With the playoffs quickly approaching, both Cabrini basketball teams have locked up the top seeds in the CSAC tournament.
The men’s team is in pursuit of their fourth-straight CSAC title while the Lady Cavs begin their quest for their first CSAC title since 2009.
But how does the CSAC Tournament work? And once the CSAC Tournament is over, what happens next?
Here’s how the process works.
With the top seeds locked up, both the men’s and women’s team will bypass the first round and automatically be placed in the CSAC semi-final. A win in the semi-final earns them a spot in the final for a chance at the CSAC title. If either or both teams can win a conference championship, they earn an automatic trip to the NCAA Tournament. Should either team lose in the CSAC Tournament, a trip to the NCAA Tournament depends on an at-large bid, which is rare for teams that don’t capture the CSAC crown.
Once the teams advance to the NCAA Tournament, they join 63 other teams in pursuit of the national championship. The field of 64 is reduced to 32 following the first round. The field of 32 becomes the Sweet 16 after the second round. The winners from the Sweet 16 advance to the Elite 8. The winners from the Elite 8 advance to the Final Four. Finally, two teams advance to the national championship game to play for a national title. This is where Cabrini’s magical run last season came to a halt, in the final game of the Division III season.
This process can be grueling. Most of the rounds of the NCAA Tournament are played in rapid succession with games on back-to-back days. Additionally, travel can be brutal. The NCAA Tournament forces travel around the region. This season, the NCAA Tournament will travel to Salem, Va. – site of last year’s national championship game – for the Elite 8 and Final Four before the national championship game is held in Atlanta, Ga. at the Phillips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
But that is a long way off. The thing about tournament basketball is that it is win or go home. One loss ends your season. And only two teams can be so lucky to play in the final game.
Basketball is often times a game of runs. Things can change in a matter of seconds and no game is over until the final buzzer sounds. That is the joy of college basketball. The excitement, the drive, the determination and everything that power college athletes to prove themselves as the best at their sport, all while playing for the love of the game.
And in the Cavs’ case, once you’ve been on the cusp of success, you want to get back. That should boost motivation even more as the Cavs pursue another CSAC title and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
There is always a lot at stake and that’s what makes tournament basketball the best part of the basketball season.