Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Regular season champ is real conference champ

So who is the real conference champion?

Is it the basketball team that wins the regular-season championship? Or is it the one that wins the conference tournament?

"It's the regular season champion. The regular season champion has beaten people at home and on the road," said Marvin Ridge's Gosnell White, who has won 10 regular-season championships in 18 years of high school coaching. "If you get hot at the right time, you can win the tournament. Anybody can win the tournament."

There are many fans and coaches who would disagree with White, thinking the conference tournament champ is the real champ.

In college, for example, tournament champions in most Division I conferences are awarded automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, while the regular-season champion in some smaller conferences might not get a bid if they fail to win the tournament.

That happened to Davidson last season. The Wildcats won the 2008-09 regular-season championship but lost to College of Charleston in the Southern Conference tournament and didn't make the NCAA tournament field.

N.C. High School Athletic Association spokesman Rick Strunk said the association seeds teams for the playoffs based on regular-season record. A nonseeded team that wins the conference tournament can earn a No. 2 seed and push other teams down one spot. But the regular-season champion keeps its No. 1 seed for the playoffs.

So in N.C. high schools, at least, it appears the regular-season champ is the true conference champ.