The WPIAL basketball steering committee is meeting today to decide playoff pairings and seedings. The matchups and the seeds will be announced tomorrow night at a meeting in Green Tree.
But let's talk brackets right now. We already know what teams are in the playoffs, but who will be the top seeds? What will be the first-round matchups?
Let's not wait until tomorrow night. Here are Varsity Blog's matchups and seedings for the boys tournament, along with some thoughts.
I truly believe there are maybe 7-8 teams that could win this thing. That's how balanced Class AAAA is this year. There are a number of teams that fall into this prognosis: It wouldn't be surprising if they got to the championship, and it wouldn't be surprising if they lost in the first round.
It seems what is getting a lot of talk is who should be the No. 1 seed, Chartiers Valley or Latrobe? Chartiers Valley is 17-4 and Latrobe 20-1. (Chartiers Valley's Eddie Flohr is pictured in a game against Upper St. Clair). Chartiers Valley's losses are to an out-of-state team, Monessen (No. 1 in Class A), Aliquippa (No. 1 in Class AA) and Peters Township. Latrobe's only loss was to Norwin. Basically, I think these two are just about the same. I'm not a big believer in using past history to determine seedings. But Chartiers Valley is the defending champion and a perennial championship contender.
Latrobe has a slightly better record, but Chartiers Valley plays in a much tougher section. Latrobe plays in Section 1, which has not fared well in the playoffs. That being said, Latrobe is good enough to win it all. That wouldn't surprise me. But I'll go CV No. 1 and Latrobe No. 2.
Another tough thing is where do you put the three teams that tied for the Section 3 championship (Pine-Richland, Central Catholic and North Hills). North Hills had a few out-of-section losses that might hurt its reputation, but the Indians are still a section champ from an excellent section. Should Pine, North Hills and Central all be seeded next to each other?
Also, where does Bethel Park go? The Black Hawks look like they are playing as good as just about anyone lately.
Well, here goes:
(1) Chartiers Valley vs. (16) Hempfield; (2) Latrobe vs. winner of Mt. Lebanon-Franklin Regional; (3) Pine-Richland vs. (14) Norwin; Penn Hills (4) vs. (13) Butler; (5) North Hills vs. (12) Peters Township; (6) Bethel Park vs. (11) Gateway; (7) Central Catholic vs. (10) Baldwin; (8) Plum vs. (9) Penn-Trafford.
Problem area is what to do with section champs Indiana and West Allegheny? Yes, West A. is a section champ but the Indians are only 12-10. Indiana is the defending WPIAL champ, but not as good as last season and the Little Indians' section is suspect.
New Castle should get the No. 1 seed, regardless of what it does tonight against Allderdice. Mars is No. 2. (Pictured is New Castle senior guard Marquel Hooker, who averages more than 20 a game).
Also, there are 20 teams in the Class AAA playoffs. To get to a 16-team bracket, you need four play-in games involving eight teams. I believe you should seed those eight teams, and the two worst teams should play, and the winner has to play the No. 1 seed - and so forth.
Well, here goes:
(1) New Castle vs. Mount Pleasant-Thomas Jefferson winner; (2) Mars vs. Southmoreland-Montour winner; (3) Beaver Falls vs. Laurel Highlands-Trinity winner; (4) Steel Valley vs. Yough-Central Valley winner; (5) Highlands vs. (12) South Fayette; (6) Indiana vs. (11) Knoch; (7) West Allegheny vs. (10) Ambridge; (8) West Mifflin vs. (9) Hampton.
A big question is what to do with Quaker Valley? The Quakers are only a second-place team, but they are 18-3. Despite being a second-place team, could they be a No. 4 or 5 seed?
Aliquippa is definitely the No. 1 seed. The Quips are undefeated and aiming to become only the second team in WPIAL history to win back-to-back WPIAL titles with undefeated records. New Castle did it a few years ago. Before that, it never happened. (Pictured is Aliquippa's Jassir Jordan, the team's leading scorer).
Another big question is what to do with Brownsville? The Falcons are a section champ, but the section is weak and has done nothing in the playoffs in recent history. I put Brownsville at the No. 7 seed, and that might be generous.
I didn't give every matchup in Class AA because I do not know what the WPIAL plans to do with 21 teams. I seeded the first 12. The remaining nine in order would be: Avonworth, Shady Side Academy, East Allegheny, Charleroi, Riverside, Chartiers-Houston, Waynesburg, Frazier, Beth-Center. Not sure how the WPIAL will bracket them.
(1) Aliquippa vs. a preliminary-round game winner; (2) Lincoln Park vs. preliminary-round winner; (3) Greensburg Central Catholic vs. preliminary-round game winner; (4) Bishop Canevin vs. preliminary-round winner; (5) Quaker Valley vs. (12) Wilkinsburg; (6) Washington vs. (11) OLSH; (7) Neshannock vs. (10) Seton-LaSalle; (8) Brownsville vs. (9) Laurel.
Monessen is the easy No. 1 seed. The Greyhounds finished the regular season averaging 92.1 points. (Pictured is leading scorer Dwight Moore).
A big question is where do you seed Jeannette and Clairton, who tied for a section title? They should probably be seeded next to each other, but my idea is to seed them two spots away from each other so that they are on opposite sides of the bracket and don't meet in the quarterfinals.
Also, how high should Eden Christian be seeded? The team finished in second place in Class A Section 1, but has an 18-3 record with losses only to Sewickley Academy, OLSH and Quaker Valley.
Here are Varsity Blog's matchups:
(1) Monessen vs. (16) Leechburg; (2) Sewickley Academy vs. (15) Avella; (3) Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. (14) West Greene; (4) Clairton vs. (13) Cornell; (5) Eden Christian vs. (12) Trinity Christian; (6) Jeannette vs. (11) Springdale; (7) Vincentian vs. (10) Winchester-Thurston; (8) Union vs. (9) California.