By Mark Tennis
Contributing: Ronnie Flores
For the first-ever CIF Northern California Open Division, after collecting all scores through Saturday night, here are our choices of which boys teams we think will be in the bracket:
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 25-5
CIF Central Coast Section Open Division champion, Division II state champion from last season, ranked No. 10 overall in the state.
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 25-3
CIF North Coast Section Division III champion, ranked No. 7 overall in the state.
De La Salle (Concord) 24-4
CIF North Coast Section Division I semifinalist, has been ranked top 20 overall in the state, two-time CIF Division I state champion.
Modesto Christian 28-3
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion, ranked on the bubble overall in the state.
Newark Memorial (Newark) 23-7
CIF North Coast Section Division II champion, lost in NorCal D2 final last season. Note: If Deer Valley of Antioch requests to be in open division (which is not likely), then Newark would not be open and instead D2.
Salesian (Richmond) 30-3
CIF North Coast Section Division IV champion, Division IV state champion from last season, ranked No. 1 overall in the state.
Serra (San Mateo) 25-5
CIF Central Coast Section Open Division runner-up, ranked No. 19 overall in the state.
Sheldon (Sacramento) 25-5
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion, runner-up to Mater Dei in 2012 Division I state playoffs, ranked No. 4 overall in the state. Note: Although Sheldon is ranked higher than Archbishop Mitty, the CIF always goes by head-to-head results (injuries don’t matter) for seeds and will seed Mitty higher than Sheldon for this division, which means the Huskies may have to beat Aaron Gordon and company on the road in semifinals.
What we hope happens
Although Modesto Christian has won a record 15 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles and certainly has the talent to hang with the top overall teams in Northern California, it makes more sense to give the top seed a bye in the open division and have the Crusaders compete with potentially the likes of El Cerrito and Sacred Heart Cathedral for the NorCal D3 crown.
Note: SoCal D3 will probably have state No. 9-ranked St. John Bosco of Bellflower, which is not eligible for the CIF to take into the open division in the south unless that school requests it.
Projected top seeds in the other NorCal boys divisions
Deer Valley of Antioch (24-5) in D1. Already confirmed through Mitch Stephens of MaxPreps and coach LeChet Phillips that Wolverines are not going to ask to be moved up into open division.
Antelope (24-6) in D2.
El Cerrito (22-10) in D3.
Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco (18-11) in D4.
St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda (21-11) in D5.
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