The close of the high school basketball season is nearing as the top teams in the state gear up for the NorCal and SoCal playoffs. It's always a thrilling time of year, but this season, the formula has been changed a bit at the top.
The CIF is trying out the new Open Division this year and it could be quite the entertaining division. The Open Division is made up of the top overall teams in each Northern and Southern California as they are selected out of Divisions 1-through-5. So despite what division you were in, if you're deemed one of the top 7 teams in Northern California, you're going to the Open Division.
This strategy brings up a couple interesting facts. First off, every round of the Open Division is going to be awesome. The games will be stellar, with no blowouts among them all the way through the state championship game. The winner of the State Open Division will have run a gauntlet as the North and South Open winners will play each other for the state title. That's a ton of high effort and high difficulty games in a row and really should be a joy to watch.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have a few teams feeling they got a raw deal. The Open Division was constructed to have the year after year dominant teams all play each other and then give the other schools in divisions 1-through-5 a chance for the State Title. The problem for some squads is that they've never even been to the state game, or even close, now they have one good year and they find themselves in the most difficult Division ever constructed. Take St. Mary's College High School, they've had an amazing season, won their NCS Division Title, have never sniffed a State Title, now they find themselves with a huge hill to climb in the upcoming playoffs. It's an honor to make the Open Division, but make no mistake, it's much harder to win the whole thing.
I'm willing to give the Open Division a try though. For one thing, I know I'm going to love watching the games!