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 one and two are the goal and essentially the same thing. Get a top two seed and host your own regional final, while sectional play is neutral site. Newman and Pacelli seem to hold a comfortable spot at the top. Pacelli, Port Edwards, and Almond-Bancroft all from the same CWC South and only room for one in the coveted home regional position come seed day. Port Edwards with a slightly better record than Almond-Bancroft as of today and the nod into seed position four. Remember: head-to-head results have NOTHING to do with seed position, as the CWC triumvirate have five games between them before the regular season concludes.
Absent a Pacelli slide in conference play, Columbus Catholic likely on the road in a regional final. There doesn't appear to be enough Cloverbelt East non-conference wins to help the Dons strength of schedule and even though the wins may pile up in conference play, the three will be the max.
Athens seems to be a solid six while positions 7-10 are up for grabs. Assumption (3-7) is the current seven as it's strength of schedule props them up over Bowler (5-3), Marion (4-5), and Northland Lutheran (5-1). If the Royals aren't able to reach double-digit wins, a real question mark at the moment, the Wisconsin Rapids boys could slide to 10 and out of a home post season game by seed release day.