There has been some question as to the Canada West conference policy for submitting “at large” bids to the Final 8. We originally sourced some intel that spoke to an apparent conference rule that was to said to include only the Canada West Final 4 participants in any “at large” bids.
Upon further investigation, we have confirmed with multiple high-ranking officials that no such rule exists. As such, UBC is free to apply for a wild card and are expected to do so in time for Sunday night’s seeding committee meeting.
With only 3 losses all season including just one loss in non-conference and conference regular season games, Thunderbirds have been ranked in the top 3 for much of the season. And, despite the pair of home losses in the CW quarter-finals this past weekend, a UBC bid would be considered according to “U Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria for the At-large Berth“, specifically under Clause 13 (see link).
Anecdotally, UBC appears to be in the mix albeit according to Martin Timmerman’s current scenario based on the nine criteria referred to above which, by no fault of his own, is only a very preliminary view of what could emerge – given the many unknowns that currently exist but that will be decided by Saturday night. Recall in a prior post we shared a quote from an observer to the effect of “speculating on the at-large bid at this point is akin to, at Christmas, predicting CW and OUA playoff teams and seedings using RPI”.
Again, using gut feel, the winner of the Bronze medal game at the OUA Wilson Cup is likely to be the favorite for the wild card. Scenarios that could affect this include Calgary losing to Manitoba in the semi-final (and then subsequently winning the Bronze medal game) and/or the final math clearly working in UBC’s favor.
The criteria have been designed to remove any subjectivity from the selection committee, which is made up of one coach from each of the four conferences. In practice, this can be a challenge.
What is certain is that there is very likely to be some controversy – which, for a sports property starving for profile, can be a good thing ! Stay tuned for Sunday night’s seeding announcement. But in the interim, enjoy all the great games that will take place this weekend across the country in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary.