By Phil Anastasia
What if the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic was seeded like other tournament?
What would this year's brackets look like?
It's an interesting question since there's been a fair amount of buzz this spring about the tournament's format -- pre-set brackets into which teams are plugged once the field is determined.
For example, this year the Diamond format called for the Olympic American representative to play the No. 1 At Large team. That means No. 4 Washington Twp. will play No. 1 Gloucester Catholic in the first round.
The format also called for the Cape Atlantic American rep to play the No. 2 At Large team. That means No. 3 St. Augustine Prep will play No. 2 Eastern in the first round.
Those games look like great semifinals. Either of them would be a great final.
But they will be played Saturday, and that means two of the best four teams in SJ will be out of the tournament on the first weekend.
Diamond founder and director Joe Hartmann likes this format because he believes it gives every team an even chance.
There are coaches out there who disagree. They believe the Diamond would be better served with a seeding system that avoids first-round games such as the ones that will draw so much attention this Saturday.
Just for kicks, let's imagine how this 16-team would be seeded:
12. Northern Burlington
13. Camden Catholic
14. West Deptford
16. New Egypt
Here's the top bracket:
Here's the bottom bracket
14. West Deptford
There's still some good first-round games in there. And the second round, if form held, would feature matchups such as Eastern-Audubon (big for Tommy Flacco), BE-SAP and two of the hottest teams around in CHW-WT in a great 4-5 matchup.
Assuming all wins for the higher seeds, the semifinals, ironically enough, would be Saturday's first-round games: GC-WT and Eastern-SAP.
But let's keep it real: Chalk never holds all the way through a tournament. So those semifinals might never happen.
But one thing is for sure: They will happen this Saturday in the first round.