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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Walt Lemon Jr of the Mad Ants passes across the court to Jarrod Uthoff for a 3-pointer during the second quarter Friday at the Coliseum against the Windy City Bulls.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette DeQuan Jones of the Mad Ants drives for two points during the first quarter against the Windy City Bulls on Friday at the Coliseum.

Friday, March 23, 2018 11:00 pm

Bad G League playoff format great for Mad Ants

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

I will never understand why professional leagues do this, but the G League is not reseeding in its playoffs. If you’re a fan of the Mad Ants, the use of a bracketed format is wonderful.

The Mad Ants, who have clinched the Central Division title and the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, have a bye through to the second round. They already know they will face the winner of the game between the third seed, which will be the Southeast Division Champion (Erie or Lakeland) and the sixth and final seed (Erie, Lakeland, Grand Rapids or Long Island).

Here’s why I hate this system: The top seed, Westchester, should always play the worst remaining team in the conference. But not when it’s bracketed. Bracketing just lessens the reward of a great regular season, as far as I'm concerned.

If the sixth seed pulls off the upset of the Southeast champion, then the Mad Ants would get that sixth seed and the Knicks would get the winner of the other series, either the No. 4 or 5 seed. That’s not right to me; it shouldn’t be 1 vs. 4 and 3 vs. 6 in the second round when it could just as easily be structured to be 1 vs. 6 and 3 vs. 4.

Here’s the other wrench in this whole thing: The fourth best team, Raptors 905, may be better than the division champions from the Central or the Southeast Divisions, so one could argue it’s even that much more unfair that the Mad Ants wouldn’t have to play them.

Now, some minor leagues can justify a bracketed format for travel purposes and because it just makes it easier for everyone to book things and plan it out, but I don’t think that holds water when it’s a single-elimination event.

But, again, this is all terrific news if you’re a Mad Ants fan. Their road is that much more favorable.