The Cape-Atlantic League boys basketball tournament begins Friday. The league seeding committee meets Wednesday morning. The final is slated for February 23. Wildwood Catholic is the defending champion.
Eight teams make the field. The top two teams in each of the league’s three divisions automatically qualify. There are also two wild-card berths.
What follows is a look at the tournament field through Tuesday's games.
1. Wildwood Catholic (22-1): Crusaders are the United Division champion.
2. St. Augustine (18-3): Hermits are the American Division champion.
3. Millville (19-4): Thunderbolts beat Mainland 56-48 on Dec. 14 and St. Joe 54-49 on Jan. 7. Only CAL losses are to St. Augustine.
4. St. Joseph (16-5): Wildcats beat the Greyhounds 77-66 at home Tuesday. Pleasantville beat St. Joe 80-73 on Jan. 23. My rule is to judge teams on their last meeting – slight edge to the Wildcats.
5. Pleasantville (16-6): The Greyhounds can make a case for the No. 4 seed based on their non-league schedule, which included losses to state powers Elizabeth and St. Mary’s of Elizabeth. Pleasantville beat Mainland 69-61 on Dec. 27.
6. Mainland Regional (18-5): The National Division won’t be decided until Wednesday night. The seeding committee meets Wednesday morning. Mainland and Ocean City are tied for the division lead. Mainland won the last meeting between the schools 71-51 on Jan. 25.
7. Ocean City (19-3): See above
8. Holy Spirit (12-10)/Lower Cape May (15-7): Holy Spirit beat Lower Cape May 53-42 on Monday. Lower plays Mainland Regional on Wednesday. If Lower wins, the Caper Tigers deserve the No. 8 spot. But if Lower loses, it will fall to fourth place in the National Division. Spirit will finish third in the division and should get the No. 8 spot. Vineland is contention for the final seed, but Lower beat Vineland on 57-46 on Dec. 14.