By BRIAN JENNINGS
The biggest focus of the upcoming boys basketball season is the CIAC’s creation of five new divisions to be implemented into the state tournaments. Southington went from competing in Class LL to now competing in Division III.
According to the CIAC, “The CIAC Board of Control approved a proposal presented by the boys basketball committee at their Sept. 21 meeting for a one-year trial to increase the number of divisions in the championships from four to five for 2018. The board approved the committee placing schools in divisions, using a series of factors, including success in CIAC tournament play, success in league tournament play, strength of the league, and power points for each team (determined by the sum of wins of defeated opponents; one point for each of their wins). All Division I schools will automatically qualify for the 2018 championships, and Divisions II through V must win 40 percent of their games to qualify. Schools have already been given the option to move up to Division I or to appeal their division placement.
The basketball committee will evaluate the trial after the conclusion of the championships and make recommendations to the board for the 2019 championships. Tournament divisions will be distributed after appeals have been determined. A team may opt up to the Division I tournament for a one-year period. Divisions II, III, IV, and V will not be rebalanced if schools opt to move up.”
The idea of grouping teams by a school’s population size of boys gets thrown out the window, and the idea of grouping teams based on a fairer playing field comes into play. Either way, Cessario said that his thoughts on the matter are a little undefined at this point because there needs to be more definitions on where teams are placed.
“I know that there’s a supposed look-back, but there are teams that are placed in certain divisions that have not had recent success in three years,” said Cessario. “As far as where they placed us, I think it is pretty appropriate, but I can’t say that definitively because I don’t know where everything stands.”
Cessario said that he considers the program’s experience against Hillhouse to be one of the best experiences ever, even though they lost pretty significantly, because it gave his players experience and the thrill of playing in the postseason.
“I really, truly don’t care where we play,” said Cessario. “I just want to play because, as we all know, anything could happen. Maybe the stars can align where we’re given an opportunity to play more than one round. I just want us to be playing our best, competing at the highest level, and playing where we want and need to play.”
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