Women's basketball bracketology: Brock beating Ryerson would benefit Calgary, we think

The lingering overthink with the bracket for the women's Final 8 is spurred by presumptive at-large team Calgary being second nationally in the Ratings Report. Canada West runner-up Alberta is eighth in the Ratings Report, and fifth among the teams likely to compete next week. But the at-large team has received a lower seed than its conference's qualifiers for the last five years, so that should inform the confidence interval with putting the Dinos below their provincial-brethren Pandas.

The avoiding-same-conference-matchups principle heavily dictates this stab at the bracket. Ryerson handled Brock in a recent regular-season game and should be a fairly heavy favourite in the Critelli Cup, with a high seed at stake. If there are no further surprises, the bracket ought to look like this.   

  1. Saskatchewan (Canada West champion). Right where we had them from the start.
  2. Ryerson (OUA champion). Have won seven in row since an overtime loss to reigning champion McMaster on Jan. 29, and now they could get the same seed that the Marauders had last March. Where was that Final 8 again? Transitive powers.
  3. Alberta (Canada West finalist). The Pandas surpass Laval, the RSEQ favorite, in SRS and Elo.
  4. Laval (RSEQ champion). The Quebec representative has been seeded fourth or higher every year since 2015. If UQAM pulls the upset against the Rouge et Or tonight, the AUS representative should draw into the 5 vs. 4 quarterfinal.
  5. Brock (OUA runner-up). Lost by 15 points at Ryerson four weeks ago.
  6. UPEI (AUS champion). The Panthers and Jenna Mae Ellsworth looked the part of conference favourites in a 73-60 semifinal win against UNB on Saturday. They face the Memorial-Acadia winner on Sunday afternoon.

    The AUS champ has lost five consecutive 6 vs. 3 quarterfinals at nationals, all by single-digit margins. Hello, storyline.
  7. Calgary (at large). Shoo-in as a wild card. 
  8. Carleton (host). No playoff wins.
But there will need to be contingency planning. If Brock upsets Ryerson, it will be chaos because, honestly, no one will have a solid case for the No. 2 seed. Calgary would rate it on merit if not for one bad shooting night against Alberta. But let's entertain that possibility. Brock winning two away games over strong opposition would be more impressive than Laval winning two home games against mid-level opposition, and Calgary losing their play-in game at home.

  1. Saskatchewan (CW1)
  2. Alberta (CW2)
  3. Brock (OUA champion)
  4. Laval (RSEQ)
  5. Calgary (at large)
  6. UPEI (AUS champion)
  7. Ryerson (OUA2)
  8. Carleton (host)
From an OUA perspective, that would be a reprise of the 2016 bracket. Ryerson won the Critelli Cup on Ottawa's court, and consequently the Rams were the No. 5 seed while the Gee-Gees were bumped down to No. 7.
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