Still, what hath RPI wrought, Chapter Keleven:
- Laval will back into an at-large berth in spite of losing two of its last three games (and it could have been three of four). Being two wins away from an auto-berth is only one of the four criteria and does not appear to take priority.
The rules state "If any team is the only team to lead two, three or four of these categories following the conclusion of conference playoffs, it will be awarded the at-large berth." Laval has the highest RPI for non-conference and playoff games (.658) and highest SRS (20.78). They also own the tiebreaker for wins against the Top 12 teams in RPI, having gone 12-3.
Of course, the cluster effect in RPI meant four of the five Quebec teams ended up in the Top 12. However, Laval went out of province for seven of their 10 non-conference games and will have played potentially five tournament teams: Alberta, Carleton, Queen's, Saint Mary's and (duh) the Concordia-McGill winner.
- We also know Canada West's RPI-offs also spit back a seeding that put two best women's teams, Regina and Winnipeg, on a collision course to be in the same auto-berth game. The No. 2-ranked Cougars won by double digits, so there's a chance the national title isn't leaving the province. Winnipeg apparently is toast, though.
- There was a great deal of fluidity among the OUA's four best teams that, now that I think of it, broke down on geographical lines, really. Under RPI, Queen's and Carleton were 1-2 with McMaster and Windsor 3-4. Hypothetically, under a SRS-based format, McMaster would have got the first seed, with Windsor second, Queen's third and Carleton fourth.
The semifinals were close, but ultimately the teams from the 613 who were either playing at home, or not far from it, are through.
At this late hour, pending the results of conference finals on Saturday, here is what we have:
- Regina (Canada West champion). Managed to defeat Winnipeg with Katie Polischuk, their star, being limited to eight points. That is a deep team.
Regina's thing is winning the Friday night get-to-nationals game and losing the league final on Saturday. So there will be motivation to get the win.
- Queen's (OUA champion). Going on the theory that Queen's depth and defence will win the day against Carleton, which had 20 turnovers during its one-point win against McMaster.
- Carleton (OUA auto-berth). Carleton's post player extraordinaire Heather Lindsay went a season-high 34 minutes on Friday, only the second time all season she's had to go into the 30s. To put that in context, though, Queen's also shortened its rotation in order to get by Windsor. One wonders how each team resets. Then again, they might just end up playing again in seven days' time.
- Saskatchewan (Canada West auto-berth). Somehow in our sleep deprivation we forgot who won the other Canada West semifinal. Sorry Saskatchewan! Your shade of green is nicer than U of R's anyway.
- Saint Mary's (AUS champion). The preliminaries in the AUS Final 6 were fun, but Saint Mary's has business to finish over the next two days.
- McGill (RSEQ champion). Split the season series with Concordia, but no one won two in a row and the Stingers won the most recent game. So ipso facto ...
- Laval (at large). They are better than Alberta and McMaster over the full run of the season.
- Victoria (host). Same as it ever was.
I am at least 83 per cent sure that I read the rules correctly and Laval has the wild card.