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Birmingham Southern Is First Hurdle for Master's

March 14, 1997

The Master's College will play eighth-seeded Birmingham Southern (25-8) in the first round of the NAIA Division I men's basketball tournament in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday.

The Mustangs (21-10), making their fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament, qualified by defeating Rockhurst (Mo.), 103-99, in overtime to win the Far West Region Independent tournament last Saturday.

Numbers game: There will be some eye-opening changes come playoff time for boys' high school volleyball.

Southern Section schools will be placed in one of three divisions based on enrollment, not strength of league.

Harvard-Westlake, which advanced to the Division I semifinals last season, will play in Division III because of its enrollment of 783 students. Schools that have between 804 and 1,474 students are placed in Division II.

The Wolverines could have played up a level, an option extended to all schools but accepted by only Mira Costa, defending champion in Division I, and Newport Harbor. Both would have competed in Division II.

Highland (enrollment 1,829) and Canyon (1,543), long in Division II, will compete in the Division I playoffs.

Royal (1,701), Thousand Oaks (1,685) and Hoover (2,226) remain in Division I.

Before or after: City Section basketball coaches will receive a survey from Commissioner Barbara Fiege in the next week seeking their opinion of format for the basketball playoffs.

The playoff division (4-A or 3-A) of each team--boys and girls--is determined before the season.

Section officials are considering not determining the division of each team until after the regular season.

The format would resemble the football playoff format, where the top 16 teams are put in the 4-A and the next 16 in the 3-A.

The proposed system allows coaches to request a division.

"It would take care of more problems than it would present," Fiege said.

Coaches' recommendations will be considered by a subcommittee of the Interscholastic Athletics Committee. A decision is anticipated by June.

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