The playoffs in the CIF Southern, San Diego, Central and Central Coast Sections have concluded this past week and they have crowned their champions. Now, the Open Division teams from all but the Central Coast Section are moving on to the CIF Southern Regional Playoffs along with other teams that qualified for an expanded playoff format. Teams moving up in this week’s rankings — such as new No. 4 Harvard-Westlake and new No. 6 Cathedral Catholic — reflect the reality that they’re still playing games while other teams not in the SoCal regionals are finished.
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The Big Picture:
The rankings held true in the CIF Southern Section after state No. 1 but second-seeded Mater Dei went on the road and defeated top seed and No. 2 ranked Centennial in the Open Division title game.
From there, we slightly disagree with the seedings of the Southern Section teams but it will all shake out on the court.
Last week, in talking to CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti, he told us to expect a vastly different format for this week’s SoCal regionals with more divisions since each division could only consist of eight teams in a one-week window of scheduled games. The usual larger brackets would have meant an extra week and that was a non-starter.
We were prepared for more divisions but not for a CIF football-like format that goes from an Open, 1-AA and 1-A divisions, all the way down the line to brackets for a 6-AA Division.
There may not be any state champions crowned, and no regional winners from Northern California, but by this Saturday 12 teams will be able to say they won a CIF Southern Regional title.
On a final note, the competitive equity formula the CIF used for the SoCal pairings was driven by the various three Open divisions in the Central, San Diego and Southern Sections. This is particularly apparent in Division 1-AA and 1-A where some Open teams from those three sections got seeded and placed ahead of teams due to their Open Division getting high competitive equity marks just because it’s an Open Division.
Comparing the 4-team Central Section Open Division or even the San Diego Section Open to the Southern Section on an even basis is totally flawed, and the CIF understands that, but in this crazy year and with one day to seed 12 girls and boys brackets, they had to scramble and use criteria they acknowledge was imperfect.
When questioned about the seeding methodology, that acknowledgement was made in a text message from William Chavarin. He is the state CIF Director who oversees basketball.
“Referring to the seeding, we have very little intersectional play and moved to 8-team brackets because of the short period of time to complete Regional Championships. The Regional brackets reflect participation from all four sections with travel consideration a major factor this year. We also avoided when possible not having section matchups in the first round.
“We are extremely appreciative of our member schools that have reached out with positive responses and excitement about competing in the CIF SoCal Regional Championships. We look forward to some sort of normalcy going into the 2021-22 school year.”
On an ultimate final note, you will notice some major movement of teams that is a little out of the ordinary from years past in what has been a hodgepodge of an anything but ordinary season. The Northern California pecking order has changed with the CIF Central Coast Section playoffs and with the top Southern California teams still in action in either in the SoCal Open, 1-AA and 1-A divisions, we have to prepare for the final rankings, and that meant moving some SoCal teams up past NorCal teams in anticipation of this week’s action. Some of the teams moved up may drop back to where they were before if they lose this week.