The pairings could quite possibly be an afterthought. Those will be announced Sunday but the teams selected for the inaugural CIF Southern Section Open Division Basketball Tournament presented by Farmers in boys and girls basketball have been released.
The teams are far from short on talent in what could be the most entertaining three weeks of high school basketball California has ever seen.
"We strongly believe that this is the most impressive CIF sectional tournament field ever assembled and, as such, could produce the most exciting and competitive championship tournament in section history," CIF Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod said in a statement.
First round games will tip off Feb. 21 on the boys side and Feb. 22 for the girls with finals to be played Mar. 8 at Honda Center for boys and at Azusa Pacific University for girls.
Of the 16 teams selected to participate in the boys tournament, five teams won their respective divisions last season (Etiwanda, JW North, Redondo, Serra, St. John Bosco).
Any team that was ranked in the Top 10 of the final divisional polls was eligible for the Open Division. Teams were selected based on a number of criteria including strength of schedule, facing Open Division entries, and win-loss against Open Division entries.
Boys Open Division Teams announced:
Similar to how teams are selected for the NCAA Tournament, the committee also took into consideration how teams were playing down the stretch of the regular season.
All Open Division teams on the boys side are guaranteed at least two postseason games. Losers of first round games will be placed in a consolation bracket.
Consolation games in the girls bracket begin after quarterfinal action.
Open Division Boys teams: Bishop Montgomery, Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Cathedral, Corona Centennial, Chaminade, Chino Hills, Compton, Etiwanda, J.W. North, Loyola, Mater Dei, Mayfair, Redondo Union, Serra, Sierra Canyon, St. John Bosco
Open Division Girls teams: Alemany, Canyon Springs, Chaminade, Etiwanda, Lynwood, Mark Keppel, Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Serra, Sierra Canyon, Troy, Windward