This is what we think will happen during Sunday’s selection meetings and what we hope will happen. Go inside as well to check out which teams look solid to be top seeds in each “regular” division.
By Mark Tennis
Contributing: Ronnie Flores
For the first-ever CIF Southern 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:
Bullard (Fresno) 26-2
CIF Central Section Division I champion, CIF Division I regional finalist from last season, ranked No. 8 overall in the state.
El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 28-3
CIF L.A. City Section Division I runner-up, ranked No. 13 overall in the state, Division II L.A. City champ from last season.
CIF Southern Section Division I-AA champion, beat then No. 1 state-ranked Long Beach Poly in semifinals and then No. 1 state-ranked Mater Dei in championship on Saturday night, ranked No. 2 overall in the state. Note: Because La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad lost on Saturday in the CIF San Diego Section D2 final to San Diego Hoover, there does not seem to be a viable open division team from that section, although D3 section champ St. Augustine would be. That team, however, like St. John Bosco of Bellflower, technically does not meet the criteria for the CIF to take them. The Saints need to request it. We don’t think that will happen so that could and should mean a first-round bye for the open division top seed (likely Etiwanda).
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 27-3
CIF Southern Section Division I-AA semifinalist, runner-up and CIF Division I regional semifinalist from last season, ranked No. 5 overall in the state.
Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) 24-4
CIF Southern Section Division IV-A champion, ranked No. 11 overall in the state. Note: The Bruins should be ranked higher than CIFSS Division IV-AA champ Serra of Gardena due to having wins over L.A. City champ Westchester plus North Coast Section champ Deer Valley. This selection also is listed under the assumption that St. John Bosco is not going to request to be brought up to the open division. According to established criteria, the Braves are not eligible to be taken and haven’t petitioned in an official capacity.
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 30-2
CIF Southern Section Division I-AA runner-up, CIF Division I state champion for 2011 and 2012, ranked No. 3 overall in the state.
Westchester (Los Angeles) 28-6
CIF L.A. City Section Division I champion, ranked No. 12 overall in the state, six-time Division I state champion (last time in 2010).
What we hope happens
That the CIF SoCal selection committee doesn’t spend too much time trying to stick an eighth seed into the field, which would be from San Diego or a second team from the Central Section.
There are many seasons in which a San Diego team would have been easily placed into this field under this format, but after La Costa Canyon’s loss on Saturday night that just doesn’t work. St. Augustine (25-4) would be a good option since the Saints had three of their losses to a Cathedral Catholic team they just beat and happen to own a win over Salesian of Richmond, the No. 1 team in Northern California. St. Augustine, however, is not eligible for the open division (did not make regional playoffs last two seasons) and would need to petition to be in it.
Besides, a possible St. Augustine-St. John Bosco matchup in the SoCal D3 championship might be very good.
A second Central Section team that could be added besides the obvious (Bullard) is D3 champion Independence of Bakersfield (30-1). That team is eligible to be taken, but its regional playoff appearances recently haven’t been impressive and it’s not a program that has any aspirations of taking on a national-ranked opponent in the first-round of the open division.
Projected top seeds in the other SoCal boys divisions
Santa Monica (24-6) in Division I.
J.W. North of Riverside (28-3) in Division II.
St. John Bosco of Bellflower (24-6) in Division III.
Serra of Gardena (26-6) in Division IV.
Buckley of Sherman Oaks (24-6) in Division V.
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