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Happy new year and welcome to 2023, basketball fans!

As the calendar turns to January, it's all about positioning for post season play. Most January schedules are heavy in conference opponents with non-conference games in the rearview mirror. Beat your conference rivals and fine tune your team in what can seem like a long month of basketball. Many sectionals groupings are filled with members of your conference, so learn lessons in January to increase the chances of a long playoff run. Perhaps, along the way, claim a conference championship!

All basketball playoff seeding is done electronically via the WIAA supercomputer, which we will discuss now. The seeding process is completed as a mathematical formula based on the outcome of your team's season schedule. Your team's win/loss record is the first step to a favorable seed. It's important though to understand that the most important mathematical component is strength of schedule (SOS). As a matter of fact, SOS is so important that it can make up for what looks like a lesser-than season record. We saw many instances of this last year as teams with multiple losses being seeded ahead of a team that had only a couple defeats. The SOS is factored highly as a way to compare a group of teams with few or no common opponents. As has been mentioned here before, gone are the days of bragging about a single win or a conference championship and expecting a better playoff seed because of these type of one-off occurrences.

The bracket below is 90% eye test and 10% math. We will release 100% math projections 10-14 days before the playoffs begin to our VIP members only.

Seeds 1-4 are the goal and essentially the same thing. Get a top four seed and host your own regional final, while sectional play is neutral site. All top four team's in the bracket have just one loss and impressive SOS, with Hortonville and Neenah boasting slightly stronger schedules than Marshfield and Eau Claire Memorial.

Hortonville survived at home in overtime on Saturday with a 50-49 win over Neenah and as a result own the one line. A February 10th rematch at Neenah will be bedlam and the final game before the supercomputer assigns playoff seeds. Marshfield and Memorial clash in Eau Claire on Tuesday (watch live at in a rare January non-conference tilt. The winner will improve its math slightly while the loser will cheer on its defeater in hopes of a SOS boost. Did I mention the supercomputer is a mysterious and marvelous machine?

Hudson and Oshkosh West now hope their non-conference opponents continue to win and keep their SOS strong. Of course, they also need to win and ensure other parts of math stay positive leaning if they hope to stay within striking distance of the top four.

Wausau West and Appleton East are on the outside looking in attempting to host a playoff game. SPASH already has a win over Wausau West (one remaining) with EC Memorial and Marshfield (x2) left on its schedule. Win all four games and the Panthers could vault themselves into a home game.

As former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora once famously said, "playoffs"!

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