The WPIAL basketball steering committee is meeting today to determine seedings and playoff pairings. Matchups will be announced tomorrow night at a meeting in Green Tree.
But let's have a little bracketology class today.
I think three teams from Section 3 deserve the top three seeds. Based on what they did this year, and also what happened last year. A year ago, four teams from Section 3 made the semifinals. That's the first time four teams from once section made the semifinals. Last year shouldn't have much to do with this year, but last year proved the strength of Section 3 and it is strong again this year
North Allegheny and Hampton tied for second in the section. It's hard to differentiate between the two because they split two meetings. So let's put them 2-3. (Pictured is North Allegheny senior guard David Haus).
What makes the seedings for this class a little difficult is what to do with the three teams from Section 2 - Franklin Regional, Fox Chapel and Gateway. They should all be seeded somewhere 7 through 12, but it's a little hard because you have to keep them away from playing each other in the first round.
So let's go with this: 1. New Castle vs. 16. Latrobe; 2. Hampton vs. 15. Peters Township; 3. North Allegheny vs. 14. Norwin; 4. Hempfield vs. 13. Mt. Lebanon; 5. Plum vs. 12. Seneca Valley; 6. Upper St. Clair vs. 11 Gateway; 7. Franklin Regional vs. 10. Kiski Area; 8. Bethel Park vs. 9. Fox Chapel.
I thought of moving things around a little to have USC play Kiski Area, but you would also have to make some other changes. That is a possibility. But should Kiski Area, a second-place team from Section 1, drop all the way to a No. 11 seed, even though Section 1 hasn't done well in the playoffs lately?
What "Valley" team should get the No. 1 seed - Central Valley or Chartiers Valley? Chartiers Valley has one loss (to Ambridge) and Central Valley two (Obama and Hampton). Chartiers Valley lost to Ambridge and Central Valley beat Ambridge twice. But Chartiers Valley didn't have standout guard Matty McConnell (pictured) against Ambridge.
So who should it be? Well, the coin is in the air and ...
Chartiers Valley is No. 1.
There are 21 teams in this bracket, so there will have to be some preliminary-round games. So I will just give you my top 12 seeds because the preliminary-round games could go so many different ways.
1. Chartiers Valley. 2. Central Valley. 3. Uniontown. 4. Thomas Jefferson. 5. Elizabeth Forward. 6. Indiana. 7. Mars. 8. Knoch. 9. Montour. 10. Steel Valley. 11. Blackhawk. 12. Ambridge.
Does Uniontown deserve the No. 3 seed over Thomas Jefferson? Tough question. Uniontown has only one loss, but troubles in early-round games the past few years make you wonder just how good this Uniontown team is. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt one more year. It's also tough to decide where to put Indiana, Mars and Knoch, who all tied for the Section 1 championship. We decided the best thing is to put them right next to each other in 6 through 8.
Two questions with this class are about Quaker Valley and Beaver Falls. Quaker Valley had only two losses - both to Avonworth - so where should the Quakers be seeded? They have a terrific record, but can't be ahead of Avonworth. (Pictured is Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni). By the way, a shoutout to Avonworth, which won a section title for the first time in 40 years.
And where should two-time defending champ Beaver Falls go? Should an injury affect a team's seeding? Beaver Falls is without standout point guard Elijah Cottrill because of a knee injury. There is no way the Tigers are the same team without him.
Like Class AAA, I am only seeding the top 12. There are 24 teams in these playoffs and those preliminary-round games could go a lot of different ways.
Here goes ...
1. Seton-LaSalle. 2. Greensburg Central Catholic. 3. Aliquippa. 4. Avonworth. 5. Summit Academy. 6. Quaker Valley. 7. Beaver Falls. 8. Washington. 9. Neshannock. 10. Brownsville. 11. Apollo-Ridge. 12. South Allegheny.
The top is easy to do in this class. The bottom is a little hard to do because there are four teams with records below .500 and trying to differentiate between them is difficult. Also, where should Section 4 champion Wilkinsburg go? Should the Tigers get a top five seed because of a section championship or go below Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Sewickley Academy, who tied for second in Section 2? North Catholic played a very good non-section schedule.
Here goes ...
1. Lincoln Park vs. 16. St. Joseph. 2. Vincentian vs. 15. Mapletown. 3. Monessen vs. 14. Trinity Christian. 4. OLSH vs. 13. Eden Christian. 5. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. 12. Winchester Thurston. 6. Sewickley Academy vs. 11. Clairton. 7. Wilkinsburg vs. 10. Union. 8. Western Beaver vs. 9. Carmichaels.