Dominguez Hills May Still Earn Playoff Spot

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Figuring out complicated tiebreakers for postseason play in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. men's basketball race has caused a lot of confusion at Cal State Dominguez Hills this week.

About the only thing that is fairly certain for Dominguez Hills, currently a half game out of fourth place, is that it will greatly improve its chances of earning a playoff berth if it defeats visiting Cal State Bakersfield (18-7 overall, 7-3 in league play) tonight at 7:30 in the Toros' final CCAA regular-season game.

Bakersfield is tied for first in the CCAA with UC Riverside. In the team's first game, Bakersfield won, 78-62. Further, Dominguez Hills has yet to beat a conference opponent on a Friday night. The Toros are 0-5 against CCAA rivals and 1-7 overall on Friday.

Trying to figure out how the Toros can claim one of the top four spots in the seven-team conference to advance to the CCAA postseason tournament has put sports information director Kevin Gilmore to the test.

Immediately following the Toros' last-second, 70-68, victory over Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday, Gilmore issued a set of criteria that could get the Toros (16-10 overall, 5-6 in league play) into the playoffs. But Coach Dave Yanai added more possibilities as midnight approached and by the middle of the week, Gilmore and conference officials had dug up several other scenarios.

Here is a look at possible scenarios needed for the Toros to reach the playoffs, according to Gilmore:

* The Toros are in the playoffs if they win and Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Los Angeles each lose once. Pomona and Cal State L.A. play each other tonight, so if this scenario occurs, the Toros would have to wait until Saturday night. The winner of Friday's Pomona-Cal State L.A. game would have to lose Saturday night.

The Toros clinch a tie for fourth if they win and Cal State L.A. wins twice, or if Dominguez Hills loses, Cal Poly Pomona loses twice and Cal State L.A. splits. There could actually be a three-way tie for fourth (Pomona, Dominguez Hills, Cal State L.A.), but Pomona would be eliminated by virtue of its record vs. other CCAA playoff teams. The Toros and Cal State L.A. would still be tied after comparing records against other playoff teams, so it would come down to a coin flip administered by the CCAA office, which is expected to take place sometime late Saturday night, if needed.

* The Toros would finish in a three-way tie for third place with Cal State L.A. and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo if the Toros win, Cal State L.A. wins twice and Cal Poly S.L.O. loses twice. There would actually be a four-way tie (with Pomona), but Pomona would be eliminated by virtue of its record vs. other CCAA playoff teams. CCAA rules state that the two playoff teams will be determined by lots in that situation, but the CCAA office has not determined how that process will be administered.

* If San Luis Obispo loses two games, Cal State L.A. splits and Dominguez Hills wins, the Toros would tie San Luis Obispo for fourth place, necessitating a coin flip.

Even the site of the postseason tournament has yet to be determined because San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield and UC Riverside still could win the regular-season title and thus, play host to the tournament.

The Lady Toros have been eliminated from postseason contention. After a 13-3 preseason, the Lady Toros (15-10, 2-7) finish the season by playing host to Chapman College (10-15, 2-7) tonight at 5:45.

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