into the (River) Lions' den down in St. Catharines when it lost to Brock. This weekend's Ottawa/Carleton double-dip might not alter the RPI, but it will be a good simulation of what Roy Rana's charges could expect in an OUA Final Four.
With that in mind, there's been some shuffling. How does Dalhousie and Ottawa meeting in a rematch grab everyone?
- Carleton (OUA champion). Their average margin of victory in conference is 33.2 points, following by Ryerson at 23.5 and Ottawa at 15.9. The OUA might have to change the name to the Big Three and Little 14.
- UBC (Canada West champion). Not not making an upset prediction; fifth-placed Manitoba is scrappy with A.J. Basi at point guard. They played the T-Birds tough in November at the War Memorial.
- Ryerson (OUA finalist). More seasoned handles in the backcourt than Ottawa, whom they face this weekend.
- Ottawa (at large). Not as statistically dominant as the 2012-13 through '15-16 Gees, but that doesn't foretell them falling short. Whatever stopped Ottawa from a fourth consecutive Final 8 medal last March wasn't a lack of hunger.
- Dalhousie (AUS champion). Scheduling-wise, Dal and Carleton playing the night draw on March 9 seems like a likely scenario.
- McGill (RSEQ champion). Very very gritty team.
- Saint Mary's (AUS runner-up/host). There is a codicil in the criteria that the fifth through eight seeds could be flipped to avoid a same-conference matchup, so I'm applying that to separate UBC and the second team from Canada West. Doing so also puts the AUS teams on opposite sides of the bracket.
- Saskatchewan (Canada West runner-up). The third-placed Huskies and second-placed Alberta Golden Bears are on course to meet in a Canada West semifinal. Coin flip comes up U of S, plus they did win the most recent matchup.
Don't read too much into it. Canada West has four teams, at least, who would not be out of place in the tournament.