All locked up: The CBA has its eight playoff teams

With one round of games left to play on Friday, all eight playoff spots have been mathematically clinched after ninth place Shandong went down last night to Guangsha.  Xinjiang, DongGuan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Guangsha, Zhejiang Chouzhou, Bayi and finally Beijing, who thanks to Shandong’s loss last night backed into the final spot with a loss to Jilin, will all participate in the three-round post-season.

The playoffs will start on March 23rd after the conclusion of CBA All-Star Weekend in Beijing, which will be held on March 19-20.

Although all eight playoff teams have been decided, seeding is still undetermined.  At the top of Friday’s regular season finale is DongGuan and Guangdong’s do-or-die match for second place and home court advantage in the semi-finals. Guangdong, the three-time defending CBA champions, at 24-7 currently sit in third place just one game behind 25-6 DongGuan, and as both teams will be heavily favored to get by the first round (remember, there is no parity in the CBA), these two neighboring franchises will likely face each other again in April with a trip to the finals on the line.

Also up in the air are seeds five through eight.  Beijing, who played their season finale last night and are thus off tomorrow, sits in eighth place at 16-16.  With a win against last placed Tianjin, seventh place 16-15 Bayi can guarantee themselves at least seventh place, which would avoid themselves of of being swept by first-placed and prohibitive title favorite, Xinjiang, in the first round.  Fifth placed Zhejiang Chouzhou has already clinched an opening round series against fourth placed Jiangsu.

The first round is best of five, while the semi-finals and finals are all best of seven.

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