Alterations to the Cape-Atlantic League basketball playoffs have opened the championship chase to more teams than ever before.

Both the boys and girls postseason brackets feature eight programs from throughout the league's three conferences (American, National, United).

The CAL playoff tourney debuted in 2012 featuring a different format. The postseason was restricted to six teams, with the top two seeds earning a first-round bye.

Now there are no shortcuts on the way to a CAL title. Three straight wins earns you the championship trophy and a lasting legacy in league record books.

Last season, we saw Atlantic City start its final sprint to a state title with CAL playoff victories over Holy Spirit and Middle Township on the way to a league championship. Sacred Heart captured the inaugural girls championship, edging Ocean City in the final.

First round matchups are played on the home court of the highest seed. CAL boys semifinals take place Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Hammonton High School, while the girls semifinals are Wednesday, Feb. 20 at St. Augustine Prep.

League championship games again take place at Stockton College, beginning at noon Saturday, Feb. 23. You can hear live coverage of both title games on 97.3 ESPN-FM and 973espn.com.

There will be a special three-hour edition of The South Jersey Sports Report (9-12) leading up to championship broadcasts.

It’s now or never for seniors across the region, from Hammonton scoring machine Christian Mortellite to Ocean City center Julia Duggan. Here's a look at every Cape-Atlantic League first-round match-up, with a prediction of each outcome.