Get to semis, go to NorCals

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
California’s regional basketball playoffs have expanded this season.
Last year, 10 Division I teams qualified for the NorCal playoffs and eight qualified in the four other divisions. This year, 12 to 15 teams will compete in each NorCal division. As a result, the playoffs will include one more round and will last one more week.
In the North Coast Section, the four teams in each division to reach Wednesday’s semifinals have qualified for NorCals. In the past, only the finalists in each division advanced.
The NorCal playoffs begin with first-round games on March 9. The state finals will be held March 26-27 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Quwan Spears, the CIF State Sports Information Officer, said the playoffs were expanded to give more schools a chance to compete for a state title. He acknowledged that a secondary reason is to generate more revenue.
Sections do not have to send additional teams to NorCals and the Central Coast Section will not. Associate commissioner Duane Morgan said the decision was made because not every division in the CCS has 25 schools, the mininum needed to send four teams to NorCals. In addition, Morgan said he didn’t think some of the CCS’s third- or fourth-place teams would be competitive at NorCals.