Here’s what our main California boys basketball analyst and managing editor Ronnie Flores thinks about the CIF Open Division pairings (both north & south) that were announced on Sunday:
*Host priority in the CIF state regional playoffs are determined by seed and section championships. This should help give us plenty of rematches in the SoCal Open and in Division I.
*The brackets and pairings will not change our rankings. The surprise level of Fairfax getting the No. 2 seed is not that high, but the Lions did lose head-to-head to No. 4 seed Mater Dei.
*Trying to avoid a Mater Dei-Etiwanda rematch in the regional semifinal makes sense, but shouldn’t trump so many clear head-to-head results. Also, but making Mater Dei the No. 4 seed, it meant Orange Lutheran got seeded lower than it deserved to avoid a Trinity League rematch in the first round.
*Etiwanda did split with Sierra Canyon (Fairfax blew out Sierra Canyon) and Etiwanda lost to Centennial (Fairfax beat Centennial) but we are not just judging those two teams for rankings and pairings analysis, we are analyzing three, and Etiwanda beat Sierra Canyon when it mattered most and beat one of the two teams Fairfax lost to (Mater Dei). Sometimes it is more important when and who you lose to than the number of losses you have as it is in this case.
*There are plenty of factors in judging the merits of Etiwanda vs. Fairfax. However, when you throw Mater Dei in there, it becomes more clear. There’s an argument to seed Fairfax higher than Etiwanda, but it’s clear Fairfax should not be seeded higher than Mater Dei (using head-to-head argument as stronger criteria than section title winner) and clear Mater Dei should not be seeded higher than Etiwanda.
*One team that got hosed more than Mater Dei – Compton as No. 3 in D2 South. The Tarbabes defeated a La Mirada team that beat both No. 1 seed La Costa Canyon & No. 2 Canyon of Anaheim.
*So naturally, La Mirada got hosed as well. The criteria of being a section champ was weighed heavily in that division, based on these brackets.
*Up North, the CCS was not particularly strong this season. But to fill out the bracket its two open division finalists were placed in the open division. The main benefactor, believe it or not, is top seed Bishop O’Dowd. The Dragons didn’t want a bye because they want to get the kinks out in anticipation of a monster state No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in the CIF Open Division state title. They only way it won’t be No. 1 vs. No. 2 is if O’Dowd is upset in the regional.
*El Cerrito has a tough draw to travel to Folsom in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game and even though we have the Bulldogs ranked lower in our state top 20, our prediction of Folsom being the higher seed came to fruition. The winner will likely face O’Dowd.
*No, you can’t assume that Sierra Canyon will roll in SoCal D5. The Trailblazers barely beat Windward in the 2nd round of league play and Price is going to be tough as well. The D5 final at Haas, however, could be ugly. That’ll be the game to plan to take a break.