The playoffs are under way in the CIF Southern Section and as expected there were no upsets in the first round of Open Division Pool A and Pool B play. Playoffs will also be getting underway this week in the CIF Central Section and the CIF San Diego Section feeding into the Southern California regionals, along with the CIF Central Coast Section in Northern California. We had no movement in the first 19 teams but we do welcome two newcomers in the final two spots.
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The Big Picture: In last week’s rankings, we talked about mixing and matching teams that have played 20-plus games with teams that have played less than 10 games in Northern California and even some teams in Southern California with fewer than 15 games. It has been difficult to say the least.
Now we have another caveat to deal with and that’s until the CIF Southern Regional playoffs conclude on June 19, we’ll be trying to mix and match teams from SoCal and NorCal where the two biggest sections, North Coast and Sac-Joaquin, concluded their seasons last week.
Throw in the fact the Central Coast Section is the only NorCal section having playoffs with teams in the rankings, and that means NorCal teams are mixed between playoff and non-playoff teams. In the end, it’s not going to really change things in this topsy-turvy and wild and wacky pandemic-affected season.
The CIF Southern Section Open declares its Open Division as the toughest playoffs in the country, and it’s hard to argue that fact. The pool play format in which all four teams play each other before the Pool A and Pool B winners meet for the title makes it even more difficult in a loaded field.
It’s not a league or section championship but to us the CIF Southern Regionals, which have been mostly dominated by Southern Section teams, is actually tougher. Only twice in the eight years the CIF has had a girls Open Division has a team not from the Southern Section won the title, but the two times it didn’t happen it was La Jolla Country Day from last year and Clovis West in 2017. Clovis West can go to the north in newer CIF protocols, but will be in the south this season.