Expanding on Neate Sager’s early and as-usual well-thought-out first stab on the potential Final 8 bracketology tonight we take a slightly different look at a “what if” scenario by presenting my take at what a 17-team CIS tournament bracket might look like. To level set, the tournament format used for this hypothetical bracket is as follows:
- Each of the 4 conference tournament champions gain an automatic bid to the Final 8
- this validates each conference championship game which in the case of OUA and Canada West for sure are presently less-meaningful championship games
- this also preserves the Final 8 format which is my opinion has to remain as is
- Final 8 includes a host bid (5th team with an automatic qualifier)
- Three other four-team “regionals” are played, allowing another 12 teams to gain entry to the tournament… for a total of 17 teams in the tournament
- the winners of each of the 3 “regionals” advance to the Final 8
- Let’s assume that this format is in play this season so UBC gets the automatic bid
- Three regional sites are as follows: Canada West, Ontario and Atlantic Canada although this isn’t as relevant presently
- as I write, this may be a difficult issue to overcome in practice; a venue such as Laval is state-of-the-art and more than capable of hosting
Assuming the above and using current first place teams in each conference, Dalhousie, McGill, Ryerson and Calgary are favored to advance. UBC is the host and 5th team in the Final 8.
The more interesting conversation is how to determine the next 12 teams. Here’s one view as to which teams would be in line for what the NCAA calls “at large” bids to the tournament:
AUS: UPEI, UNB, Acadia
OUA: Ottawa, Carleton, McMaster, Brock
Canada West: Manitoba, Lethbridge, Regina, Thompson Rivers.
Ranked accordingly as follows: #1 Ottawa, #2 Carleton, #3 Manitoba, #4 UPEI, #5 McMaster, #6 Brock, #7 Concordia, #8 Lethbridge, #9 Regina, #10 UNB, #11 Acadia, #12 Thompson Rivers.
Thus regional brackets could be as follows:
Bracket #1: Ottawa vs.Thompson Rivers; Concordia vs. Brock
Bracket #2: Carleton vs. Acadia; McMaster vs. Lethbridge
Bracket #3: Manitoba vs. UNB, UPEI vs. Regina.
Winners of the 3 brackets then advance to the CIS Final 8.
Lots to work out and certainly much more basketball to play to determine not only 4 conference champions but in my example above teams such as Saint Mary’s, Laval, UQAM, Windsor, Lakehead, Winnipeg, Alberta and Fraser Valley all would be still in the mix.
And to answer a question that hasn’t been yet, no I would not have a standard formula regarding which 12 teams get “at large” bids. The criteria for that issue is potentially a topic for another day.