Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Girls playoff field

The WPIAL basketball playoff pairings meeting is tonight and it is, without question, one of my least favorite events to cover. In recent years, it's also become a celebration of teams with 7-14 or 8-13 records parading as postseason participants.

That's where I have a big problem.

The WPIAL basketball playoff field is overcrowded and it's created a watered-down tournament that's catered to nothing more than selling as many tickets to as many games as possible. This year's girls playoffs is the perfect example of why too many teams get to the playoffs.

In Class AAAA, 18 teams qualified - two more than a full bracket of 16 teams. That creates two preliminary or "pigtail" games. At 8-14, Pine-Richland is part of the tournament. In Class AAA, a total of 22 teams are in the playoffs, including 7-15 Belle Vernon. In Class AA, a 9-12 Freeport team is among the 24 in the bracket. Class A is the only 16-team field. Of course, it includes California at 6-15, union at 8-12 and a 9-12 Sewickley Academy.

Of the 133 girls basketball teams in the WPIAL, 80 qualified for the playoffs. That's an astonishing 60.1 percent.

What's the point?

Might as well have an open tournament where every WPIAL team plays in the playoffs. Or, a better solution, is to trim the excess. If the number of sections remain the same, qualify the top two or three for the playoffs. Another possibility would be to create larger sections and send the top four teams.

Anyway, as we prepare for a gluttony of pigtail games and mismatched first-round contests, here's a rundown of the 80 girls teams in the playoffs:

Class AAAA
Baldwin (15-6), Bethel Park (20-2), Butler (19-2), Fox Chapel (17-4), Gateway (11-10), Hempfield (16-6), Kiski (12-9), McKeesport (12-10), Mt Lebanon (22-0), North Allegheny (13-9), Norwin (18-4), Oakland Catholic (15-7), Penn Hills (11-11), Penn-Trafford (11-11), Peters Township (12-9), Pine-Richland (8-14), Shaler (16-6), Upper St. Clair (12-10)
Class AAA
Ambridge (14-8), Belle Vernon (7-15), Blackhawk (11-11), Chartiers Valley (16-6), Elizabeth Forward (14-7), Hampton (17-4), Highlands (10-12), Hopewell (15-7), Indiana (19-3), Kittanning (14-7), Knoch (14-8), Laurel Highlands (14-8), Mars (17-5), McGuffey (11-11), Mt. Pleasant (17-5), New Castle (20-2), South Park (15-6), Thomas Jefferson (12-10), West Allegheny (16-6), West Mifflin (16-6), Uniontown (14-7), Yough (10-12)
Class AA
Aliquippa (11-10), Apollo-Ridge (16-5), Avonworth (15-6), Beaver (21-1), Beaver Falls (14-8), Beth-Center (14-7), Bishop Canevin (12-10), Brownsville (13-8), Burrell (16-5), Charleroi (14-8), East Allegheny (15-6), Freeport (9-12), Ford City (20-2), Greensburg Central Catholic (16-4), Jeannette (13-9), Mohawk (13-8), Neshannock (11-11), OLSH (15-7), Riverside (17-5), Seton-La Salle (18-4), Shady Side Academy (18-4), South Fayette (17-5), Sto-Rox (20-1), Washington (17-4)
Class A
Avella (15-6), California (6-15), Carmichaels (15-7), Clairton (10-9), Fort Cherry (17-5), Geibel Catholic (11-9), Monessen (17-5), Mt. Alvernia (13-9), North Catholic (17-5), Quigley Catholic (18-2), Rochester (16-6), Serra Catholic (14-6), Sewickley Academy (9-12), Union (8-12), Vincentian Academy (14-8), Winchester-Thurston (13-7)


Clairton Alumnus said...

Mike i couldn't agree with you more about the amount of teams making the basketball playoffs. If you ask me, football rewards terrible seasons too much as well. The only sport that leaves teams with horrible records home is baseball. The team with the worst record in the AAAA playoffs last year was Bethel Park (11-8) and they knocked off a Central Catholic team that had only lost twice in the first round. Baseball only takes the top 3 in each section-- a lesson that football and basketball should learn.

Anonymous said...

Keep it the same with one addition,
Require an overall record of .500to make the post-season. No matter how tough an exhibition schedule a team might have, if you are not at .500, you are not post-season worthy.

Anonymous said...

Some teams judge their season a winning season if they make the playoffs. Some teams make the playoff with losing section records. That is bull. They need to go like hockey and the NBA and put teams into the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

completely agree mike...way too many teams. same in football.

Dale Lolley said...

Having a losing overall record doesn't bother me if you've played a tough non-section schedule.
Why should a Class A, Class AAA or Class AAA team be penalized for scheduling up?
If I have a good team, I want to challenge them. They only get better by playing a tough non-section schedule.
If you insist that teams have a winning overall record, there will be no gain for some teams to play difficult non-section schedules. In fact, you'll be penalizing them for it.

Anonymous said...

Nobody loads up all tough exhibition games, please look at the teams in the playoffs. No matter what the schedule, .500 is not much to ask to make the playoffs. Name a team that s under .500 that made
it any farther than the second round.

Dale Lolley said...

When I worked in Johnstown, Bishop Guilfoyle won a district championship and afvanced to the Western finals after going into the playoffs with a 6-16 record or something like that.
They were a Class A team playing Altoona, Holidaysburg, State College, etc.
Class A teams would be the ones really hurt by forcing a team to have an above .500 overall.
Hell, look at Clairton's boys. They're a so-so 11-8 or something like that, but I guarantee nobody wants to play them in the playoffs.
If you're a Class A, you shouldn't be penalized for playing Class AA and Class AAA teams.

Anonymous said...

The WPIAL basketball playoffs are a joke is 22 teams with losing records get in. What accomplishment is it making the playoffs if 22 teams with losing records can do it.

And the WPIAL wonders why people don't come to these early-round games. I wouldn't pay $8 to watch a 29-point blowout.

What a joke.


Thats fine then dont go to the games. No one cares if you dont attend.