The WPIAL basketball committee is meeting today to determine playoff seedings and pairings. Pairings will be announced tomorrow night (Tuesday).
But the basketball committee members could have saved themselves some time. I got together with "bracketology" expert Joe Lunardi today and we came up with the WPIAL boys' brackets.
Now, remember a couple things. First off, we followed the WPIAL lead and did some "creative" seeding in at least one class. In other words, the seeds might not be "true" seeds. For example, I would say Hampton is one of the four best teams in Class AAAA. At least Many others also believe it. But Hampton finished third in Section 3, so do you put the Talbots in the top four seeds, even though they are deserving?
And remember, the WPIAL doesn't match teams from the same section in the first round. That can affect seedings also. And sometimes, they try to keep teams away from each other in the second round, or even quarterfinals. For example, I don't think the WPIAL wants Hampton on the same side of the bracket as New Castle.
Speaking of Section 3, how about this nugget from a loyal "Varsity Blog" follower: If Pine-Richland beats Summit Academy tonight, Pine-Richland will be undefeated in non-section games (8-0), but won't be in the playoffs. Has that ever happened before? I don't know the answer. The Rams (12-9) finished fifth in ridiculously tough Section 3. Included in the non-section games are some impressive wins against Lincoln Park, Central Valley and Blackhawk.
That just goes to show you how tough Section 3 is and how the WPIAL made it a "super section" by adding Hampton and New Castle this season. I'd be willing to bet Pine-Richland would have made the playoffs in any other section and would have finished in the top two or three teams in Section 1 or 4, and possibly even 2.
Oh well, here are my brackets for all the classes, except for Class AA. With 26 teams in the Class AA playoff field, I got lazy. It's way too hard to figure out all those preliminary-round games. Let the WPIAL do that. I am just giving you the top 12 seeds in Class AA. So, here we go:
Actually, I did two brackets for this classification. One is for what I think might happen, and the other is for if you went simply by seeding who the top four teams are, regardless of what section they come from.
First, this bracket (seeds are in parentheses):
New Castle (1) vs. Canon-McMillan (16); Upper St. Clair (2) vs. Latrobe (15); Hempfield (3) vs. McKeesport (14); North Allegheny (4) vs. Norwin (13); Central Catholic (5) vs. Mt. Lebanon (12); Hampton (6) vs. Fox Chapel (11); Kiski Area (7) vs. Seneca Valley (10); Gateway (8) vs. Bethel Park (9).
Now, some explaining because this is where "creative seeding" comes into play. I don't necessarily feel Hempfield is the No. 3 team in Class AAAA (although the Spartans and Kiski Area are better than a lot of people think). But if I put North Allegheny third, that would possibly set up a game against Hampton in the second round, which I don't think would be fair to either team.
I'm not necessarily sure Hempfield should be seeded ahead of Central Catholic, either. But remember, Hempfield did beat Central Catholic this season.
Now, for my other Class AAAA bracket. If you were truly seeding the top four teams based on who you thought was best, I think you'd have New Castle 1, North Allegheny 2, Hampton 3 and Upper St. Clair 4. But I can't see the WPIAL putting three teams from Section 3 as the top three teams.
But if you were going by truly who were the best four teams, I would probably go this way:
New Castle (1) vs. Canon-McMillan (16)'; North Allegheny (2) vs. Latrobe (15); Hampton (3) vs. Mt. Lebanon (14); Upper St. Clair (4) vs. Norwin (13); Hempfield (5) vs. McKeesport (12); Central Catholic (6) vs. Seneca Valley (11); Kiski Area (7) vs. Fox Chapel (10); Gateway (8) vs. Bethel Park (9).
Mars (1) vs. Yough-South Park winner; Chartiers Valley (2) vs. East Allegheny-Ambridge winner; Central Valley (3) vs. Knoch-Steel Valley winner; Montour (4) vs. Elizabeth Forward-Kittanning winner; (5) Beaver vs. Mount Pleasant-Indiana winner; Thomas Jefferson (6) vs. Blackhawk (11); Uniontown (7) vs. South Fayette (10); Laurel Highlands (8) vs. West Mifflin (9).
So many preliminary-round games that I will take the easy way out and just give you the top 12 seeds.
It is hard to pick the No. 1 seed. Most people think it should be either Beaver Falls or Greensburg Central Catholic. But don't forget about Seton-LaSalle also. I'll go with ...
1. Beaver Falls. 2. Greensburg Central Catholic. 3. Seton-LaSalle. 4. Sto-Rox. 5. Jeannette. 6. Quaker Valley. 7. Deer Lakes. 8. California. 9. Burrell. 10. Washington. 11. Neshannock. 12. Riverside.
Lincoln Park (1) vs. Mapletown/Leechburg winner; Vincentian (2) vs. Western Beaver (15); OLSH (3) vs. Trinity Christian (14); North Catholic (4) vs. Rochester (13); Union (5) vs. St. Joseph (12); Clairton (6) vs. Quigley (11); Monessen (7) vs. Sewickley Academy (10); Wilkinsburg (8) vs. Carmichaels (9).
You can always poke holes in some of the matchups or seeds. But it is fun to come up with these brackets.