Get ready for expanded hoops playoffs

Get ready for even more CIF Northern California Regional basketball games coming to you in the near future.

In its quarterly meeting last month, the CIF's federated council approved a proposal that will allow for expansion of all NorCal and SoCal Regional Playoffs.

Now, most divisions compete in eight-team brackets — the SoCal Division I bracket has 16.

But next year, those brackets will increase to as many as 16 teams.

The SoCal Division I bracket, which has been at 16 teams for the last two years, has provided the promised extra excitement.

After the first round, you had state and national powers King of Riverside, Dominguez of Compton and Taft of Woodland Hills on one side of the bracket. On the other side, it was Mater Dei of Santa Ana and Los Angeles schools Fairfax and Westchester. That's tough!

Here's how the expansion formula will work: For sections that have 1-24 teams in a division, they would receive two NorCal berths. Sections with 25-70 schools receive four berths, and schools with more than 70 schools to a division get eight berths. The brackets will be capped at 16 teams and every section is guaranteed two spots.

So how will this affect the Sac-Joaquin Section teams?

There are more than 30 teams in each division, so this section would send four teams to NorCals. That means all four section semifinalists — Merced and Golden Valley's boys, East Union and Turlock Christian's girls — would advance to NorCals. Today, just the finalists advance.

The winter season would be expanded an extra week as well.

This year, three games are played this week, followed by the state championships next weekend. But the proposed schedule would have three games during first week of NorCals, followed by consecutive weekends for the NorCal and then state titles.

Expansion is coming at the state level, and later next month there could be postseason expansion coming at the section level.

MODESTO HIGH football standout Bubba McGill has signed a national letter of intent to play for Concordia University in St. Paul., Minn.

McGill, a 6-foot-1, 245-pound defensive lineman, was named the Modesto Metro Conference's outstanding defensive player after a season in which he had 84 tackles.

"Their coach (Mark Mauer) was great," said McGill, who will major in criminal justice. "I had a great time out there."

McGill noted the 2008 Division II national champion — Minnesota Duluth — plays in Concordia's Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

But as a California boy, McGill knows he has one big adjustment to make.

"When I went there on my recruiting trip it was like 5 degrees out there," he said. "That could be tough."

THE BRENDA ATHLETIC Club High School Track and Field Invitational will kick off March 21 at Modesto Junior College.

Cal State Stanislaus track and field assistant coach Sally Roberts said all high schools are invited, and they must register at Events begin at 8:30 a.m. and will continue throughout the day. They're split between large and small schools.

The meet is a fund-raiser for Stanislaus State's new track and field complex, which still is under construction.

Will DeBoard's high schools column appears Thursdays. E-mail him at, write him at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto, CA 95352-5256, call 578-2300 or fax 238-4551.